Do you trust Nuendo's offline export?

Hi there!

When I worked in music, someone would always listen to the tracks after my final listen, so I wouldn’t worry much, and in 5 years of work, never have I encountered an “export error” per se, meaning that any problems I have ever had in my exported mixes were always present on the timeline, and I had missed it.
So I have been able to trust the “export” part of Cubendo, and since someone always listened after me anyways, I didn’t worry much.

Working in post, though, recently I’ve been finishing a long process with a docu-series, with many changes along the process, etc. and there are more than 6 hours of exports in total, so it has been pretty tiresome.

I have done a last round of checks that have prompted a few corrections, and I have to say, it’s a pain in the ass having to listen to the whole episode once, fix whatever, check the fixes, then export it and then having to listen to the whole export again, to make sure there’s nothing silly being overlooked. Also no chance in hell the director nor the producer will want to listen to it all all over again after our last session, at least not from a QC standpoint. They have to trust me.

Do you trust that if it finishes exporting with no errors, waveform is consistent with the piece, file size is fine, you play it here and there and it sounds good, that it is glitch-free? If you listened to the open mix, the export will be exactly the same, always?

How do you deal with this kind of stuff?
I’m interested in hearing how you all do it, with long hours, short pay and tight deadlines.

Thanks!

With tight deadlines I will always export offline and just send it out. In my experience (in the US market) production will do a review pass and possibly come back with changes they want but then it goes to the Network or a separate company for another review and QC, and between all of the other people any issues are typically caught. This is going to sound ‘bad’ but I once had a producer tell me when I asked about delivery specs that I should just do what I think is best because QC is going to kick it back for image issues anyway so they were counting on another mastering / upload pass regardless, and that’s what I did; I evaluated the specs best I could and exported and sure enough it came back.

Now, I obviously aim for making it the best I can, but when the budget is low and time is tight then it is what it is. I’m not losing sleep over it.

As for Nuendo I’ve found that pretty much every single time I’ve had an issue with an export not matching playback it’s been either user-error (I’m human) or a poorly coded plugin (looking at you iZotope). Outside of that things work the way they should.

On average the very quick shows I do the edit and a single mix pass, export and upload to the client. Most of the time no changes needed. The somewhat quick shows I finish the mix, screen it for myself, then address my own notes and then export and upload to the client. In other words still not checking the mix file. And if time permits that screening for myself is of the final mix file.

If changes need to be made I typically just record onto a track with the exported mix, crossfade and consolidate. I check the crossfades and the section I fixed for any technical issues as well as double-check it against the previous version. I normally have the old mix on a separate monitor-source in Control Room so I can switch back and forth quickly during an A/B check when I’m mixing.

So I’m pretty comfortable trusting offline export is what I’m saying…

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small projects, i just export and it is ok, i trust nuendo on that side.
big projects with lots of automation, edits, plugins etc, i record a mix on a stereo track, not because nuendo is the issue, but some reverb plugins and sfx sounds sometimes get little “squashed” in standard export.
if i have to do a correction on a certain part of the mix, i send them only that part with TC (plus a few seconds before and after), and the NLE editor inserts that part.
but in general i had no issues with nuendo exports

I always use the offline export and no troubles for lots of years. However working on a 90’ film mix I exported two separated outputs, MIX and DIALOGS. The DIALOGS file was 5 frames shorter than the MIX and was these 5 frames displaced up to start so the two files were not in sync. Several Izotope plug-ins in DIALOGS group, but I never realized this issue before.

^^^^^^^ This! I made a habit out of it to freeze tracks with iZotope plug-ins, or to use RX Advanced instead as stand-alone app for serious restoration.

Some plug-ins give slightly different results when a mix is exported faster than real-time (dynamics processors in particular seem to be possible culprits), but the differences don’t justify a real-time export of all revisions of a 90-minute film score.

I do trust it, but I verify. Final materials, I always sit and listen to the files before sending. CYA.

I mean… I trust Nuendo, it’s the plugins I don’t. Some of them are good, some can be dodgy. Like Kontakt has always been perfect, never had an issue with it and offline bounce since all the way back in the 1.5 days. However EastWest’s stuff? Ya I don’t trust that at all, had many issues with it so I always want to check.

Thank you very much for your inputs!

I have though about it all and am settling on the following workflow for the time being:

For intermediate exports, I just export when I’m done and that’s it. Aside from obvious fails, I’ll be good to go.

For final exports, I’ll listen to it from start to finish, AFTER export.

Any mistakes or problems that are found on and export and need to be addressed, will be done by means of exporting just the section, crossfading it in and consolidating - this way only the affected part gets messed with and I don’t have to re-listen to the whole thing.

Seems pretty safe and time-saving for me!

Thanks again!

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No. They don’t.

On short form, its easy for sure to spot check and have others listen. On long form I mostly trust Nuendo as errors have usually been human error or exists in the project. Except for one bizzare scenario that happened to me when exporting mutlple outputs at the same time. A line of dialouge for some bizarre reason didn’t make it to the main output but existed as part of the other outputs in which it was being send from. This confirmed it was a bounce error in this instant because it appeared in one place and not the other - unless somehow automation changed the routing. This comes to mind from writting it out, but I don’t believe I needed to adjust that to fix the error. Also QC didn’t even catch it, because the lip moment was super subtle, I woudn’t trust QC to catch creative stuff also. The listening to it and then just fixing parts is a good strat I use now as well

I always load my exported files in an empty session and check them visualy.

Never had an issue apart from errors in my template.

I use 99% steinberg plugs and 1 waves plug…

Not much to add here. @MattiasNYC pretty much summed it up nicely (as always :wink: )
However, I always load the final export into RX and literally look for any obvious errors, any super-low or -high frequency content that maybe I’m not able to hear (anymore), silent parts that maybe shoudn’t be there and check the loudness values. Then I just listen to the very first and very last seconds in case I messed up the export range.
So after all I check if I myself did some mistakes. There has never been an issue with Nuendo itself.

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Nuendo’s offline export has been 100% for me at all times

In order to check for issues like glitches or small droputs of a few samples you could obtain WaveLab. It has an error detection functionality.

A warning: I experienced a severe difference between real-time output and offline render result when using the stock plugin “FX Modulator”. I haven’t narrowed down the exact parameters when it does not work correctly but I think it has something to do with the Time Modulation module.
So, this is an example of a whacky (stock) plugin that one should not trust.

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Huh! Thanks for the warning. 8-/

That is normal.
Any plugin that uses modulation can never null-out since the modulation is random. This also happens with “analog emulations” of compressors. Even the world famous Lexicon reverbs have some sort of modulation applied to their reverb tails.

Fredo

I think there is a difference between the non-nulling results of - say - free-running modulation and the “whacky” results described :slight_smile:

I did not experience alterations in phase or such “subtle” change. The two versions (offline vs. real-time) sounded totally different as if the parameters were set to some other values.

Imagine you would set up a delay with 1/4 delay time and a long feedback value, but rendering issues a 1/16 delay with short feedback. This is the kind of difference I got.

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