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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.
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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