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In a few weeks I will conduct a one week course in sound design. The students are graphic/game designers and the aim is for them to get a basic understanding about what sound design is and how it works.

This is the second time around and last year it worked great except for one thing, the video software. One of their assignments is to design the sounds to a video. Both the sounds and video are given to them for the purpose of learning how to work with limited assets. The software we used was Sony Vegas. I hadn't used it before but it didn't take me too long to learn the basics. Enough to teach and support it.

A few hours after the students started editing the program started crashing. Not for everyone but the ones that had the problem didn't get rid of it. A few days in to the course 1/3 of the projects crashed every 5 minutes or so.

They were told to submit the result with only the .veg files since I had the source files myself. Same problem there. About 1/3 of the projects crashed and I spent too long trying to solve it. In the end some of the students were given grades based on what I'd seen them do, not the result itself.

My question is, what software would you recommend (free/trials/demos) for such a project? I'm thinking about using Adobe Soundbooth since I think they have the Adobe Collection installed. I would prefer Pro Tools or Cubase since they are the ones I'm used to but it's not viable for a school with limited funding to invest in them for one week usage each year.

Any ideas greatly appreciated!

EDIT: Let's make it clear so there's no misunderstandings. I might have been vague.

  1. The platform is PC.
  2. The students will not edit the video at all, it is pre-rendered. They will only sync audio to the video in real time. So it has to be one software, not two different ones.

//Henrik

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6 Answers 6

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Soundbooth should be totally fine. Although, I would suggest Reaper as the alternative to the Adobe software. The trial is non-expiring and they also have a discounted license of $60 for educational organizations. Reaper might be a bit more involved in terms of working with audio, but if you can cover the basic usage to the students, then it should be fine to grasp quickly enough.

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That was actually the best suggestion so far. I'm not sure how many students there are but it's something like 50. So $60 x 50 = $3,000. Not going to happen. I might be able to get about $500 but even that is pushing it. I was interested in the "non-expiring" trial. What do you mean by that? Tried to make sense of it at the Reaper site but it wasn't easy to find any information about a trial/demo. Do you what video format it supports? Is it easy to get in to (since I have to do it first to be able to teach the students). –  Reachground Apr 15 '12 at 16:46
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There's a splash screen that encourages you to buy the software every time you run it, but the demo is fully functional and never expires. IMO, Reaper has one of the best support for different file formats, but you'll need to check those. It can be used just as any DAW / editor, some things are done differently compared to other DAWs, but it's just a matter of getting used to how Reaper works and then explaining the basic functions that are necessary to the students. –  Internet Human Apr 15 '12 at 19:10
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+1 from me for Reaper. If you want examples or whatever, hit me up. I used to teach Audio Post, so I can give you good examples of how to implement it and etc. –  Syndicate Synthetique Apr 16 '12 at 18:40
    
@Mviljamaa: Best answer! Thanks a lot. I'd totally forgotten about Reaper. It looks good. Atm I'm talking to Cockos about a license. @Syndicate Synthetique: Thanks! I've sent you an e-mail. –  Reachground Apr 18 '12 at 1:09
    
@Reachground Cheers, reply sent. Glad to help. :) –  Syndicate Synthetique Apr 18 '12 at 9:53
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Cakewalks Sonar X1 Producer comes with a 30 day free trial and I have been a user of Sonar for about 18 years without any hassles.

Any video editing I do is in Premiere but all sound design for my projects is in Sonar.

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Hey! Thanks a lot. I haven't opened Cakewalk for ages. It's called Sonar now huh? Things are moving too fast for this old fart. Atm I'm looking at Reaper but I'll have Cakewalk in mind. –  Reachground Apr 18 '12 at 1:12
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Perhaps they can edit their video with Adobe Premiere and then use Ardour for the audio editing. It's open source and runs on Mac or Linux. You would then have the advantage of not having to spend any money and the students could all own the software and use it after they graduate.

It really depends on whether there is any sync sound you need to export from Premiere as Ardour has no OMF/AAF import (last time I checked)

Any more experienced Ardour users care to comment?

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Hey Mark! Thanks a lot for your suggestion. Maybe I didn't make myself clear. Should have been more careful with the headline perhaps. The video software has to have a decent audio editor as the students will edit the audio in real-time and sync it to the video. –  Reachground Apr 14 '12 at 17:57
    
Ahh, I see. Ardour won't work then, unless you want to install Linux on every machine (unlikely, I imagine). Probably Soundbooth is the only option then? I've used Audition quite a bit and think it's a great program but I honestly don't know the limitations of Soundbooth. It is strange about Vegas though, it's always been pretty solid when I've used it before. –  Mark Durham Apr 14 '12 at 23:29
    
Hehe, yeah you're right about Linux. That won't happen :) Tbh we were all surprised about Vegas. I spent days trying 100 different things: clearing cash, disabling effects, removing and adding the video again etc etc. Eventually I asked the tech support at the school to take a look at it. We gave up when he started cursing Sony. Still don't know what the problem was but I don't want to go through it again. –  Reachground Apr 15 '12 at 16:51
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I agree Adobe Premiere should do just fine or maybe Imovie?? As for Audio editing reaper is really cheap and I've heard great things about it.

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Hey Tripps. Thanks for your suggestion. I'll try not to repeat myself so see the answer I gave Mark :) –  Reachground Apr 14 '12 at 17:58
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@Reachground That's not going to happen without dumping a load of cash into buying the entire Avid, Fairlight, Adobe or Apple suites. You can import video into Reaper. It accepts a ridiculous amount of different formats for both audio and video. With video, it depends which codecs you have installed, but either .mov .mp4 or .avi should work fine depending on which OS platform you're on (I'm presuming PC, since you were working with Vegas before). It's also in line with your budget and if you contact the company I'm sure they would love to work out a deal. They're a very grass roots company. –  Syndicate Synthetique Apr 16 '12 at 18:47
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Without a shadow of doubt you should be using AVID MEDIA COMPOSER and/or Pro Tools. There's no contest at all.

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Even though you may be right, I don`t think that it's a good idea to give students such complex programs right at the start. They should invest their time into getting creative rather than learning new programs. Therefore something like Audition should do the job just fine. The profs at my university tend to use it and nearly everybody gets used to it in half an hour- –  Michael Manzke Apr 14 '12 at 11:00
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Plus, the OP said ProTools wasn't in his budget. –  Joe Griffin Apr 14 '12 at 15:19
    
Lincoln, Michael and Joe. Thanks a lot for your replies. Indeed this is a zero budget course. The school can probably cough up a couple of $100 but that won't get far with 50 students. –  Reachground Apr 14 '12 at 18:01
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I'm happy to tell you that I talked to Cockos and got a Reaper classroom licenses for the sound design course. Just minutes ago I connected the school with Cockos to finish the deal. I might be back to recap the result.

Thanks again to everyone that responded with suggestions!

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