Mixing a Short Film with Logic Pro
Illustration by John Hersey

Mixing a Short Film with Logic Pro

with Scott Hirsch

Video: Synchronizing sound effects

Now that we have all the dialogue and sync soundtracks edited, it's time to start thinking about how we can add some sound effects to enhance the action in our film. In this movie we'll look at importing sound effects and synching them to picture. In this scene Mr Dalton is sending a message on his iPhone. But we have no sound to go with it. Let's watch for a second. The message he sends is an important part of the film, so we want to give his actions a little life here. So, let's go over how to import and sync up some cell phone sound effect files we have.

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Watch the Online Video Course Mixing a Short Film with Logic Pro
1h 24m Intermediate Mar 27, 2013

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In this course, explore a powerful round-trip workflow between Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro that helps sound editors to quickly mix dialogue, sound effects, and music for film. Author Scott Hirsch frames the lessons in a way that appeals to filmmakers of all levels, as well as professional and amateur audio mixers. He starts with exporting your tracks from Final Cut Pro and taking advantage of the film and video templates in Logic Pro, which makes project setup a snap. Then discover how to consolidate and edit dialog, fix noise problems and background hum, and add special effects. Finally, explore how to use automation and EQ to enhance and match your final tracks to the picture.

Topics include:
  • Setting up your project
  • Exporting audio and video
  • Editing dialogue
  • Fixing hum and broadband noise issues with processing
  • Synchronizing sound effects
  • Automating volume
  • Printing the final mix stems
Subjects:
Audio + Music Video
Software:
Final Cut Pro Logic Pro
Author:
Scott Hirsch

Synchronizing sound effects

Now that we have all the dialogue and sync soundtracks edited, it's time to start thinking about how we can add some sound effects to enhance the action in our film. In this movie we'll look at importing sound effects and synching them to picture. In this scene Mr Dalton is sending a message on his iPhone. But we have no sound to go with it. Let's watch for a second. The message he sends is an important part of the film, so we want to give his actions a little life here. So, let's go over how to import and sync up some cell phone sound effect files we have.

In order to find the exact location from the sound effects from the time line, we want to be frame accurate. Logic Pro has a key Cmd to move the play head one frame right or left, but we have to first define it as a custom key board Cmd. Go to Logic Pro > Preferences, and Key Commands. In the Key Commands search window type the word Frame. There you should see Rewind one frame, and Forward one frame. Click the Learn by Key Label button. We'll use the keys Cmd left bracket for rewind one frame, so select that line, and type those keys. And then Cmd right bracket for forward one frame. So select that line and type that key combination. Now we've defined those key commands, and we can close the window. Back in the arrange window, let's try out these key commands, going forward one frame at a time, and backward one frame at a time. Good, now we'll drop some markers where we need to place some sound effects. There's two sound effects we'll make markers for, the unlock sound of the phone.

And then some phone tapping sounds as he types out his message. Notice in the markers global track, we're looking at our scene markers according to the cuts. Logic allows more than one marker's playlist, in the form of alternative marker playlists. So, let's go to alternative two for a clean slate. Now using the forward and backward by the frame key Cmd we just made. We'll find spots for the sound effect and drop markers at each location where sound effect will be. To create markers in a frame accurate manner, however, you want to open the list inspector.

There we can choose the tab called Marker. And here, under Options, we'll use the Create Without Rounding selection, to make Markers. Otherwise, Logic Pro tries to round up to nearest bar and(UNKNOWN). By using Create Without Rounding we'll be more accurate with the Markers, we'll be frame accurate. Okay? So it looks like Mr Dalton unlocks the phone with his thumb right at time code 01:06:20:11. Select Create Without Rounding to make a marker there. Once the marker's made, you can Double-click it, and we'll name the marker unlock. After that he taps his fingers seven times. The first tap is 01:06: 21:14.

Let's make a marker there, and we'll call it tap one. Now just for the sake of time, I've already dropped in markers for the rest of the sound effects in the scene. They're in the markers alternative three list. Now let's find these sound effects. Open the media inspector on the right, and from here we can navigate to our exercise files folder. In there you'll see an SFX folder. Double click on it to open it, and in there, there's going to be two files, called Tap and Unlock. We can audition these files, from this window, by clicking on them. (SOUND).

Now, snapping regions directly to the play head in Logic Pro is given a funny name, it's called Pick up clock. But we want to use this Pick up clock function to sync the sound effects. Let's add Pick up clock to our tool bar at the top. Right click on toolbar and choose Customize toolbar. Then you can drag the Pick up clock icon into the open space. Okay. Now I'm going to move the movie to the upper corner, to get it out of the way for a second. Now we'll type Ctrl+ period to make the play head go to the first marker location, the unlock marker.

Here from the media browser, we'll drag in the unlock region anywhere to the sound effects one track. Now we just selected it and click the Pickup clock icon and it moves right to the play head. Now we'll do the same for the first tap sound effect. Once we have our first tap sound effect back in place, we can type Cmd+C to copy that tap sound effect to the clipboard. And then we'll use Ctrl+ Decimal to move to the next marker, then we can type Cmd+V to paste it, and we'll repeat it for all the tab sound effects. Once we're done let's lower the volume of this sound effects one track to see if works in this scene.

In the track inspector lower the volume to minus 10. Now let's take a listen. (NOISE). This looks and sounds pretty good. Knowing how to place sound effects like these in sync is a crucial way to get a great sounding film mix, and it can enhance the narrative of your film a lot.

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