A question for Sound Design and film music pros

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mbira
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A question for Sound Design and film music pros

Post by mbira » Tue May 08, 2018 9:49 pm

Hi friends,
I am a long time Cubase user. I really love the Steinberg products, so I don't want anyone to read this question as a troll question or anything.

I have been in the music industry side of things for many years, but it is my goal to do sound design and music for film, video games, and media-as well as continuing with my own music.

With that specific goal in mind, I want to ask those of you professionals that have chosen to use Nuendo-have you found that using Nuendo instead of Pro Tools has adversely affected you in terms of getting work? Are there situations where you are asked (or expected) to receive or deliver PT files? I don't have any intention of working in other people's studios (that is when I have to deal with PT), and I don't see myself being in a situation where others will be coming to my studio to work, so I am primarily concerned about whether I would have to deal with PT files during delivery. Thanks for any tips and thoughts.
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Re: A question for Sound Design and film music pros

Post by Dog and Pony » Tue May 08, 2018 10:42 pm

I've been using Nuendo since v2 or 3, once I decided the Avid train was asking too much for a ticket. My studio does not run into people asking for Protools anymore and we haven't for several years. We don't need to exchange sessions with other studios and on the rare occasion we do we have a copy of vanilla PT's laying around but I haven't booted it up in at least a year. Work with the software you like, no one cares anymore except in isolated silos like Hollywood. John
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Re: A question for Sound Design and film music pros

Post by Blip » Tue May 08, 2018 11:12 pm

If the mix is done is Pro Tools, I'm sometimes asked to deliver a Pro Tools project. That's mostly the case when I'm supplied with an editing suite, so I just go ahead and work in Pro Tools right away because I'm afraid to spend hours trying to get my Nuendo session into Pro Tools, especially because there are studios which still run Pro Tools versions from 2011 or so. I think the whole OMF/AAF affair is a huge mess. I'd rather deliver some clean pre-mixes, but that is rarely okay with the mixer.

A colleague of mine actually does these kind of jobs in Nuendo and then transports it to Pro Tools via AAF to make a Pro Tools project out of it – according to him, that's still a lot faster than working in Pro Tools (for him), and I don't doubt that a bit. You have to go the extra mile there and take care of the conversion yourself, but other than that, that has never been a problem for him so far.

In terms of getting jobs, I had no problems with mainly working in Nuendo. Most of the job offers that say "must be super proficient with Pro Tools" are wildly exaggerated in my opinion (unless it's about mixing, but that's not what you're after if I understood you correctly). I actually got a few jobs because I knew Nuendo and the studio only had Pro Tools users that couldn't get anything done with Nuendo, let alone set it up.

Maybe I'm just lucky, but I was pretty scared after graduating that not knowing Pro Tools would be a huge problem. It never was. Still haven't bought it, either. :)

Edit: I should probably add that I didn't work for any significant Hollywood movie.
Last edited by Blip on Wed May 09, 2018 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A question for Sound Design and film music pros

Post by mbira » Wed May 09, 2018 12:07 am

Thanks guys. The isolated silos of Hollywood are really who I want to be working with, so that may be an important consideration. I do have a copy of PT 12.8 here that I got a while ago just because.

I guess what I am really hoping for is to have a deeper understanding of exactly what the clients come to people with and what they expect back. I imagine there are several answers. I'm open to them all! :-)
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Re: A question for Sound Design and film music pros

Post by ChrisPolus » Wed May 09, 2018 4:07 pm

I do mainly game sound, VO projects and I mix films in Nuendo. For now in film, I only worked with really small film teams that did documentaries about people, and a few fiction projects.

Because the movie makers are small teams or even one man shows, they usually work 1-2 years on a project. They don't have a lot of experience when it comes to technical details like sharing projects from Avid, Premiere, Final Cut to audio post. Let alone daily routine doing these tasks. And every time I get a project, I spend a significant amount of time just trying to import their projects. It comes as AAF or OMF, sometimes somebody did a rough mix in PT and I get a PT session. And there's always something that's a major pain. Sometimes it's filenames with special characters that won't import, in AAF all the fades the editor puts in place are rendered as separate file so I end up with thousands of small fade clips I need to manually delete, then expand ALL clips manually and place fades again. Sometimes they forgot to add handles. Sometimes the PT session has clip groups which prevents me from using AATranslator and I have to ask for a version without clip groups. But, of course, the guy that did the rough mix, isn't around anymore. Every time, this importing process is a pain and takes valuable time. Small projects with people not used to technicalities are a major pain point and it would go a long way of simplifying this whole process. That's why I think Davinci Resolve has made a genious move in integrating everything into one app. No more import / export if you stay within Resolve.

I sometimes ask myself it it wouldn't be easier just running PT to get rid of all that crap. But I guess it has its own share of problems and I just exchange some problems for others.

