In part one of this review, I looked at using Indoor by AudioEase in stereo. Now comes the exciting bit - 5.1 Surround! Indoor is of course capable of 7.1 as well, but for this part of the review we'll work in 5.1.
This is where Indoor requires you to have a serious think about your workflow, as if you are used to using the wet reverb return technique, you might have to have a rethink.
Rethinking The Workflow
In the early days of non linear digital audio, there was a common goal in post production - to make the new kit work the same way as the old workflow did, but better. For many users - sound recordists, editors and mixers, there simply wasn't the time to re-learn their trade purely because of the march of technology.
This has served us reasonably well over the last 20 years, but now the advent of new techniques like object based mixing, 3D, VR and multi-camera shooting mean that we have to start taking new ideas on board.
In immersive mixes, such as Dolby Atmos, sound sources become objects, which you can place around the 3D soundscape. You can also have sound beds which are generally 7.1 or 7.1.2 (height). This is where using Indoor as an insert rather than a reverb return starts to pay dividends in terms of how realistic the sound is. You can embrace a kind of object based mixing workflow, even if you're just working in what are now referred to as "flat" formats - 5.1, 7.1 or any format that doesn't have height channels.
Download The 5.1 Version
The audio on this YouTube video has Pro Logic LtRt encoded audio using the Neyrinck LtRt plugin.
If you have 5.1 and the ability to play DNX36 video, you can download the full 5.1 version here. Note that the 5.1 audio is a separate Poly wav file that syncs to the same start point as the video file, which is 25fps.
We also have a Pro Tools Expert surround alignment file available too if you would like to check your 5.1 system.
A New Way
In filming the video for this part of the review, I've had to devise a new workflow, which is partly influenced by the Dolby Atmos Object Based mixing workflow.
With the absence of automated routing and the Dolby RMU plugin, I've used a different technique, enabling my "automated routing" using Aux Sends and Dummy busses. This allows for far more versatility than just having Indoor on every track you need effecting.
It's been a joy reviewing Indoor - all the little cute features add up to a total more than the sum of the parts. As soon as you think something could be a little restrictive, it surprises you with how easy it is to tailor the sound to your requirements.
I've found that the effect is more realistic if you use the built-in angle panner, rather than the usual send follows pan / wet return workflow.
I only have one tiny niggle - it's not currently possible to "rubber band link" the angle panners across Indoor plugins. Rubber band linking is exactly as it sounds - if you pan one control, the others adjust by the same amount. However if you hold one "knob" out of the rubber bank linked knobs, then you can hold it still while the others are moving, and when you release it, it keeps that relationship.
What would be great to be able to do, is set up several different Indoor plugins, with their various elements panned around the soundscape, then "rubber band link" all the panners, so that if I move one, all the other objects stay in the same relative position.
Talking to Arjen at Audio Ease, this implementation hasn't been introduced mainly due to the way Pro Tools stores automation data. However, I'm sure he's more than clever enough to come up with a great solution soon.
This certainly shouldn't stop anyone from using this fabulous plugin though. Again, I would thoroughly recommend this plugin to anyone doing post production, even in radio.