Every year thousands gather in Nevada to attend the NAB convention. Spread throughout multiple venues in downtown Las Vegas, the week-long event showcases new technologies, software, and other resources for the National Association of Broadcasters.
While the convention doesn’t cater specifically to post sound or game audio, NAB has become a way for discover new tools, nail down deals, and meet colleagues. For example, in the years I’ve attended, music and sound effect libraries were a huge presence. It’s also a good way to get your hands on the latest field recorders, or check out new software.
So, just in time for NAB, software developers Soundminer are showcasing a new version of their sound-browsing metadata app.
Today’s article will explore the new features, and how they may help you.
One of Soundminer’s most attractive features is the ability to transfer sounds into an audio editing app on the fly. Simply find the sound you need, then select the portion you want by dragging across its waveform. Then, at the click of a button, that selection will be whisked directly to a cursor location within the Pro Tools editing app.
The latest version of Soundminer speeds up this process by auto-identifying regions in the sound file. How does it work?
Well, as we know, many sound files include multiple takes. For example, a clip may have four door slams, each separated by three seconds of dead air.
Previously Soundminer users selected the single slam they needed by dragging across the waveform, often zooming in to touch up the start and end points. The latest version of Soundminer spares you this hassle. How?
Soundminer automatically detects these start and end points for you. Here the door file is displayed with each slam highlighted in the waveform window.
Simply click the bar beneath each slam region to select it.
Then you can audition or transfer just that fragment.
There’s a bonus trick, too. You can skip from one region to next by pressing the p (previous) and n (next) keys. Pressing the c key selects the region under the playhead. This speeds up selection, and helps play back long files more quickly, too.
Here’s a YouTube video demonstrating the feature:
How does Soundminer detect what is a door slam, and what is dead air? Any sound above –40 dBFS is considered audio, and anything below –80 dBFS is deemed silence.
Batch Set Metadata
I’ve written before about the benefits of metadata. It helps sound pros find clips more quickly. It creates context to provide more value to a file than the audio alone. The trouble is that it’s difficult to write good metadata for every sound in your library, especially in huge, diverse collections. Often we simply apply text in batches (e.g., “Wood door 01,” “Wood door 02,”). Metadata is far more powerful when it is descriptive, unique, and ample.
Soundminer has taken a major step towards fixing this problem. The latest release includes a script called Batch Set Metadata. How does it help?
Well, previously metadata could be entered either in one field at a time, or across one row at a time. (I explained some of these methods in a previous post, 10 Ways to Sweeten Soundminer Metadata.)
Using the new script, users can apply reams of metadata to many fields across multiple rows at once.
This saves sound librarians from applying the category, then subcategory, then library name, one column after another. Instead, the script can do this all at once, as well as assign artwork, and fill out other fields, too.
Find the script via the Edit/Process Metadata Script/Batch Set Metadata menu item.
Soundminer now exports XMP metadata in WAV and AIF files. This “Extensible Metadata Platform” was designed by Adobe as an open, non-proprietary ISO standard to share metadata info between apps. Now Soundminer supports XMP metadata, too.
This means that Soundminer metadata can be read by other apps beside the host software itself. Read a list of apps that support XMP metadata. Most apps are related to image processing and so on. However, one app I mentioned in my metadata app round up, MetadataTouch, supports the standard. There’s also the potential for future apps to take advantage of the exported XMP metadata.
Soundminer v168 has added a few other enticing features, as well:
Auto column width. Good sound libraries have ample metadata. Often this metadata may be cut off by column widths. We only have so much screen space, after all. Press z to resize every every column in a row to fit the text within it.
WWW Button. Can’t recall where you downloaded your favourite sound? Not sure which indie sound fx library it came from? Want to learn more about the publisher? Simply click the “WWW” button in Soundminer’s sidebar to visit the library’s website.
Timeline. The latest version of Soundminer now includes a timeline above the waveform window. Right-click it to choose the time format.
The latest version of Soundminer is available for download within the app. Just click the Soundminer/Check for Updates menu item. You can also visit the Soundminer forums to download a copy there, too.
Visit the Soundminer website to learn more about its suite of metadata apps.