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Let's get into the basic workflow of an audio for video project and see how Pro Tools integrates. First, the production phase. The video is shot. While Pro Tools can be used to record audio on a set, typically location audio recordists use a separate hard drive or flash recorder. Then we have the Picture edit. In this step, the video, along with production sound, is imported into video editing software, such as Final Cut Pro or Avid Media Composer. During this period of time sound engineers can gather and record other sound effects that might be useful for the project, or go through sound effects libraries, storing sounds, editing, and compositing them in Pro Tools, gearing up for sound work that lies ahead.
When the picture editing is complete, the picture is said to be locked. There may be still graphic, special effects, or other picture manipulations, but the timing of the cuts are solid and fixed. The next step is the OMF or AAF transfer, where the sound is separated from the picture and brought into Pro Tools. OMF or AAF files are generated from the Avid Media Composer or Final Cut Pro Timeline. The picture editor also delivers a separate reference video, which is imported into Pro Tools as a video track, and it's referenced while the work takes place.
Once the sound has been imported into Pro Tools from the OMF or AAF files, the audio edit begins in separate stages. Dialog, including production audio is edited, noise-reduced, EQ'd, and optimized, Backgrounds, ambience tracks, and the sonic world of the film is created. Sound effects are placed, foley is performed, sweetening of production sound effects occurs, ADR, dialog replacement is recorded if it's needed, temp or file music is brought in, while the music soundtrack begins recording.
Once all of this is completed, if there are many tracks, premixes or pre-dubs are performed to make the final rerecording mix simpler. Then the final rerecording mix occurs. It's named this because stems are combined and rerecorded to make the final tracks, or print masters. Various versions can be mixed. Some may be for Internet, some for TV, some for DVD, some for surround, and so on, depending on the project's needs. Complex deliverables might be asked for also, such as versions called M&E or Music and Effects, with no dialog for foreign versions.
Then the final layback to tape occurs. This is where the sound is married back to the final picture and completed for the final delivery. So now you have seen how Pro Tools fits in to a video workflow. These days it can play significant role in any video soundtrack, and it really let us fine-tune all of these stems and their individual elements as we work.
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