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Hello. I have a question about embedding the correct sort of metadata and general professional preparation for my sound files so I can pass to others and it'll be appropriate for their professional uses. I have read this thread where other threads (especially on the subject of metadata) are linked, and they're not really appropriate to what I need.

I don't use ProTools, Basehead or Soundminer... though I do use Apple's Logic, Audiofile Engineering's Wave Editor and Ice Audio's AudioFinder. I'm currently recording a lot of sounds which I will be passing on to various professional sound editors/designers and I want to make sure they're are prepared and tagged correctly for their use.

Firstly, I'm looking into the different formats of which to save these files. They have all been originally recorded at 96khz 24bit and are sitting on my hard drive ready for editing, preparing, tagging and exporting... But this is where I need help.

I'm guessing 100% that these should be saved in .WAV format, and not .AIFF (I'm on a Mac). Say I wanting to narrow my sound export options to three... What would these be? (After doing research on this, it seems 96khz 24bit, 48khz 24bit and 44.1khz 16bit are the best) ...but are they? Are these the optimum outputs? Say I was giving these files to you, and you wanted the choice, what would you prefer (and possibly why? So I can get a better understanding?)

...and then there's meta data. Seeing I don't have the professional software (mentioned previously) is there still a way I can embed the appropriate meta data into these files? After looking at my software, especially Wave Editor, it has a Properties window, and under this WAVE Extensions properties, where I can seem to set such things as Archival Location, Comments, Copyright, Cropped, Engineers, Genre, Keywords, Original Artist, Name, Product, Software Package, Source Supplier, Subject... Are these the standard things that get stored in WAV files and which would show up in Pro Tools, Soundminer, Basehead etc? I also own Ice Audio's AudioFinder which allows for meta tag editing.

Basically, will I have a problem with not owning Protools, Soundminer, Basehead when it comes to preparing my metadata for these people? Do I need to own those mentioned software just to be able to prepare the metadata appropriately? All the sounds I'm preparing are the usual stuff you may find under the categories of sound libraries (ambience, foley, nature, machines etc)

Sorry if this question is a little confusing... I've had a long night!

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3 Answers

They should definitely be .WAV files. That will ensure the broadest compatibility, and more flexible metadata. Those sound like good numbers on the bit/sample rate, but I'm guessing your concerned about delivery to clients? Maybe you should get some feedback from potential clients before committing to any one set.

As for metadata, check out Sound Devices Wave Agent at: http://www.sounddevices.com/products/waveagent.htm

It's a free program that will let you edit the metadata on your audio files. I have to give Tim Prebble credit for pointing this program out to me. I use Pro Tools to edit metadata when I'm in the studio, but this software is on my laptop for when I'm out of the office for more than a day doing location work. It will generate some outstanding sound reports as well; for any who need such a simplified method.

I can't think of anyone here who might need that, but...you know...someone might. ;)

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I looked at Wave Agent. I can't see much on the side of storing user defined metadata. Am I off the mark with what is required when writing metadata? Do I need it at all? ...all the sounds I have are effectively hard effects, ambiences and production elements. So I have no need (I don't think) for timecode information and such. I'm just wanting these sounds to be loaded up in their ProTools/Soundminer etc and they come up with the appropriate metadata in them so they can be found and used straight away. Do I need to worry about this level of metadata? If so, what sort of stuff should I use? –  littlejim84 Jul 18 '10 at 10:52
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You should worry about this level metadata. The reason I mentioned Wave Agent is because you can add descriptive, searchable, metadata. You would use the "Notes" section in Wave Agent; it's on the bottom right. Information you type in there will display in Pro Tools Digibase browser, Soundminer, or any other program that can read standard metadata (unlike Soundminer metadata, which is proprietary and can only be read by Soundminer). –  Shaun Farley Jul 18 '10 at 11:32
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Has anyone else seen a situation wherein data entered into the "Notes" section of Wave Agent fails to show up in the Pro Tools browser?

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Hi Jay

My default preference is 96k 24bit BWAV filess, unless there is actually interesting audio recorded up above 48kHz in which case I'll go with 192k. This is usually restricted to specialty mics (contact, eletrostatic), synth generated sounds, or stuff that can really go screechy (metal and explosions for ex)

Shaun is correct about wave agent offering the highest intercompatibility, though if you plan on doing more than just a short run of sfx I'd strongly encourage the purchase of Soundminer because you can really wrangle metadata much more efficiently in that program - inclusive of embedding descriptions in the bwav header file that is read by wave agent, PT and all of the others. SM will allow batch editing of the description data across multiple files, find/replace, append, prepend, copy field etc.

I'd also be sure to take and provide photos of the sounds as you record them. I find that photos are particularly helpful with ambiances. Soundminer will embed those photos into the bwav wrapper, but you'd still want to provide the pix separately as well.

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Hi Rene, Are you sure that it's only possible to 'embed descriptions in the bwav header file that is read by wave agent,Protools, etc' using Soundminer? Isn't Soundminer particularly usefull for also embedding metadata readable by Soundminer exclusively? I'm currently looking into buying Soundminer V4 but am also looking at HD plus. –  Arnoud Traa Dec 3 '12 at 16:01
    
its not that soundminer is the only program that can do it, its just that soundminer is the most efficient i've found for dealing with batch processes. SM also does have tons of proprietary metadata fields that are useful for in-house stuff. I think SM HD Plus is not capable of editing metadata, so look into that before you spend the $ there. –  Rene Dec 4 '12 at 14:30
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