Gain Staging: Dialogue workflow?

On my Nuendo quest I’ve hit a block that I’m trying to wrap my head around.
I’ve searched the forums, and I currently have the manual open…

Show event volume curves
The gain line is at the top of the event… Is there any way to display it center on the event? It’s impossible to get a visual on how cranked up it can be since it starts at the top. Or, is there a way to change what the top level is so 0db rests towards the middle/bottom?

Gain Staging
Mostly in the sense of dialogue… (I don’t think it’s necessary to get into how PT handles “clip” based gain.)
There are four options.

  1. Lower or raise the event Volume curve “gain line” (mentioned above).
  2. Use Pencil to write into event.
  3. Audio Process (offline) event volume envelope
  4. Using an automation lane and making sure Automation follows event is turned on.

  • Of course coming from PT, I’m used to just making a range selection and dragging down the gain line, but this can only be done this way from the volume automation lane unless you split the event in two parts and drag down the gain line… and then glue them back together again.
  • You can’t do this via the drawing tool for obvious reasons.
  • When doing this on the automation lane, you have to grab from the TOP of the range selection and not the actual line, which is quite annoying.
    You also risk loosing it if for some reason you have to turn off automation follows event.

Any preferred method out there for gain staging? Anyone using macros for splitting and gluing?

I’m not trying to force PT into Nuendo, just trying to learn what the fastest and usual route is that people take.

The event volume curve at the top of the event though… Is killing me. lol

For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s good practice in PT to select a range and then adjust clip gain. I’ve had to adjust someone else’s work where that was done because the vertical lines created clicks, and undoing that is a pain in the butt since the normal tools one would use on actual fader automation don’t work the same. I know you said you didn’t want to duplicate PT workflows in Nuendo, but just so you know where I’m coming from.

I typically just use a modifier (I think it’s “alt”) and click to separate a clip in Nuendo if I need to adjust the clip gain for just part of the longer clip. Then I adjust by 1dB increments using a key command.

Most of what I do is TV and so the loudness range for the type of shows I do ends up being fairly narrow. This in turn means that I have compression after clip gain and I also ride levels. That in turn means that I find a 1dB increment to be quite sufficient in ‘resolution’. I’ve mapped the increase/decrease keys to my left hand and keep the right on my trackball so it’s very easy to quickly separate if needed and then just whack away at the clip gain/attenuate keys.

So the way I work I simply don’t care about where that curve/line is because I don’t draw or change its shape (i.e. holdover from hating that in PT) and I can see just fine how much gain is applied by looking at waveform height, looking at the info line, or looking at meters… or I use my ears…

Not sure if that answers it…

I agree. I don’t shelf it like that, I usually ride it back… for reasons you stated. It’s definitely a lazy man method.
Like making splices, raising gain and then cross fading the clips back on each other (where my media composer editors at?!!? LOL).

Alt+click definitely separates the clips and I understand what you are doing. You could Alt+Click in two spots and tap a 1db increment, or use mouse wheel if you have that set up.

I’m also in the same boat with TV work (maybe it’s a NY thing)… So I think your method is a bit better. I’m not doing this on individual parts of words, more or less on long audio “events” like you are describing.

I take it you are just riding the fader on normal volume automation lanes? and doing this method only if you have to get a good starting point or don’t want to massive jump the fader on lane? In our line of work (for the most part), we are not moving events around a lot, so the margin of error of moving something and not having the automation follow it is rare… compared to say… sound design.

I’m with you on the hating it in PT. That’s why I’m here. Trying to make a full change to another platform, and I don’t care to take up scripting and programming as a side hobby, so Reaper is kind of sort of out the window. eek.

Wonder if others have different approaches, maybe we shall see. I’ll give this method a go on a test AAF I have, Thanks!

Yes, I think.

