Topics covered in this article:
- Renderer and Render Remote window interface
- Banner display
- Server select
- Master File info
- Monitor layout
- Source select
- Record in/out
- Monitor attenuation
- Input status
- Room configuration
- Loudness measurement
- Object view and options
- CPU meter
- Status and error message
- Dolby Atmos Binaural Setting Plug-in status
Dolby Atmos Renderer Interface Overview
The Main Renderer window of the Dolby Atmos Renderer offers an intuitive interface that provides all of the display elements necessary for a production workflow. This article shows the Renderer Remote application which is almost identical to the Renderer application itself.
The top portion of the Renderer UI is where most of the operational actions take place. This area includes displays and controls for the software operation mode, the master file, monitoring functions, transport controls, recording controls, and more.
The bottom portion of the UI provides visual displays of input status, room configuration, output and limiting meters, real-time loudness measurement, and the Object view.
Banner and Mode Display
The top left section of the header section displays the Renderer software name and operation mode and whether the Renderer or the Renderer Remote is running.
Renderer Remote Server Section
The Server section in the Renderer Remote application allows an IP address or host name to be selected or entered in order to enable communication between the Renderer Remote and Dolby Atmos Renderer on a Rendering and Mastering Workstation (RMW). The Server section is not included or applicable when running the Dolby Atmos Renderer directly or the RMW or the same Mac as the DAW.
Use the drop-down menu to connect the Renderer Remote to an RMW. A Renderer IP address or hostname can be entered to enable communication between the Renderer Remote and a Renderer. Alternatively, an address can be selected from the Server drop-down menu.
When a Renderer IP address or hostname is selected from the Server drop-down menu, it will appear in this field. When a remote connection is disconnected, the word Disconnected is displayed in this field.
The Server status light to the right of the drop-down menu shows the communication status between the Dolby Atmos Renderer Remote and Renderer software on the RMW:
- Green: Renderer Remote is connected to the Renderer.
- Red: Renderer Remote is not connected to the Renderer.
If the status light displays red after attempting to connect to a Renderer, verify the IP address or host name, check the Ethernet connections, and repeat the steps for enabling communication with the Renderer. Valid Renderer addresses are listed in Network Information Preferences.
Master File Section
The Master File section displays master file information and provides access to options for locking or unlocking a master file, and setting/changing the First Frame of Action. The First Frame of Action (FFOA) is a film term that denotes the first frame where visual content appears. This is typically at the one-hour timecode location (01:00:00:00) but may vary depending on the delivery specifications for different projects.
The primary master file information is displayed at all times in the Master File section and includes the following elements:
- Master file path and name: This is the path and file name for an existing master that is currently loaded in the Renderer, or the path and name for a new master recording.
- Master file reveal arrow: The blue arrow icon at the right side of the Master File section provides access to additional master file options.
- Master file lock status: The lock icon indicates which of two modes is active for the master file. A closed lock indicates that the master file is read only and cannot be changed. An open lock indicates that the master file is in read/write mode and can be changed via the master file reveal triangle.
- Master file lock switch: This switch toggles the master file between locked and unlocked states. When locked, the master file is read only. When unlocked, the master file is read/write. Place the switch in the locked position to enable read-only mode when listening back to a master, or to avoid writing over the master. Place the switch in the unlocked position to record to a master or perform a punch-in-and-out record. Only DAMF packages may be recorded to or edited; a .wav or .mxf file cannot be unlocked for editing.
- Frame rate display: This display shows the master timecode rate in frames per second (fps) for the currently open master, or the timecode rate for a new master recording (as set in Driver preferences).
- FFOA display: This display shows the FFOA (in hours: minutes: seconds: frames) for the currently open master, or for a new master. The FFOA can be added (if it was not set) or changed (if it was set) using the master file reveal triangle, so long as the master file is unlocked.
- Start display: This display shows the start time of the open master in hh:mm:ss:ff.
- End display: This display shows the end time of the open master in hh:mm:ss:ff.
- Add FFOA option switch and display: The Add FFOA switch enables the FFOA metadata parameter (in hh:mm:ss:ff) so that it is available in the master file for reference in subsequent workflow steps such as encoding. When active, the field allows a new value to be entered. The field will display the FFOA for an open file for read-only playback or punch-in and punch-out recording. If the file is opened for a punch in/out recording, the value can be changed to rewrite the new value to the file. If the FFOA and in-point are the same, specifying the FFOA is optional per the delivery specification.
The Monitoring layout beneath the Banner display on the left side of the header provides a drop-down menu for selecting the room layout, as well as indicators for sample rate and spatial coding emulation status (on/off).
