We’ve already covered a lot of ground here in the second Metadata Month. Earlier articles examined what good metadata looks like, and 7 “commandments” of sound fx metadata for adding or auditing the metadata you already have.
In the most recent post here, I mentioned that you’ll need a metadata app to add this bonus text to your sound fx collections. There are dozens of apps that can do this. Each performs the task a little differently.
So, following this month’s theme of “Back to Basics,” today’s article helps you get a grip on how to add this bonus text in a prominent metadata app offering: BaseHead. This post is designed as a simplified quick-start guide tutorial to help those not familiar app embed their first sound fx.
The BaseHead Metadata App
BaseHead is a metadata app originally popularized by game audio pros. It is appearing more commonly in post-production facilities. It is known for its slick and snappy cross-platform-matching interface, granular library control, and flexible search options.
BaseHead is a powerful metadata app that supports all four metadata app roles: managing sound libraries, auditioning audio, transferring sound files, and working with metadata. There’s a lot of depth in the app. Today, however, we’ll focus on getting you up and running with one specific task: embedding metadata to your sound effects using BaseHead.
This overview will explore how to add metadata using the current 4.x version on MacOS. Note that BaseHead offers a full-featured 14-day demo of the app, so you’re welcome to download it and follow along with this post.
- Adding sound fx to BaseHead.
- Preparing BaseHead for metadata work.
- Adding sound clips to BaseHead.
- Finding and browsing sounds.
- Adding metadata in BaseHead.
- BaseHead metadata overview.
- Option 1: details panel batch renaming.
- Option 2: the renaming/offline renaming panel.
1. Adding Sound FX to BaseHead
Preparing BaseHead for Metadata Work
Launch BaseHead. You’ll see the splash screen with news, buttons to select tutorial videos, and database options.
Click the “Create New Database” button. In BaseHead, a “database” is the term for the reference file that stores all the sound fx records that you add to the app.
A file browser window will appear. Give your database a name and save it to a location on your hard drive. You’ll see the database shown on the bottom left.
Click the “Results” item to close the info splash screen.
You will now be presented with BaseHead’s standard browsing screen. On the left side is the PeekTree.
This is basically a sidebar similar to what you’ll see in other apps such as iTunes. The PeekTree displays a number of lists, such as:
- Imports: lists of files gathered by the folders you added.
- Groups: like playlists, but they’re attached to a specific database.
- Libraries: also like playlists, but focus on transferring and sharing. They’re independent from the databases.
- Recent searches: a list recent search terms used.
- X-fer: a tally of all files transferred to editing apps.
There are others. There’s a lot to digest in the PeekTree. Let’s make it a bit simpler:
Click the gear icon at the top of the PeakTree.
Uncheck every item except “Imports.”
Click the “x” on the upper left to close the window.
Now BaseHead is simplified and ready for metadata work.
Adding Sound Clips to BaseHead
Adding sound fx to BaseHead is quite simple:
Select your working clips from the MacOS Finder.
Drag and drop them onto the main BaseHead pane.
The Import window will appear. Type an import name in the text box. Skip all other options in this window for now.
Note: It’s important to add an import name. This is the main way of organizing your files or folders in BaseHead. It tidily separates your sound library additions.
Click the “Import” button.
You’ll now see your import appear in the PeakTree sidebar. Each sound file will also appear in the main browsing window as well.
Future versions of BaseHead will offer to import (and export) .TSV, .TXT and .CSV list of files. This will allow “power users” to import sound files along with reams of rich text metadata in one quick shot.
2. Finding and Browsing Sounds
BaseHead takes an interesting approach to searching sound clips: the search area has multiple boxes. The idea is that terms may be added in many fields at once, generating precise results immediately. In other words, BaseHead presents an advanced search by default.
How to search:
- Type command-D to enter keywords in the Description field.
- Type command-F to enter keywords in the Filename field.
Another cool aspect is that each of these fields can be customized. Simply click the arrows to the right of each field term. You’ll see a list of possible fields that can be searched. Choose whichever one you want, and the text box will find results from that field.