I definitely use it to get levels in the same ballpark range so I can have an easier time riding the fader. Obviously I won’t do this to any and all dialog since if the difference is large for example within a sentence and there’s a fair amount of background noise the noise will jump too, so that requires a bit more ‘care’.

Typically I also have automation follow my events so that’s not really a problem.

I’m just a newby in Nuendo and in process of creating my personal workflow. Macros are the keys to almost all of my needs for making my work fast. What about volumes - I just range something and macros does all the hard work: splits it, makes it louder/quieter by 1 dB, 3 dB (any value here) and leaves it selected so I can hit this macro again. Never seen it faster in other DAWs. Not by the computer right now. If anyone’s interested I can share it, but really it’s very simple)

I/we use both the envelope and clip level all the time for dialog editing. Although you can’t go positive on the envelope like you can in PT and the click-to-adjust is far from perfect, I have no issues with it as after 13+years (used avid audio vision 1993 and PT after that) I don’t even think about it any more. But yes it could be smarter and better implemented.

A tip. As there’s no dB indicators for the clip envelope 50% of waveform height is -6db.

So I use both the envelope and clip volume when dealing with dialog.
However I rarely use dialog channel faders at all until I actually start mixing. And if you deliver to other mixers I think that is an important habit to follow as no mixers want to start mixing having to relate to the dialog editors fader moves.

As for gain staging +24 dB of clip gain is normally sufficient. But if a show is recorded really low I will raise the pre gain on all used tracks for dialog an pfx so I get to a workable range.

If it’s just a scene or two, or a specific mic channel I may use DOP gain first (with plenty of handles as I do do all dialog processing) to adjust it up.

To me the good thing with the clip envelope NOT having dB indication is that for me it becomes something I work with intuitively and not analytically. And I like that. It’s not easy to do exactly the same on two events (it’s darn near impossible) and I like that as well. In a way it keeps me from thinking to much when I edit.

I agree with this.

I think for people in my situation, and maybe Alden’s as well, we get one-man jobs where dialog/production sound editing is then not handed over to anyone, and so it’s basically simpler and faster to just level as we go. I used to edit first and then do a level pass after but found that to be effectively slower… again for one-man TV jobs of certain kinds.

I also agree, and that’s what initially made me pose this question.

This is definitely true for most of current television, and frankly in my humble opinion the future of how things are going to be. With tech, tools, and technique becoming more lightweight and inexpensive, the ability to command high wages rests on this factor… Albeit not for everyone, and maybe not as wide spread… I see it as the trend moving forward. But I digress.

This also added to my initial reasoning on “What’s the Nuendo workflow for this?”.
It’s also adapting to something new. I’m used to seeing the event “clip” gain line in the middle of the clip, not at the top. Just have to wrap my head around it more, and again… It’s just for general balancing of course, and I do like the alt click to split events and then mousewheel/KC 1db.

Nonetheless… I pulled the trigger on Nuendo with a crossgrade, so super user here I come.

I think you will be happy.

I spent the last three weeks pretty intensely alternating between PT on Mac and Win and N10.3 on Windows and I just sooo prefer Nuendo right now. It has a few kinks but damn does PT look and feel like an ugly (mostly reliable) old car.

Funny you say that. As an Nuendo evangelist I used to be in the same camp for at least a decade, but in more recent years NU looks like a bad hack, GUI-wise - and more often than not it feels like one feature-wise, too. Just compare the session/project data import dialogues of the two apps, for example …

The two apps have many smaller things that differ that we users may think are ‘big’ to us individually, but for ever thing that one person likes, like the one you mentioned, there’s someone who isn’t bothered by that but prefers and equally ‘small’ thing in the other app…

And I really don’t think PT is ahead on features if we take bigger ones into account.

But we’re now off-topic. Sorry.

There’s a lot more to Nuendo that not only I like, but also that I think should be standard for audio post. Some quirks to get around, but that’s mostly just hashing out new muscle memory.

:laughing: I didn’t write that.

LOL. Forum gremlins.