The drop-down menu allows the room layout (or room configuration) to be selected for monitoring purposes. Physical may be selected (which represents the physical layout of all speakers in the room, based on the speaker setup configured in the Room Setup window). Downmix monitoring layouts of 7.1, 5.1, 2.0 are also selectable. Any custom layouts previously defined for the Renderer as a subset of the Physical layout (such as 5.1.4) will be displayed. The default layout is Physical. It is not possible to define a custom speaker layout larger than that of Physical layout.
The selected room layout is reflected in the Renderer window Room Configuration display and metering. The selected layout does not affect the recorded data when recording a new master.
To the right of the Monitoring drop-down menu is a sample rate indicator. This displays the sample rate in use by the Renderer (48 kHz or 96 kHz), as set in Driver preferences.
Next to the sample rate indicator is an icon that indicates whether spatial coding emulation is enabled or disabled. When enabled, the icon is blue and white, indicating that spatial coding emulation is being applied to monitoring outputs. When disabled, the icon is grayed out. Spatial coding emulation can be toggled on/off in Processing preferences.
The Source selection area provides buttons for selecting the listening mode: Input or Master.
The Input button allows audio from the Renderer inputs to be monitored, including any processing configured in the Renderer. The Renderer is automatically in Input mode while live-monitoring a Dolby Atmos mix, recording a master, or actively recording between punch-in and punch-out points
The Master button allows audio from the open master file to be listened to. The Renderer is automatically in Master mode after a master is opened, as well as when playing back outside of the punch-in and punch-out points during a punch recording.
When playing back a master, it is possible to toggle between Input and Master.
Transport Display and Control
The Transport section includes the timecode display and transport controls that are used for monitoring, playback, recording, and syncing to an external source.
The timecode readout on the left side of the Transport section displays the current running timecode of the Renderer (in hours: minutes: seconds: frames) during live monitoring, recording of a master, or playing back of a master. If the sync on/off button is on, the readout is grayed out and the Renderer follows external sync.
Clicking within the readout while playback is stopped allows for the manual entry of a new timecode location from which to begin playback of a master or to perform a manual recording.
To the right of the running time readout is an indicator that displays the Renderer’s timecode rate (in fps), as set in Driver preferences. When a master is open, this indicator displays the timecode rate of the master; in this case, the rate cannot be adjusted in Driver preferences.
Other controls in the Transport section include the following:
- The Sync button — This button (represented by a clock icon) sets the Renderer transport to slave to an external sync source (LTC over audio, MTC, or Send/Return sync) when enabled. When disabled, the Renderer transport controls are active. This button can be toggled when an external sync source is set in Driver preferences and is enabled by default. The Sync button is blue when enabled.
- The Stop button — This button is used to stop playback of an open master or to stop a punch-in recording. When clicked, this button returns the timecode to the start of the currently loaded file, or 00:00:00:00 if no file is open. The button is grayed out and unavailable when an external sync source is enabled.
- The Play button — This button is used to begin playback of an open master, or to begin a record pass once recording has been armed in stop. During playback, this button becomes a pause button with updated icon, which holds the timecode location at its current position when clicked. The button is grayed out and unavailable when an external sync source is enabled.
- The Record Arm button — This button readies the master to be recorded. When clicked in stop, the button will turn solid red, and recording will start as soon as transport playback begins. If record in/out points are defined, the button will blink while in stop and/or while playback is outside the defined in/out points, to show that recording is armed. During playback, the record button is also available to punch in/out of record on the fly.
The Recording Controls section allows a predefined recording range to be set prior to recording. This section includes an On/Off switch that enables or disables the In and Out points for configuring a record range. When off, the In and Out points are grayed out.
The In-point defines the timecode location (in hh:mm:ss:ff) where recording will begin. The Out-point defines the timecode location where recording will end.
The Monitor Attenuation section provides controls for attenuating, dimming, or muting the monitor output of the Renderer, as well as controls for muting Beds only or Objects only.
The left side of this section has a Monitor Output Attenuation control, which provides gain control of the overall Renderer output. Attenuation is applied after the meters and does not affect the recorded level. The attenuation range is from 0.00 dB to –84.95 dB, with the currently set attenuation value displayed in the dB field. When set to –Inf, audio is muted.
The buttons in the Monitor Attenuation Controls section include the following:
- Dim — This button lowers (‘dims’) the signal level at the Dolby Atmos Renderer speaker output. Dimming is applied before the meters. This button provides –20 dB of attenuation.
- Mute — This button mutes (or unmutes) the speaker outputs of the Dolby Atmos Renderer.
- Beds — This button mutes (or unmutes) Beds. When this button is inactive (gray), Beds are unmuted. When active (red), the Beds are muted. The Beds are muted after the inputs, but before the meters.
- Objects — This button mutes (or unmutes) Objects. When this button is inactive (gray), Objects are unmuted. When active (red), Objects are muted. The Objects are muted after the inputs, but before the meters.
Note: If using an external monitor controller be aware of the Renderer attenuation, dim, and mute settings to avoid conflicting or duplicate settings.
