ATMOS - converting 5.1 grops (and fx) to 7.1.2

Is there any smart way of how converting 5.1 grops (and fx) to 7.1.2?

I can obviously do it manually , but it really sucks…
It’s for a Late stage mix project where target format was changed to Atmos.

I’d also like to know if there is a trick to this - I am regularly mixing in 5.1 and then taking it to ATMOS,. It’s really sad to lose all the 5.1 panning when moving to 7.1.4.

I would use a plug-in to quickly create a 7.1.x mix from 5.1. (For example NUGEN Upmix.) Or did I misunderstand the question?

Yes you did misunderstand.
Of course I could upmix . Don’t want to. I Want to change the width of the groups fx and buses with less hassle.

Sorry for being ‘captain hindsight’ , but i think it is worth thinking about creating a default session that allows atmos but also allows stereo and 5.1 mixes.
More on topic, can’t just sent the 5.1 stems to Atmos Bed busses? I think that would be the easiest way, but i’ve never had this issue at hand.

Yes, that works. :wink:
Or you can send the track directly to the Atmos renderer. The Atmos renderer then automatically converts the track to the suitable objects. (This also works with FX tracks, for example.) This is called “Multi-Objects”.

Thanks guys, but neither suggestion helps me change the channel width of the buses. Workarounds are great, but not really what I was looking for.

In the end we did a mix, some buses and reverbs got rebuilt as 7.1.2, and some where up mixed and a few 5.1 reverence reverbs just not panned to the rear.

But it sure would be nice to be able that change the Channel width of an existing track/bus.

Creating an additional “higher-level bus” in 7.1.x I don’t find very cumbersome. Probably depends on the respective project/workflow whether one finds this acceptable as a workaround.

Have also sometimes wished that I didn’t have to stick to a particular channel layout when creating a track. And that it doesn’t matter whether I send the signal in mono or surround or atmos. Maybe that will come someday. (However this will be implemented then.)

You haven’t found it cumbersome?

So then I gather that you didn’t try to move automation data such as panning,sends an insert automation betwee different width groups or fx channels then? Especially exhausting since Nuendo just will not always present the automation tracks in the same order when showing all automation thus it’s easy to accidentally copy data to the incorrect automation parameter.

I’m talking about feature film mixing here. Many many groups and fx tracks are used.

I’m afraid I still haven’t understood what exactly you want. However, I would like to understand it very much. So if you haven’t lost your patience with me yet, I would be happy if you could give me an example. (Settings of the track before editing. What end result you want and what you want Nuendo to do to achieve it.)

Typical scenario: Client brings in pre-mix in 5.1; lots of positioning, movements etc. already prepared. Delivery has to be in 7.1.4, though. Many aspects of the 5.1 mix would fit the needs of the “wider” format already, but there’s no easy way to implement them.

You asked for it, long winded incomplete text below:

Example I have a group of sound effect tracks, these are first routed to a 5.1 group, this group has eq and a few send effects and perhaps some sort of dynamics processing. Many of these inserts and certainly most of the eq parameters have a lot of automation data.

Now I want to change this group into a wider format such as 7.1.2.
Why? So I can pan the sounds to the appropriate channel as needed.

So I have two choices, upmixing or rebuilding a new bus and transfer all automation data.
Upmixing will not give me the control I need for sound effects so while it may be a usable solution in some cases it is not what is needed in this case.

Now on to the remaining option of rebuilding.

Create a 7.1.2 group. Copy all the inserts to the new bus (making sure they all support the wider format). Now the fun begins.
Copy the volume data. Easy, just select it with the range tool and copy and. Paste it to the new track. Just remember that I will have to do this with quite a few groups later, basically one at a time. So easy but not very fast, yes I can do all the group tracks at once if I place them in a specific order, but that only really works for volume. And that IS the easy part.

Now automation.
Great just fold out all the automation and copy and paste it right? Nope. Because at first the new tracks don’t have all the same automation lanes automated , if there’s no data on them there is really no good way to have them show up so we now need to create initial parameters using the automation window.
Ok now we can start copy pasting all the automation right? No because if you have ever needed to manually show a automation parameter or indeed used any other method to display a specific automation parameter then now if you show all automation the order of the automated lanes will not be in the same order on your old group as on the new group.

Ok there is a way around that, sort of…
You can use the display automation data type “buttons” in the automation window.
This shows it for all tracks in a project, doing that creates a mess that makes it really hard to see what lane belongs to what channel so you basically first need to hide all other tracks but the one you are currently copying from and to.
Ok so now we click display pan data.
Great we start copying, just make sure to pay attention because eventually the number of parameters will be different as there are more panning parameters in 7.1.2 than in 5.1 obviously.
So you have to carefully judge that the correct parameters are showing and that you paste them on to the correct automation lane. This takes a while… oh and if you do mess up Nuendo allows you to paste level data onto a on/off lane and corrupting it’s functionality when doing so…
So do not make mistakes…

I’m actually going to stop explaining now because now we have copied fader level and panning data. Now we have to continue this process to deal with eq, inserts, sends and send panning. And to be able to see what you are doing and to avoid mistakes you basically have to limit yourself to doing this one group or fx channel at a time. So you have to go through this process multiple times.

I hope you can now understand why the current method is very time consuming. And not for the faint at heart.

In my project I have around 15 groups for effects and ambiance’s, 6 for dialog, walla, pfx and foley, and three groups for music, and a pretty large number of fx returns that are fed from both the source tracks and the groups, many that I also wanted to change from 5.1 to 7.1 2.
No not all of them needed to be changed to 7.1.2, a few of them I decided to keep as 5.1 or upmix when I thought it was appropriate. But we did it for many channels. Took most of a day for two people that we spent re-building instead of mixing.

Obviously we would have started using 7.1.2 groups if we knew it was going to be an Atmos release, but that changed as we had already started mixing what was expected to be a 5.1 mix.


Thanks for writing this, it must be very frustrating! your rundown clarifies things a lot. I’m coming from PT and still work in that 80% of my time in other studios. So I had no clear view of these limitations in Nuendo.
I am wondering if there isn’t someway to copy paste automation data quicker. There should be! at least i would assume that Nuendo has identifiers for every type of automation lane just like PT does. Steinberg is normally pretty smart about these things.

Lastly, I hope you can charge the client for 4 days of extra work!

ErikG, just a thought regarding inserts: Would it be possible to copy automation for a scene and then go into punch/preview and paste it in on the target track/insert, then punch it to loop? Would parameters follow logically across plugins? (I think this probably depends on the specific plugins)

I get that you won’t get transitions that way of course…

And come to think of it I also get that depending on the content you may have a ton of snapshots to copy-paste-punch, but maybe at least you get the ‘right’ ‘initial’ parameters with automation after you’ve done it once, and can choose “show used automation” or whatever it is to at least not have to see lanes for all unused parameters before you copy-paste on lanes…

It could work for some scenes but not for others where its real-time automated parameters. So doing it scene by scene would be slower and less accurate and would ignore any real time changes.

So probably not a usable solution.

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Not sure if this works for 5.1 but I do this a lot for stereo to 7.1.4. Move your cursor to before the song and open up the automation panel and from the drop down menu select “Create initial parameter events”. Then reassign your tracks to the 7.1.4 bus. If Read is not on, on the track just click read on and off and your panning should be recalled. HTH.

Thanks yes that works fine. It’s not the tracks that are problematic it’s the groups, fx channels and the buses.

Thanks @Wheels - that is exactly what I was looking for!!