Topics covered in this article:
- Templates and I/O in Pro Tools
- Input configuration in the Dolby Atmos Renderer
- Dolby Atmos master files
- Working with localization masters
- Channel-based deliverables
In conjunction with the use of multiple Bed workflows, the use of templates and input/output configurations is essential to working efficiently. Saving, reusing, and delivering Pro Tools templates (.ptxt), I/O Setup files (.pio) and Renderer input and re-render configuration files (.atmosIR) can take the guesswork out of projects that are handled by multiple mixers in multiple facilities.
Templates and I/O in Pro Tools
In this example, the Pro Tools template is set up with stem Beds and Object tracks grouped (and using colors for easy identification), with the track names matching the bus and Object names set up in the I/O configuration.
The template also has VCAs for every group and master VCA as well. This is an effective way to hit loudness targets within a Pro Tools session.
In this example, the Pro Tools I/O page uses the same names in the output page to match the track names and bus names. The Object outputs are all stereo so that both stereo and mono Object tracks can be used.
Input Configuration in the Dolby Atmos Renderer
In this example, the Dolby Atmos Renderer uses an exported atmos.IR file to create a configuration that matches the provided sample Pro Tools template. Groups have been created in the Dolby Atmos Renderer Input page for each stem Bed and all stem Objects. Dolby Atmos Renderer inputs are modified to match the width and input numbers for each Bed and are assigned to groups. Object inputs are assigned to groups to match the Pro Tools template. Additionally, the Input descriptions have been filled to match the Pro Tools track names and outputs/bus names in the Pro Tools I/O. Once Pro Tools has established communication with the Dolby Atmos Renderer, the description names populate the “Mapping to Renderer” column in the Pro Tools I/O Setup Bus tab.
Using this type of Pro Tools template, Pro Tools I/O configuration, and Dolby Atmos Renderer Input configuration provides clarity as to how both the master recorder session and Dolby Atmos Renderer are organized and helps prevent mistakes. It also establishes which Bed and Object assignments are to be used by which premix workstation.
Dolby Atmos Master Files
The Dolby Atmos Renderer records to a master file set (.atmos). The first master in our example is made with only the M&E fill muted in Pro Tools. This creates an “encoding master” for the primary language. Often an export to ADM BWF is done at this stage to provide a single deliverable for encoding. The second master in our example is recorded with everything unmuted in Pro Tools including the primary language Bed/Objects and the M&E fill Bed/Objects. As this will have the M&E fill unmuted it will sound odd during monitoring. This creates a “localization master.”
Working with Localization Masters
Once exported as an ADM BWF, the localization master can be imported to Pro Tools as session data and the original language Bed/Objects used as a guide while being replaced by alternate language(s). The localization master will have all the stem Beds and stem Objects active. These will get turned on or off as needed for downstream localization work. Often the panning automation on Objects can be used or modified to work with the replacement language. Once completed, the original language is muted or deleted, and a new encoding master file is created.
When the localization ADM BWF is imported into Pro Tools as session data, the track names and Mapping to Renderer can be preserved. However, all Objects will be imported to mono tracks.
There are a few ways to configure the I/O for use with a multiple Bed ADM BWF including using a supplied .pio file, a supplied .atmosIR configuration file for the Renderer, or importing the ADM BWF to an cleared and empty I/O Setup with the output and bus paths removed.
However, the fastest and easiest way to work with a localization ADM BWF with multiple beds is to:
- use either a supplied .atmosIR file or the open the ADM BWF in the Renderer
- export a .atmosIR configuration file locally.
- Then, close the ADM BWF master
- create a new master file
- import the .atmosIR file just exported for use with the Renderer input
- create a Pro Tools session
- open the I/O Setup
- delete all output and bus paths
- use the Dolby Atmos Renderer as the Default in I/O Setup bus tab.
When the same localization ADM BWF is imported all the track names, bus names, outputs, Mapping to Renderer input descriptions, Bed/Object groups will match within Pro Tools and the Renderer.
The Groups and VCAs will need to be re-established. The same .atmosIR can be used to maintain the proper input assignments and groups in the Dolby Atmos Renderer during recording of the alternate language master.
In this example, the Dolby Atmos Renderer Input configuration establishes groups for each stem bed and stem Object. To derive channel-based full mixes and localization assets, re-renders are generated using the groups defined in the Dolby Atmos Renderer prior to the multibed mastering process. These group names and assignments are saved within the master file set and ADM BWF. Re-renders can be generated for full mixes as well as stems and guide tracks for final deliverables (for channel-based encoding or for localization vendors). Re-renders can be generated at the required channel width: stereo, 5.1, 7.1, etc. These can be generated in real time or exported offline as either interleaved or mono .wav files. Exporting re-renders away from the soundstage provides a low-cost way to generate all required channel-based deliverables.
If a delivery specification calls for channel-based deliverables to conform to True Peak limits, dynamics processing will need to be applied in Pro Tools (either on the recorded live re-renders or imported offline re-renders) prior to being re-exported.