This section shows all 128 Renderer inputs, with the inputs numbered for easy identification.
Each of the 128 input channels is represented by a circle, which provides signal and status information. Bed audio groups of inputs are surrounded by purple rectangles. For Beds and Objects, the color of the inner circle represents signal presence and level. The presence and/or color of a ring around an Object circle, or the rectangle around the Bed inputs, represents input status. The image below shows examples of status information displayed for different input channels.
Input Status Indicators
The input status indicators in the main window display Beds and Objects being rendered in the Dolby Atmos session during monitoring or recording, or when playing back a master.
The indicators identify the role of the input channels (as Beds, Objects, or unassigned channels) and display the respective channel signals in real time.
A status indicator shows a circle with a fill color (green, yellow, orange, or red) to indicate that the channel has audio signal present at that point in time. No colors will be present when playback is stopped or when no input signal is being received. The fill colors indicate level ranges, in the same manner as the meters:
- Green: starting at –93 dB
- Yellow: starting at –20 dB
- Orange: starting at –6 dB
- Red: 0 dB
These color and level associations are also used in the Room Configuration, Metering, and Object View.
Input Channel Status Rings
The color of the ring around an input status circle represents the state of the associated metadata source.
The status rings show colors (Teal, Gray, None, or Yellow) to indicate whether the input channel has an active metadata source connected. The ring color indicates status as follows:
- Teal ring (Objects only): An active metadata source is connected
to the Object ID (for example, an Object panner in Pro Tools Ultimate).
- Gray ring (Objects only): The active metadata source is not assigned an
input, but the input is designated as an Object. The Object is not used.
- No ring: The channel has no Bed or Object assigned to it (that is, the
input is set to “--” in the Input Configuration window.)
- Yellow ring: Either an Object is defined but has no incoming metadata,
or there is incoming metadata, but the Object is not defined in the input.
Input channels shown within a purple rectangle are assigned as a Bed in the Renderer Input Configuration window (Window > Input Configuration).
The Room Configuration in the main window provides a visual representation of Renderer output to speakers. From this section, the output to any speaker can be muted by clicking on it. Multiple speakers can be muted simultaneously by dragging a lasso around them.
The Room Configuration provides status indicators with colored rings indicating the audio signal, similar to the fill colors used in the Input Grid.
A speaker will display a red X over the speaker dot when muted. The speaker can be unmuted by clicking on it. To clear all mutes, click the Unmute All button at the bottom of the Room Configuration section. Lassoing all speakers with the cursor and selectively unmuting provides a means to solo speakers.
Output and Limiting Meters
The Output and Limiting meters provide a real-time visual indication of signal levels for speaker and headphone outputs, as well as the attenuation effects of the spatial coding, speaker, and headphone limiters, respectively.
The speaker output meters provide metering of the speaker outputs for the active monitoring layout (as shown in the Room Configuration) when the Speaker Processing Option is enabled (in the Preferences or Settings Speaker tab). The display shows the meters for the current monitor layout only. Signal levels display in decibels relative to full scale (dBFS) and are not affected by the monitor attenuation controls. The speaker output meters are displayed pre-limiter.
The Headphone L/R meters are displayed when the Headphone Processing Option is enabled (in the Preferences or Settings Headphone tab). As with the speaker output meters, the signal levels display in dBFS.
All three limiting meters (spatial coding, speaker, headphone) display the amount of limiting applied in dBFS when the respective limiters have been enabled in Preferences or Settings.
Limiting affects monitoring at the outputs only. It does not affect what is recorded to the master during master recording. The speaker output limiting applied is designed to provide an accurate representation of the limiting that will be applied during encoding to Dolby Digital Plus JOC and prevents hard clipping. The option to switch off limiting is provided mainly as a diagnostic tool. It is recommended that output limiting be left on.
Clearing Clips in Meters
At times, the Output Meters section may display red clip indicators at the top of any meters that have been overloaded with signals that exceed full-scale audio. Clear any clips that are displayed in the main window meters by clicking the red clip indicator.
Real-time loudness measurement is available in the Renderer window. This is enabled by default in Preferences or Settings. Once enabled, loudness measurement is active when the transport is moving, either chasing LTC or during playback with a master file loaded.
Loudness measurement may be toggled between Dolby Atmos (based on the selected 5.1 downmix mode selected with limiting applied) or Stereo (either Stereo or Binaural depending on which render mode is set in the Preferences or Settings Headphone tab).
Reset button : Click this button to reset the loudness measurement display and clears it of all information. The loudness measurements also reset when closing or opening a master. Loudness measurement is not timecode-aware, and is integrated over time. The reset button can be used to reset the overall measurement after a period of mixing where the same section has been played over multiple times, skewing the overall reading.