I recently almost got a small gig for a web project from national TV, but in the end they settled for a guy that knew PT because they had time pressure and needed something quick and told me it would have taken too much time figuring out a new workflow, as they use PT and have a PT station. They didn't want to take the risk giving the project to a guy with Nuendo under such circumstances. Even though I said with all my tools it should be no problem converting the session.

Even though we're far away from Hollywood (Switzerland), people think PT is the holy grail. But there's always a solution. AAF or AATranslator. It's just a pain to find the right settings and asking for changes, in my experience.

So in essence, most people don't care what I use. For these projects, they also don't expect a PT session back, just the bounced WAV. But there are always _some_ problems importing video projects. I don't know if PT would solve those. When exchanging projects is a thing, many use PT and expect PT sessions. Take it with a grain of salt as my projects are fairly small.

In games, I never had any problems. Nobody ever asked what I use. As we deliver more finished WAV files and not such much exchange projects. When you work for large companies on AAA titles in a team, they probably use PT. But I don't think exchanging sessions is a big thing there as you usually work on small sound bites and export WAVs, and don't collaborate on huge movie timelines. And in my indie game experience, as long as you deliver WAV and implement them properly, nobody cares what you use.
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Re: A question for Sound Design and film music pros

Post by ErikG » Wed May 09, 2018 4:21 pm

IF what you intend to do is to compose music and/or musical sound design (i.e. Not general Audio post) then it really doesn't matter that much. Many composers compose using Steinberg product and mix in PT land. If you deliver material as files/stems most will be ok with that. If not and you get bigger gigs that require PT, then you prep a PT session before delivering to the dub stage.

It’s quite rare to compose in a single project/session anyway so you will have to assemble the cues somehow anyway.
If you only deliver stereo stems (and that is what you should if you have no/limited multichannel mixing experience) then a vanilla PT will do fine.
Then just buy/rent “Ultimate” when needed.

What you use to compose is the important tool choice not what you use to deliver. Even though deliveries are important it is the easy part of the job as a composer.
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Re: A question for Sound Design and film music pros

Post by Chewy Papadopoulos » Wed May 09, 2018 5:38 pm

I've worked in the Isolated Silo of Hollywood for the last twenty years or so, and have been working in Cubase and/or Nuendo for all but three of them. Started out on PT, but became dismayed with Digi/Avid early.

In all of those years, I've had production department compatibility concerns exactly once, and had a copy of PT on hand to quell said concerns. I don't think I ever actually used it.

I had transfer issues a couple of times, back in the earlier days of OMF, when Nuendo's and PT's file formats didn't want to read each other; that was around the time SDII was going out. Neither SB nor Digi was much help in figuring that all out, and it was deeply annoying, though ultimately resolvable.

In recent years I have had nearly zero issues, nor articulated concerns, from anybody on either the client or vendor side. I work across a broad swath of the industry-- have post-produced sound for TV series, movies and animation, done music composition and editing. Produce audiobooks between those sorts of gigs. I continue, to feel fine about working with Nuendo exclusively, for many of the reasons expressed earlier in the thread. My experience is that, so long as your working situation does not require you to use house systems where doing stuff on your own setup would add extra steps and time to the production process, there is no disadvantage to working with Nuendo out here. Even back when things were rockier it wasn't a big deal. There is always a way to figure it out, and once you have, it ain't no thing.

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Re: A question for Sound Design and film music pros

Post by mbira » Wed May 09, 2018 8:18 pm

Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply. This is all really excellent info! Keep it coming!

Chewy, so are you pretty much exclusively receiving .wav files (if receiving anything) and delivering .wav files?
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Re: A question for Sound Design and film music pros

Post by MattiasNYC » Wed May 09, 2018 9:00 pm

I think the others are right in that if you're doing mainly music and sound design you can 'get away with' using Nuendo even in the US. If you end up doing dialog editing or actual re-recording/mixing though you might end up being requested to deliver a PT session. I have seen it a bit more often now than before. I'm not sure if it's that they just want to keep it for the future or if they want to be able to actually run the session you deliver. It's all a bit fuzzy with compatibility etc...
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Re: A question for Sound Design and film music pros

Post by Chewy Papadopoulos » Thu May 10, 2018 12:18 am

mbira wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 8:18 pm
Chewy, so are you pretty much exclusively receiving .wav files (if receiving anything) and delivering .wav files?
It really depends on the project. But yes, wavs are pretty much the standard, period these days, whether they arrive consolidated on their own or wrapped up in AAFs or OMFs (in that order of desirability as a rule).

But I get all kinds of stuff, in all kinds of shape... and none of that really has a whole lot to do with my platform of choice. I also have a pretty good tool belt full of file converters, video and audio (Soundhack still works great!) for when stuff doesn't just drop in.

