In podcast 226, community member Andreas Russo from Italy asked if there was a way to automate the process of normalising clips levels to a target loudness. Andreas asked...
I have a question for you regarding post-production editing and mixing workflow in Pro Tools. Anytime I am sent a session for a film to mix, I get hundreds of audio clips belonging to different takes, and each of the takes have different levels, resulting in the audio of the film being all over the place. I assume this is a common issue.The first step I need to take, before editing or mixing, is to get all the dialogue in the same ballpark level in order to get a decent idea of what's going on. My question is: what is your workflow, If there is one, to facilitate this? Is there a way to somehow normalize the dialogue clips to a certain level? Is this what tools like ppmBatch do? I'm not too clear on that. Also what level do you aim at when starting your dialogue mix?
In podcast 226 I talked about manually adjusting the clip gain using a loudness meter displaying short term loudness (averaged over 3 seconds) to set my levels.
What About Defaulter From Quiet Art?
In podcast 227 community member Scott Gillen from New Zealand reminded me of Defaulter by Quiet Art. How I forgot about this very clever tool, I cannot explain but it will do exactly what Andreas is looking for.
When I reviewed Defaulter v1.5 in the video above, I wanted to see if the RMS feature introduced in v1.5 would live up to my hopes. After I made this video Vedat from Quiet Art got in touch to say that they have revised and replaced the Macro Set that comes with Defaulter so that it will work with every system.
What Does Defaulter Do?
Defaulter analyzes the clip and applies Pro Tools’ built-in Clip Gain adjustments to bring it up or down to meet your specified peak level but with v1.5 you can now do the same with a specified RMS level instead. It can be set to ignore clips with levels below a threshold. Because it uses Clip Gain rather than rendering files it is totally non-destructive