Pause button : Click (highlight) this button to stop calculations and capture the display of loudness information for a specific moment in the audio playback. Click the button again to resume receiving loudness calculations in the display. This is useful to pause measurements in order to exclude a loud section of program material from the total calculation, or to pause measurement when re-playing over a section that has already been included in the measurement
Loudness meters: This meter pair displays real-time loudness information. The S meter provides short-term peak-hold metering. The M meter provides momentary peak-hold metering. For both meters, signal levels display in LKFS, per ITU BS 1770-4.
Loudness measurements display:
- Short term: This value represents a three-second window of the loudness (which is also displayed in the S meter of the LKFS loudness meter pair).
- Momentary: This is an instantaneous reading of the loudness (which is also displayed in the M meter of the LKFS loudness meter pair).
- Integrated: This is the integrated loudness measurement, as per ITU BS 1770-4, in LKFS.
- Integrated (dial): This is the integrated loudness measurement with dialogue gating applied, in LKFS.
- Speech: This is the percentage of speech within the program material that is calculated by the Dolby speech-detection algorithm.
- Range: In LU. This is the loudness range of the program material.
- True peak: In dBTP. This is the maximum true peak value detected in the program material.
The Object View, in the lower right side of the main window, displays either a virtual Theater or Person (head view), depending on personal preference. These views provide a visual representation of Object position, size, and signal level, as rendered by the Dolby Atmos Renderer.
The Object View can also display the Object numbers, Binaural settings, or Standard groups.
The Object numbers display (as shown below) can be helpful in visually correlating the DAW panner with an input.
The Binaural settings view (as shown below) displays the distance settings per Object as set in the Binaural Render Mode settings window.
The Standard groups view (as shown below) displays Objects’ membership to one of the default groups set in the Input Configuration window. Objects assigned to the Dialog, Music, Effects, or Narration groups will display their affiliation in this view. Objects assigned to the Dialog group will be displayed as DX, Music as MX, Effects as FX, and Narration as NR. Objects assigned to user-created groups will be visible, but the user-created group names will not be displayed.
These settings are accessed by clicking on the cube icon.
Clicking this icon reveals the View/Show panel.
The square icon with open sides toggles the Objects View to full screen and back.
Objects are displayed using various color states.
Objects will be colored to indicate that they have a signal. The Object color represents the signal level using the same color range as the Input Status, Room Configuration, and Meters.
An Object will become completely transparent if it has no signal level.
Objects will also change their display during automation. An Object that is currently touched for automation will turn blue.
All other Objects that have signal level will retain their color but become slightly transparent while the target Object is being touched for automation.
Object size displays as a halo around the Object. As the value of the Object size increases or decreases, the halo increases or decreases in size proportionally.
Rotating the Object View
The Theater View has a white rectangle on one side to represent the front screen. The left-side, right-side, and back walls are represented by transparent rectangles.
The Theater or Person displays can be rotated to change the visual perspective.
To rotate the Theater or Person View, do the following:
- Click on the boxed area and drag left, right, up, or down.
To display an overhead view of the auditorium and available Objects, do the following:
- Double-click anywhere in the Objects View. The view will instantly switch to an overhead view, with the front screen displayed at the top.
To return from overhead view, double-click anywhere in the Objects View again. The display will instantly switch back to the state it was in prior to initiating overhead view. If desired, zoom in and out on the Object View using the scroll wheel on a mouse or a scrolling gesture on a trackpad.
The Renderer includes a CPU meter and indicators to help monitor high processing loads.
When the audio CPU usage indicator is red, try disabling re-renders, the number of active re-renders, speaker processing, or headphone processing (whichever is not being used). In some instances, it may require reducing the total number of Objects, or the Objects that use a size greater than the default.
The CPU overload icon is the first icon at the right edge of the CPU meter section. When red, this icon indicates that CPU usage is too high.
The Underrun icon is the second icon at the right edge of the CPU meter section. When red, this icon indicates that disk access is slow and may produce audio dropouts or other issues.
Click either icon to clear the status indicator.
Status and Error Indicators
Status message will be displayed including the following: Initializing, Loading Master, Finalizing Master.
Error messages are self-explanatory. A list can be seen in the Renderer contextual help menu.
Dolby Atmos Binaural Settings Plug-in Status
The Dolby Atmos Binaural Settings plug-in provides control over the Input Configuration and Binaural Render Mode of a connected Renderer. When communication between the Settings plug-in and the Renderer is established, a message appears to alert the user that the Input Configuration is being controlled remotely or by an open master file (depending on the Source selection in the Renderer).
Once connected, modifications can be made to the input configuration when the Renderer Source is in input. The status bar in the main Renderer window indicates when the input configuration is being controlled from the plug-in. These will either illuminate blue (connected, remote control is applied to input, and plug-in and master are the same) or orange (plug-in settings differ from an open master).
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