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Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools
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Setting up for stereo mixing


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Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools

with Scott Hirsch

Video: Setting up for stereo mixing

On bigger productions it's common to perform pre-dub or premix prior to the final mix or re-recording session. This practice allows you to cut down the number of tracks and simplify our track count for the final mix. You would for example combine all your dialog tracks, background fill, ADR, and production effects onto six or eight checkerboard tracks for your final mix. Although when you do your premix you'll be printing your volume levels and some processing like EQ and compression, you should keep it somewhat minimal to keep some possibilities open when all the elements are heard together in the final mix.
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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

Setting up for stereo mixing

On bigger productions it's common to perform pre-dub or premix prior to the final mix or re-recording session. This practice allows you to cut down the number of tracks and simplify our track count for the final mix. You would for example combine all your dialog tracks, background fill, ADR, and production effects onto six or eight checkerboard tracks for your final mix. Although when you do your premix you'll be printing your volume levels and some processing like EQ and compression, you should keep it somewhat minimal to keep some possibilities open when all the elements are heard together in the final mix.

Here is an example of how you'd set up your dialog pre-dub. So I have my dialog tracks split out here for two scenes like we talked about for doing the dialog edit, but down here I have the tracks that I'm going to premix too and I'll show you how I've broken them out. I gave myself three dialog tracks, Dialog A, B, and C. So Dialog A is going to be your primary print track, say for the first scene. So any normal dialog, in this case all of this dialog-- There is nothing out of the ordinary. There are some perspective changes and things like that.

They're all going to combined onto our Dialog A track. Then for the next scene, we have three more tracks, also normal dialog. It's been edited and filled with room tone and all that good stuff, but in the premix we're going to combine them and they will go onto Dialog B. So we're still checkerboarding, but we're minimizing the track count. So Scene 1, all normal dialog, we go to Dialog A. Scene 2 all normal dialog, we'll print down to Dialog B. Now I made one more, Dialog C, and that would be for anything out of the ordinary.

If there is a special needs dialog that we want to separate out for the final mix or something that needed to be append in a different way, you could put that on Dialog C. I have some other premix tracks to print to, if I had ADR, I would put them on A and B by scene, checkerboarded. I also have some production effects tracks down here. So if you wanted to take the time to split out all the production effects from the original dialog tracks, much like we did here where we took out the sound of him unrolling the paper and putting the coffee cup down, you could print that stuff down too production effects A and B, again checkerboarded by scene.

By separating out the production effects it will save you a lot of time later when you need to make M&E, which is a music and effects only version for foreign distribution. So you have the opportunities to do that here in your premix. Another option you have is if you wanted to you could print your reverb also to separate tracks. So that you wouldn't have a reverb running in realtime. You could actually print the reverb and you can bring that up or down in the final mix if you wanted to. The next step in this process, we made the tracks and I just want to go through how you would route this kind of thing to these final print tracks.

So for the first scene, which goes from here to here, we would route all three tracks. Again, remember I said these are all normal dialog tracks. There is nothing strange about them, there is no special needs dialog. These will all be printed down to Dialog A. So I would select all three of these tracks and by holding Option+Shift or Alt+Shift, I can route their outputs to that Dialog A track using the new quick routing feature in Pro Tools 9. And now they're routing down to Dialog A. Its input is set to that same bus.

And for the second scene, I'll take all three of these tracks, which again also they're normal dialog tracks, and I would Option+Shift or Alt+Shift and send those to Dialog B. And if I wanted to split up the Production FX, I would take that and I would send that to my PFX A track. Then we've got our dialog. You can see that all of our dialog tracks are bussing to an aux track for reverb, and if we wanted to print that, we have the option here too. I could take the output of the dialog verb track and print that to our dialog verb print track down here.

So once you have all your tracks routed, you just need to record enable any tracks that you're recording to. In this case Dialog A, Dialog B, Production FX A, and Dialog verb, and you simply just record as you play through the scene. So I would hit numeric keypad 3 on my keyboard to begin recording and as it rolls through the scene, you can see I'm printing these tracks down. (Male speaker 1: Hi Charlie! Again! Good to see you.) (Male speaker 2: Good to see you!) (Male speaker 1: So what did you bring me here?) (Male speaker 2: Just what you suggested we cut back to save on expenses. We're losing the one in the back?) So when we're done, we'll have these 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 tracks with our reverb will be combined into four tracks, which we'll bring into the final mix and that will make the final mix a little bit simpler to deal with.

And the mixer can have his or her finger on one fader for the main dialog and for the next scene it will be the next fader next to it. So this is just one example of how you might prepare your mix for a premix. Of course if you're working with a re- recording engineer, you want to confer with him or her about how they prefer the tracks to be prepared. Everybody has their own personal working methods, but this is an example of how you can route and perform a pre-dub.

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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