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Organizing the dialog tracks

From: Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools

Video: Organizing the dialog tracks

If audio for video is a battle then the dialog edit is on the front lines. The overall success of your soundtrack will hinge on the effectiveness of the dialog, and all the other elements in your session will be built around it. Here we'll discuss your overall approach to your first dialog pass. As you see here, we have a pre-made session. It follows the template ideas we worked on before, but it's slightly different, since we're using it just for dialog. As you can here, we have dialog A 1-4, which we'll use for this scene, and then for the next scene, we would use dialog B 1-4, and then in the following scene we would go back to dialog A 1-4.

Organizing the dialog tracks

If audio for video is a battle then the dialog edit is on the front lines. The overall success of your soundtrack will hinge on the effectiveness of the dialog, and all the other elements in your session will be built around it. Here we'll discuss your overall approach to your first dialog pass. As you see here, we have a pre-made session. It follows the template ideas we worked on before, but it's slightly different, since we're using it just for dialog. As you can here, we have dialog A 1-4, which we'll use for this scene, and then for the next scene, we would use dialog B 1-4, and then in the following scene we would go back to dialog A 1-4.

This way of checkerboarding can maximize your dialog tracks to keep you with the fewest amount of tracks through your entire session, but a lot of flexibility for your mix. As you can see also, we've already duplicated, hidden, and locked our original OMF tracks to get back to them if we need to. So on these four dialog tracks that came in with the OMF, we have in our first track a boom mic track. Second and third tracks are lavalier mics and the fourth track is a roomtone track. At this stage our goal is to look through all of these tracks, decide which regions we want to use, and bring them down into our dialog tracks, and keep the unwanted ones in some alternate tracks we have below, just in case we need them later.

Typically, I prefer the sound of the boom mic, providing that it is recorded well. It usually sounds the most natural. When you're pulling regions into your dialog tracks, you also want to try to avoid doubling anything. That means twice the background noise, and you can run in the phasing problems if you have more than one source. So let's listen to some of these tracks, and we'll compare the boom mic sound versus the lavalier track sound. Here we'll solo the top track, and we'll hear the boom mic, and then we will compare the bottom two tracks. (Male speaker: So, what did you bring me here?) That's the boom mic. Here's the lave1.

(Male speaker: So, what did you bring me here?) And here is lave2. (Male speaker: So, what did you bring me here?) As you can hear, lave1 and lave2 are kind of muffled and not as clear as the boom track, and as it turns out for this entire sequence, which is pretty short, the boom track is the desired take. We still might need to use the lavalier tracks for some things, so we'll keep them handy. Let's select them, and using Control or Windows key, we use the grabber tool to drag them down to our alternate tracks.

Here we can use Command+M or Ctrl+M to keep them muted. That way we can grab them if we need them and they'll be in a timeline, but we won't hear them. So, back up to the boom mic track. We are going to now look through the regions in this track, and we're going to split or separate it and bring it into the appropriate dialog tracks. Let's start at the beginning. Click Solo to hear just this track. (paper shuffling) So it's seems like the first region is actually not dialog at all. It's production sound.

So using Control or the Windows key, click and drag this down to the production effects track. Let's take a look at the next region. Zoom in a little bit. (Ken: Hi Charlie) (Charlie: Ken!) (Ken: Good to see you.) (Charlie: Good to see you!) Okay, so here we have two things going on. At the beginning of the region we have the cup going down, which is technically a production effect. So we're going to click into this region, and we're going to use the B key to split this region at this point. Go back to the grabber tool and we'll Ctrl+Drag this region down to our production effects track.

Now the second half of the region-- (Ken: Hi Charlie) (Charlie: Ken!) (Ken: Good to see you.) (Charlie: Good to see you!) That's a wide shot. So we'll designate DX A1, our first dialog track, as the track we'll put anything that has the wide shot of the two characters. Ctrl+Drag that down to DX A1, and let's look at the third region here. (Ken: So, what did you bring me here?) So this one is a close-up of character one, in the red shirt. So for this one, we'll designate DX A2. That will be any close-up shot of that character.

So Ctrl+Drag that down to DX A2, and let's take a look at the third region. (Charlie: Well, just what you suggested. We've cut back to save on expenses.) Okay, so that's a wide shot again, so that will go on the first track. So we'll continue on, listening, editing where necessary, and dragging the regions into their appropriate tracks, depending on if it's a close-up of character 1, a wide-shot, character 2, or the production sound. When we're done, we should have something like this.

So, here's our finished broken-out tracks. As you can see, we've split them when necessary and put them on the appropriate track. One other thing that we'll do in this first pass is just a general level pass. So as you can see, I already brought down the wide shot a couple of decibels from zero, just because it's a little farther away, as you can see visually, than the close-up shot. So compensate that just generally by levels. We'll probably get more specific with that when we get to the mix stage of this project, but we can do that for now. So this first pass to dialog is strictly organizational.

Remember, the work that you put it now will pay off a lot later, and we'll get more specific into our dialog edit as we progress.

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This video is part of

Image for Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools
Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools

51 video lessons · 8827 viewers

Scott Hirsch
Author

 
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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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