The BaseHead search area supports Boolean searching, such as wrapping terms in quotes for exact matches (e.g., “cat meow”), or using a hyphen to omit keywords (e.g., “-cat”). Since version 4.x, BaseHead has also added cool new features to help search, such as auto-complete of previous search terms, and thesaurus keyword matching to compensate for alternative spellings or terms.
Like similar apps, search results columns can be added or removed by right-clicking the column header. Each column can be reorganized by dragging the column header left or right.
Begin by searching and find the files you’d like to add metadata to.
3. Adding Metadata in BaseHead
BaseHead Metadata Overview
BaseHead adds a number of different flavours of metadata. To start, BaseHead writes data to the BWAV format in the Description, Originator, Scene, Tape, and Take fields.
It also embeds a larger variety of metadata fields to these ID3 fields:
- CD Title.
- Track Title.
All of these can be seen by other metadata apps that read the ID3 metadata format.
As a bonus, BaseHead can write to many other iXML fields. These fields can be seen by BaseHead users, and by Nuendo and Cubase editing apps (only).
So, BaseHead has a lot of metadata formats right out of the box.
Writing Metadata in BaseHead
Let’s get started writing metadata to your sound fx library. To do this, you’ll need to purchase the Ultra version ($449). The demo also allows you to try the Ultra version with no restrictions.
There are two areas where you can add metadata:
- The Details panel.
- The Rename panel.
Each of these approaches modifying metadata differently. The cool thing is that BaseHead 4.x added batch renaming so sound pros with endless sound fx can make changes to scores of clips at once. Let’s take a look.
Note: BaseHead saves metadata the instant you type text. Back up your sound effects if you are worried about committing your text.
Option 1: Details Panel Batch Renaming
The Details panel batch renaming method applies text to a many records at once. Here’s how to do it:
Preparing Metadata Entry Options
Click the “Details” button.
Click the gear icon at the upper right of the Details panel.
Check “User Definable Display.” This allows you to pick and choose which fields will be shown, even if they don’t have text in them right now.
Click the gear to the right of “User Definable Display.”
Select the fields you would like to display. This will allow you to add metadata to these fields.
Adding Batch Metadata
Select a span of records. Command-A selects all search results. You’ll notice that the fields you checked in step 5 above are now visible in the Details panel to the right.
Click to the right of any field name you’d like to rename. Let’s modify the Category. BaseHead automatically populates this field with the folder name, so let’s set that to something more appropriate.
Enter your new text, then press the Return key. All fields are instantly updated.
- Repeat for any other field you’d like to update.
It’s that fast.
Option 2: The Renaming/Offline Renaming Panel
The second metadata method changes metadata that’s already there.
Click the “Rename” button. This will display a new panel with two sections: “Target Naming” and “Offline Renaming.” Ignore the first, upper section as it only changes files when they are transferred. We want to change metadata “in place,” so we’ll focus on the lower area.
Select the files you’d like to rename. Let’s say we’d like to change the Category from “Sound Design” to “Drones.” So, I’ll select just the drones in the list and modify just those clips.
Enter the text you’d like to change in the “Replace” text field.
Enter the text you’d like to swap it with in the “With” text field.
Select the field you’d like to apply this text to beside the Rename drop down menu, below.
Click the “Rename” button. The text will be renamed.
You can also copy text from one field to another.
- Select the source field from the top pull-down menu.
- Select the destination field in the bottom pull-down menu.
- Click the “Copy” button.
According to the BaseHead roadmap, version 5 of the software will allow metadata to imported from a text file and burned into the files in one shot. Sounds pretty cool, but we’ll have to wait for that one.
Adding Metadata in BaseHead
BaseHead is known as a visually pleasing way to manage sound libraries, audition tracks, and import them into editing apps. These powerful abilities may cause many to overlook the app’s surprisingly flexible ways to add BWAV, ID3, and iXML metadata to sound fx collections.
Have a clip library of thousands of files you’d like grace with detailed metadata? Download the app free of charge. It allows unrestricted access to all features for 14 days, including full metadata writing and embedding.
Note: the BaseHead team has kindly offered Creative Field Recording readers a special discount: 25% off the Ultra version of BaseHead, good until November 1, 2016. Use discount code CFR25 at checkout.