digital performer intro, part 2

part one of the digital performer intro is here

Importing Audio and the Soundbites Window

You can drag and drop audio from a Finder window into the Soundbites pane in Digital Performer. Audio imported into your project gets converted to the project audio format, and copied into the Audio Files folder within your project folder. Soundfiles are turned into soundbites by Digital Performer, and listed in the pane. The first column is the Move handle (MVE), the second displays the soundbite name (the filename is not changed), and the third column is lists the soundbite duration. You can distinguish between mono and stereo files by the soundbite move handle: one tilde (~) is mono, and two tildes is stereo (indicated in the graphic below).


You can edit soundbite lengths in the sequence editor. If you do so, you create new soundbites, by default with an incremental number added to the name. (SkyLooksOrig.2, SkyLooksOrig.3, etc.) Make sure you have selected Edge Edit Copy in the Sequence Editor mini menu in order to create new soundbites when you edit a soundbite duration.




The Sequence Editor

The Sequence Editor is the main editing window for creating your project. You move soundbites into tracks in the sequence editor, placing them at specific times, shortening them, and adjusting volume through fades and mix automation. If you are using the Sequence Editor as a tape recorder without regard for musical time, you probably want to turn off snap to grid. You can tell if snap to grid is turned in two ways: vertical blue lines in the sequence editor that show the grid, and the “G” checkbox is selected.



Unselecting the snap to grid feature changes to sequence editor to look like like



You will work in the Sequence Editor in combination with the Soundbites pane. You can click on soundbite names to hear the soundbite. Click anywhere else in the program to stop the audio playback. You move a soundbite into a track in the Sequence Editor by grabbing its move handle (MVE) and dragging it into a track at the desired time point. Mono audio soundbites can only go into mono tracks; stereo to stereo.

Digital Performer has excellent help documentation as part of the program. If you are viewing the Sequence Editor, you will notice that the Help menu displays an option to go directly to Sequence Editor Help in the Help menu. Use DP help as a reference.

Context Sensitive Multi-Tool

DP provides a context sensitive multi-tool approach to editing with the mouse in the Sequence Editor. Be aware of these different tools as you mouse over different parts of a soundbite in the editor, along with the added functions of modifier keys.

With a soundbite selected, the cursor as one finger allows for dragging/moving of the selected soundbite(s).



With a soundbite selected and the Option key pressed, dragging a soundbite (or soundbites) creates a copy of the soundbite. Note that the cursor changes to two fingers.



Holding the Control key down while dragging a soundbite (move or copy) throws the soundbite – moving it so that it lines up with the beginning or end of the next soundbite in that direction. With the Control key pressed, the cursor first changes to a grabbing hand, then to a throwing hand as you begin to move.

sbgrab —> sbthrow —> sbthrown

Moving the cursor over the beginning or ending edge of a soundbite, near the vertical middle of the bite, changes to the edge edit/cropping tool ( ] ). Moving up the soundbite towards the upper corner grab handles changes to the fade/cross-fade tool. Double-clicking in a fade region brings up a fade curve edit window.

edge edit>sbcrop    fade>sbfade

Mix Automation

Volume and pan control can be automated in DP with precise editing control. First, turn on mix automation. Go to the Mixing Board tab. In each track/channel of the mixing board is an “auto” section. Click on the playback button in this auto section (the arrow button turns green) to allow for mix automation.

Back in the Sequence Editor, change from viewing soundbites to viewing volume data.



Add initial volume information by choosing Insert | Volume from the track information mini menu. The cursor changes to a pencil allowing you to add a volume breakpoint in the track.

volumeinsertmm   —> volumeinsert

Insertion of panning control happens in a similar way.


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