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i will work on a documentary which was recorded via ms (in combination with lavelier mics).

is there anything you guys would recommend when editing ms dialogue tracks in protools?

how would you organize the track layout? … multiple grouped mono track pairs?

and is there anything diffent with ms when using audio suite plugins like rx and the like?

thanks, jo

  • Even though I've already written an answer, it would help (and I can edit) if you can tell us why it was recorded mid/side. – Todd Wilcox Jul 14 '15 at 19:05
  • hey todd, iam not sure about it, since i didn't make the recordings. i guess it was some kind of compromise: recording mono dialogues plus "stereo -like" ambience in one pass without changing mics etc... – user14958 Jul 14 '15 at 21:16
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    ms is not a solution to every recording session. please ask the recordist and director or post supervisor why it's recorded in ms. in some cases it's better to throw the side channel out of the mix, simply because it only makes the mix more complex (in case the actor moves around a lot, you hear the 'room' move a lot as well). – Arnoud Traa Jul 16 '15 at 11:30
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I would put all mid/side tracks into Pro Tools as stereo tracks, with mid on the "left" channel and side on the "right". That way all editing will be sure to apply to both the mid and side signals identically. Then you can put in a decoder plug-in or send them to a bus for "manual" decoding. Or you could break them out again after editing.

Another approach would be to create an edit group for each mid/side pair of tracks and make sure you have the parameters set correctly that you want to be grouped when edited. This would seem to be the most professional way to do it, IMHO, but not necessarily the easiest.

Finally, you could decode and render/print the mid/side raw audio to stereo tracks before editing and processing them, but then you lose the mixing ability of mid versus side balance. This last option would be the best one if you only recorded mid/side for the purposes of recording based on the source, environment, and/or mics available, and you weren't hoping to have the mid/side mixing advantages or making mid-only or mono-compatible stems.

Regarding plug-ins, you might want to have a decoder inserted first or "manually" decode the m/s before stereo plugins where you want to take advantage of the stereo action of the plug-in (e.g., reverb and delay). For dynamics processing you can often get away with treating it like a stereo pair. You can also get some interesting effects by separately processing the mid and side tracks when it comes to EQ and dynamics. Really, it depends on what you're trying to do.

  • "Another approach would be to create an edit group for each mid/side pair of tracks and make sure you have the parameters set correctly that you want to be grouped when edited. " Indeed, if it's raw ms (M+S unencoded) you probably should create 2 mono tracks and group the regions. Send both tracks through an aux track with an MS encoder. This way you can edit the dialogue much easier in case you need to do surgical pencil draws on the mid track. – Arnoud Traa Jul 16 '15 at 11:33
  • "but then you lose the mixing ability of mid versus side balance." this is incorrect, you can always keep changing the mid side balance, unless you do phase manipulation (heavy IIR eq-in or other tricks that you should do in another stage anyway). – Arnoud Traa Jul 16 '15 at 11:35

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