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Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools
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Optimizing the dialog in the first pass


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Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools

with Scott Hirsch

Video: Optimizing the dialog in the first pass

As you work through your first dialog pass, sometimes you'll find that some of the dialog regions come in way too quiet from the original OMF. You may need to use the AudioSuite Gain plug-in to get them in the same ballpark as the other regions. In this movie, I'm going to show you a special way to do this. You can maintain handles for later crossfading. So this region here is a little bit quieter than some of the other dialog regions. Let's take a listen. (Character 2: And that adds ten seats to the theater. And that adds ten seats.) Okay, so here's how we're going to do this. We're going to copy this region down to our Edit track first.
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  1. 6m 13s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      40s
    3. Using this course with Pro Tools 10
      1m 57s
    4. Relinking audio files
      2m 33s
  2. 18m 37s
    1. Understanding the new audio for video features in Pro Tools 9
      5m 17s
    2. Exploring the hardware requirements for Pro Tools 9
      5m 19s
    3. Understanding the audio components of a finished video
      5m 22s
    4. Understanding the audio production workflow
      2m 39s
  3. 25m 10s
    1. Understanding video formats, SMPTE timecode rates, NTSC, and PAL
      6m 21s
    2. Understanding video formats, codecs, and pull-up/pull-down
      5m 16s
    3. Setting up your Pro Tools session for video
      8m 44s
    4. Exporting OMF and AAF files
      4m 49s
  4. 32m 14s
    1. Importing OMF and AAF files
      8m 8s
    2. Importing and the DigiBase browser
      4m 0s
    3. Conforming the OMF import to your template
      6m 51s
    4. Setting up groups and windows
      6m 2s
    5. Spotting film and using markers
      7m 13s
  5. 52m 55s
    1. Organizing the dialog tracks
      5m 0s
    2. Optimizing the dialog in the first pass
      4m 30s
    3. Using room tone
      4m 10s
    4. Creating fades to smooth out audio edits
      5m 4s
    5. Understanding sound effects, ambiences, and backgrounds
      7m 12s
    6. Sweetening and hard effects
      6m 52s
    7. Processing tips for sound effects
      8m 46s
    8. Bringing emotion to the mix with music tracks
      5m 33s
    9. Leveraging clip-based gain in Pro Tools 10
      2m 51s
    10. Exploring AudioSuite enhancements in Pro Tools 10
      2m 57s
  6. 15m 29s
    1. Preparing the session for foley and ADR recording
      9m 19s
    2. Recording ADR and editing with VocALign LE
      6m 10s
  7. 45m 5s
    1. Noise-reducing hums, rumbles, and buzzes
      8m 11s
    2. Eliminating crackles and digital clicks
      5m 30s
    3. Taming plosives and sibilance
      6m 10s
    4. Reducing broadband noise
      9m 26s
    5. Conforming to video changes
      8m 36s
    6. Pitch shifting for effect or utility, TC expansion
      7m 12s
  8. 56m 19s
    1. Setting up for stereo mixing
      5m 11s
    2. Calibrating levels using an SPL meter
      7m 2s
    3. Mixing with automation
      11m 4s
    4. Advanced mix automation
      8m 0s
    5. Automating plug-in parameters
      9m 22s
    6. Mixing with reverb
      7m 20s
    7. Ducking techniques
      8m 20s
  9. 42m 4s
    1. Setting up a surround mix template
      11m 14s
    2. Calibrating for 5.1 surround mixing and bass management
      9m 2s
    3. Mixing and spatial techniques for 5.1 surround
      14m 9s
    4. Downmixing, encoding, and using Neyrinck plug-ins
      3m 38s
    5. Automating techniques for 5.1 surround mixes
      4m 1s
  10. 10m 6s
    1. Print mastering and stem mixes
      5m 47s
    2. Mastering delivery levels and dynamics
      4m 19s
  11. 5m 29s
    1. Backing up your final project
      5m 29s
  12. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools
5h 9m Intermediate Jun 14, 2011 Updated Apr 04, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, professional audio engineer Scott Hirsch shows how to create an evocative sound mix for a film or video, built from basic audio collected during the shoot and transformed into a final mix using Pro Tools 9. This course shows how to set up and optimize a Pro Tools session template for projects with unique requirements, record Foley and ADR audio, layer sound effects, perform corrections such as noise reduction and pitch shifting, mix for stereo and 5.1 surround sound, and finally, how to format and deliver the finalized mix, whether destined for DVD, movie theater, broadcast, or the web.