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Re: A question for Sound Design and film music pros

Post by ErikG » Thu May 10, 2018 11:42 pm

My comments above are not at all intended to discourage from using Nuendo as a DAW for general post usage.
It is IMHO clearly the better tool for it composted to PT.
however working with others in Hollywood in general sound post will be not just a little but actually quite a lot harder. 95+% use PT most of these 95+% only sees a PT session as a reasonable delivery format. And to be honest you really can’t deliver anything complex unless it is native. There is still no way to get plugin automation like EQ and inserts across between different manufacturers still. So only very basic edited audio clip levels, volume fader levels and standard pan get survive from one format to another. In my world that is not enough.

That is why we own and run twelve Nuendo licenses/studios. We are basically a Nuendo only facility. We do have and use PT when we really have to but it is pretty rare.
But most folks do not have that luxury of choice like we do.

Note I have no proof of PT having only 95% in Hollywood , I do think it is not unlikely to be even more than that.
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Re: A question for Sound Design and film music pros

Post by PeterGx » Sat May 12, 2018 9:35 am

ErikG wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 11:42 pm
And to be honest you really can’t deliver anything complex unless it is native.
I see this as a major problem. Too much work get lost.

I'm working on a film right now and I decided to stay with Nuendo from start to finish because transfer just takes too much time.
On top of that, they have PT 10 and I have PT 12.6. I would have to install and earlier Mac OS to use PT 10.

I built a Nuendo workstation with MADI and video card and will bring it to film stage which is exclusively Pro Tools.
I will only have 64 outputs to the desk but I can do so much inside Nuendo it won't be a problem.
Pro tools will be used as a stem recorder, but that is fine, I like destructive recording in PT. I will also have to use PT in ADR and Foley suites but again no problem with that.

But all this is only possible in a small market where it is accepted that audio editor works on a "Pro Tools computer" along with dubbing engineer controlling the desk. In this case they don't care what I use.

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Re: A question for Sound Design and film music pros

Post by MattiasNYC » Sat May 12, 2018 4:19 pm

Just as a quick aside;

for TV I've actually seen a couple of specs from networks requiring PT sessions to be delivered along with all other media. One 'type' of spec is very light on details and simply says to deliver mix and stems in a PT session. It doesn't actually say that the PT session has to be the mix, so it could probably be interpreted as the mix files and stems laid out in sync with picture in a PT session - i.e. no automation, plugins etc (but routed properly of course).

The other spec I did see however was pretty specific in that the mix itself, i.e. all plugins and automation etc would have to be included. In other words one would have to have the mix done in PT and delivered as such. However, I can't help but wonder if what they really want is "the mix" as done by the post house saved in their archives in case they have to go back and fix something, and that it won't really matter if they have PT or Nuendo as long as they can go back to the post house. It would relieve the burden of archival from the post facility essentially. Of course, if it says PT then that's what has to be delivered, but I wonder if there's a way to deliver something else upon agreement. After all, I doubt that these companies will themselves retain DAWs that are backwards compatible and contain all needed plugins to restore the session....

Anyway, I know that was for broadcast and not film, but I thought it was worth noting that deliverables also vary a great deal in how specific they are on this issue.
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Re: A question for Sound Design and film music pros

Post by hendrix97 » Fri May 25, 2018 8:22 am

MattiasNYC wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 4:19 pm
Just as a quick aside;

for TV I've actually seen a couple of specs from networks requiring PT sessions to be delivered along with all other media. One 'type' of spec is very light on details and simply says to deliver mix and stems in a PT session. It doesn't actually say that the PT session has to be the mix, so it could probably be interpreted as the mix files and stems laid out in sync with picture in a PT session - i.e. no automation, plugins etc (but routed properly of course).

The other spec I did see however was pretty specific in that the mix itself, i.e. all plugins and automation etc would have to be included. In other words one would have to have the mix done in PT and delivered as such. However, I can't help but wonder if what they really want is "the mix" as done by the post house saved in their archives in case they have to go back and fix something, and that it won't really matter if they have PT or Nuendo as long as they can go back to the post house. It would relieve the burden of archival from the post facility essentially. Of course, if it says PT then that's what has to be delivered, but I wonder if there's a way to deliver something else upon agreement. After all, I doubt that these companies will themselves retain DAWs that are backwards compatible and contain all needed plugins to restore the session....

Anyway, I know that was for broadcast and not film, but I thought it was worth noting that deliverables also vary a great deal in how specific they are on this issue.
Yes, we saw PT sessions as a requirement in some deliveries, too. A call and an email later the desired PT session became a Nuendo project. So as far as my experience goes, the companies want to make sure they can get back to the mix if needed, regardless of PT or N.
Nuendo is growing everywhere and those delivery specs are still in the books where PT was kind of the only professional post DAW. Thats my guess. I see it with nearly every project, that some kind of delivery spec is outdated or weired.

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Re: A question for Sound Design and film music pros

Post by Chewy Papadopoulos » Fri May 25, 2018 10:21 am

hendrix97 wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 8:22 am
Yes, we saw PT sessions as a requirement in some deliveries, too. A call and an email later the desired PT session became a Nuendo project. So as far as my experience goes, the companies want to make sure they can get back to the mix if needed, regardless of PT or N.
This has been my experience as well.

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