Metadata apps are incredibly complex. They import and search sound clips. They audition and transfer sound fx. Many allow audio processing with sound design plug-ins. And of course they read, add, and write metadata.
That’s a lot to wrap your brain around. Don’t let that scare you, though. This year’s “Metadata Month” theme is “Back to Basics.” This series of articles is intended to help you get started embedding your first metadata fields.
Today we’ll look at the metadata app Soundminer. The popular sound browsing software is an absolutely huge app. It is incredibly powerful and packed with features I have yet to discover myself. Today we’ll simplify Soundminer by learning one single task: how to embed sound effects metadata in Soundminer.
This post is meant to be an overview to get you up and running adding metadata to your sound fx collections. By the end of the article you’ll have learned how to add files, find them, and embed metadata in its two most common methods.
The Soundminer Metadata App
Soundminer is popular in post-production facilities. Much of this has to do with its extensive sound browsing abilities and its sound file transferring power. Beyond the stock metadata app functions, it adds enhanced features such as plug-in midi control, batch file conversion, ReWire support, and much more. Soundminer also has extensive, flexible metadata support with multiple open and proprietary formats, text file importing, and nearly a dozen ways of assigning text to fields. Despite that, Soundminer has a fairly intuitive method of adding and writing metadata, as we will see in a moment.
Let’s get started.
- Adding sound fx to Soundminer.
- Preparing Soundminer for metadata work.
- Adding sound clips to Soundminer.
- Finding and browsing sounds.
- Adding metadata in Soundminer.
- Soundminer metadata overview.
- Option 1: click and type.
- Option 2: batch editing using the admin panel.
Adding Sound Files to Soundminer
Preparing Soundminer for Metadata Work
Soundminer requires a bit of preparation before beginning to write metadata to sound effect files.
- Open the Soundminer app.
Select the Database/Create a New Database menubar item to create a new database for the sounds you will work on. A new pop-up window will appear.
- Name your database in the text field.
Select “Music and FX” from the drop down menu. This option allows you to use a wider amount of metadata fields.
Click the drop-down menu as shown in the image below to select the fields you’d like to show. This will display a column for the metadata field you’ve added. You’ll probably have to scroll the main window to the right to see it.
- Repeat for as many fields you’d like to show.
Like many other metadata apps, you may click on the column header and drag the columns left or right to display them as you wish. They may also be resized by clicking and dragging the column dividers. Click the headers to sort the text.
Adding Sound Clips to Soundminer
Soundminer is perhaps the simplest method of any metadata app for adding sound clips:
Select files from the MacOS Finder.
Drag and drop them onto Soundminer’s main window. The sounds will be added to the app.
It’s that easy.
Finding and Browsing Sounds
Finding, displaying, and browsing sounds is similarly simple.
Type Command-F, select the Edit/Find menubar item, or click in the upper left text box to perform Soundminer’s basic sound clip search. It supports Boolean searching (e.g., wrapping quotes around a phrase to find exactly those terms).
Clicking the lock icon to the left of the search box allows you to “drill down” and find sounds within your existing search results.
An advanced search is available via the Edit/Show Advanced Search menubar item, or by clicking Command-Shift-F. The pop-up window allows keyword searches in multiple fields, with the ability to specify if terms match/contain/etc.keywords.
Use any search method to find the sound clips you’d like to add metadata to.
Adding Metadata in Soundminer
Soundminer Metadata Overview
Soundminer is a metadata power-user’s dream. It can read and write to an impressively large amount of formats. The format of choice for most app users is the proprietary, encrypted Soundminer Metawrapper format, which offers laser-focused fields tailored to post-production and field recording.
In addition to the Metawrapper, Soundminer supports:
- Adobe’s XMP.
- ID3v2 paired with either AIFF or WAV.
- Spotlight comments (WAV files). A recent addition just this week automatically adds MacOS Finder comments:
- Title = TrackTitle
- Musical genre = Category
- Authors = Designer
- Comment = Description
- Copyright = Year + Manufacturer (Library)
Note that normally this metadata cannot seen in Windows or MacOS. One exception is writing ID3v2 tags to AIFF files, which will allow them to be seen in iTunes. The recent addition of Spotlight writing now allows metadata to be seen in a sound file’s info window, and be found in MacOS spotlight searches.
Writing or embedding metadata commits the bonus text to all formats at once, and keeps them in sync. So, adding metadata to Soundminer’s Description field will write that info to its Metawrapper format, and to the BWAV, iXML, XMP, and ID3 formats at the same time, too. Info in the Metawrapper format will be detected first. However, if it’s not there, Soundminer will intelligently grab metadata from any other format it finds.
Now that we know Soundminer metadata basics, let’s learn how we can write metadata in the app itself.
Here are the two most common methods of writing metadata:
- Click and type.
- Batch editing using the admin panel.
Note that you will need the v4.5Pro version of Soundminer ($899) to take advantage of all metadata writing tasks.
Option 1: Click and Type
This is a simple method for adding text in a single field for one sound.
Select one sound in Soundminer’s browsing window.
Click the field you want to modify. After a moment the field will highlight.
Note: you may click anywhere in empty fields to begin entering text. However, when a field already has info, you must click on the text itself to begin.
Shortcut: hover the mouse pointer over the column you want to change and type “command-e.” That will highlight the field. (V4 Pro only).
Enter the metadata text.
Press the Return key, or click off the field to commit the changes.
Right-click the sound file. A pop up menu will appear.
Select “Embed Selected Records.” The metadata will be written to the sound file.
It’s quite simple, reminiscent of editing a file’s name in the MacOS Finder.
Option 2: Batch Editing Using the Admin Panel
The Soundminer app can also add metadata to many fields at once. There are a few methods the app uses to do this. We’ll look at the most common and intuitive method: using the “admin panel.”
The admin panel is a pop-up window that adds bulk data not only across one field, but across many sound clips at once, too. Let’s take a look:
Click in the sound browsing window to select a single sound. If you like, hold down the Shift key and click another sound to select a span of sounds to edit similarly. I selected all the remaining “beep” sounds.
Tip: You may also type command-a to select all browsed records.
Select the Edit/Edit Metadata menu item (or type command-i, or right-click and select “Edit Metadata”).
A window will appear. Fill out whatever data fields you want. In this case, I completed the Category and Subcategory.
Note: If you’ve selected more than one sound, clicking the arrow button (bottom centre) will display the metadata for the next sound. Update the data, then click your way through the sounds in your list.
Click the “Save” button to commit the changes.
If the Edit Metadata window is blocking the view, close the window, or type Command-I to hide it. You’ll see the results in the main sound browsing window.
- Embed the metadata using steps 5 and 6, above.
As you can see, it is comparatively simple to add metadata in Soundminer. Those are just the two easiest ways to add metadata. There are no less than 10 methods to add text to sound effects in Soundminer. Read about more ways of adding metadata in Soundminer.
Adding Metadata in Soundminer
Soundminer is a powerful metadata app. It embeds bonus text in many inventive ways to a large number of metadata formats. This flexibility almost guarantees your metadata work will be seen by almost any video or sound editing app.
Want to give Soundminer a spin? Download the 30-day trail version, authorize your iLok, and start writing metadata.
- View Soundminer versions in their store.
- Download a 30-day trail version of the Soundminer app.
- Visit the Soundminer blog page.