Topics include:
  • Understanding video formats, codecs, and timecode rates
  • Importing OMFs and AAFs into Pro Tools
  • Spotting film and using markers
  • Using room tone
  • Creating fades to smooth out audio edits
  • Sweetening and hard effects
  • Recording ADR and editing with VocALign LE
  • Editing out plosives, crackles, and hums
  • Mixing with automation and reverb
  • Calibrating for 5.1 surround mixing and bass management
  • Mastering delivery levels and dynamics
  • Understanding the Audio Suite enhancements in Pro Tools 10
Subjects:
Audio + Music Video Audio for Video Post Production
Software:
Pro Tools
Author:
Scott Hirsch

Optimizing the dialog in the first pass

As you work through your first dialog pass, sometimes you'll find that some of the dialog regions come in way too quiet from the original OMF. You may need to use the AudioSuite Gain plug-in to get them in the same ballpark as the other regions. In this movie, I'm going to show you a special way to do this. You can maintain handles for later crossfading. So this region here is a little bit quieter than some of the other dialog regions. Let's take a listen. (Character 2: And that adds ten seats to the theater. And that adds ten seats.) Okay, so here's how we're going to do this. We're going to copy this region down to our Edit track first.

Use the Grabber tool, F8, and I'm going to Ctrl+Option, which is Windows+Alt on a PC and drag this down to one of our Edit tracks. That way we held control so it didn't slide left to right and by holding Option, we copied it down. Next, what we're going to do is pull out some handles on this region. So I'm going to get the Trimmer tool and pull out a little bit of a handle on the left, a little bit of a handle on the right. Now if I zoom in really close here, you'll notice that there's some crossfades at the beginning and end. I'm going to select those and just delete them by clicking the Delete key.

So now we've pulled out the handles from the original region and it's on our Edit track. So we're going to go up to the AudioSuite. We're going to go to Other and choose the Gain AudioSuite plug-in. So you have to ask yourself how much we're going to gain this region up. There's a handy button on the Gain plug-in called Find Level. Let's click that. It tells us where the peak level of this region is. In this case, it's at -14.9 dB. So if I use the slider, I'm going to drag this up till that reaches about 10 DB. -9.5 is fine.

So we're going to gain it up 5.4 dB. That's a good spot for dialog to be peaking out at about -10. So I'm going to hit Process, and you can see the waveform got bigger. Let's take a listen to it. Solo the track-- (Character 2: Good!) (Character 1: And that adds ten seats to the theater.) Sounds good. So now I want to trim it back to its original size. So I'm going to go back up to the original region, double-click it, and I'm going to use the semicolon to move the selection down to that Edit track. At this point, I can hit Command+T or Ctrl+T to trim the region to its original size, and before I drag it back up--I'm going to close the AudioSuite plug-in-- I'm going to make an alternate track in the alternate track playlist on this dialog track.

So I'm going to select Duplicate. It will make a duplicate track. It will be called DX A3.01. That way we can keep the original region just underneath, on a playlist right below. So we'll go down to our edited gained-up region, holding Ctrl on the Mac to drag it up, and it takes the place of the old one. So now if I listen through, it seems to match the level a little better. Unsolo that guy down there. (Character 1: Took out the kitchen.) (Character 2: Good!) (Character 1: And that adds ten seats to the theater.) So, there we go, and we also now if I use the Trimmer tool, have handles on this region, which we wouldn't have had unless we did this workflow.

That's through your dialog pass. Another thing you might be looking for is you want to identify the best single source for each bit of dialog. So if I go and do about 28 seconds of this sequence, I hear another problem. Let's take a listen. (Character 1: More money.) (Character 2: Exactly.) (Character 1: Right.) Okay, so that 'right'. That's on the close-up of character two, and it's character one that says it. Let's hear that again. (Character 1: More seats, more money. Right.) (Character 2: Exactly.) So let's see if we can pull out the region from dialog one and find a better version of that piece of dialog.

I'm going to use the Trimmer tool and I'm going to pull this region out, and let's take a listen. I think I see visually which might look like the word right. (Character 1: More money. Right.) (Character 2: Exactly.) Solo up the track to hear it by itself. (Character 1: More money. Right.) (Character 2: Exactly.) That's a much better 'right' than the one that's down here. So we'll do a couple of simple editing tricks. We're going isolate this. Just actually chop it off by hitting B on the keyboard so it has its own region. And using the Trimmer tool, F6, I'll drag this back to where it was, and I'll use the Trimmer tool to take off the old 'right', and let's make sure it's in the right spot.

Unsolo the track. (Character 2: More money. Right. Speaking of money...) (Character 1: Exactly.) Well, that works pretty well. So you can use some simple editing tricks like that to kind of reveal other parts of other takes which might be more appropriate to clean up your dialog edit. These small tasks you do in your first dialog pass are the foundation you'll be building on, so it's good to take your time and be diligent in this stage of post-production.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools.


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Q: This course was updated on 4/04/12. Can you tell me what changed?
A: This update was initiated when Avid released Pro Tools 10. It explains that this course can be taken with either Pro Tools 9 or 10 (the exercise files are compatible with both), and we also added movies that explore the enhanced clip-based gain and Audio Suite features in Pro Tools 10, both of which are useful when building a soundtrack.
 
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