Recently, I acquired a new addition to my photographic tool chest in the form of a new Canon 1D Mark III. This is the first 1-series camera I’ve owned and I’ve been spending a lot of time going through all of its features and doing test shoots with it before I take it into an assignment. As part of this exploration the other day, I played a bit with the built-in microphone and made some voice annotations to go with some test photographs. This seems like a really cool feature of the camera as you can make a quick note of a subject’s name or note some shooting detail that you want to remember later. But, I wasn’t sure how useful this would be in my typical workflow. After all, the first thing I do with my images is import them into Lightroom. And I didn’t figure that the audio files would be playable from Lightroom.
So it was a surprise to me when I imported this particular batch of photographs into Lightroom 1.1 and noticed that the
.wav files were listed as sidecar files. Additionally, for the images that have these sidecars, a new metadata line shows up indicating that Lightroom knows that these are audio files. Here’s what it looks like:
Even better, there’s that arrow next to the Audio File metadata field. Press it and the audio file plays! Eminently usable. It’s quite simple and works just as you’d expect it to. Neat! This is genuinely useful. I’m going to make an effort to try and work audio file annotations into my workflow where they make sense. The only thing I can see being an impediment to using voice annotations in my workflow is that you can only see if a file has an annotation in the metadata viewer which means that you might have to hunt around your images a bit to find an annotation that you remember making. It’d be nice if a little audio icon showed up in grid view for images that had voice annotations.
After doing a bit of digging, it turns out that this is a brand new feature in Lightroom 1.1 that wasn’t in 1.0. It’s also a fairly stealthy feature. It isn’t referred to anywhere in the help or in Adobe’s knowledge base. In fact, about the only other mentions of it that I can find on the web are in a web article by Ian Lyons and a mention in the Adobe Forums. Like Ian, I wonder what other stealth features might lurk in this release.