Comparing an audio post mix to a musical mix
- [Instructor] Before we dig into the project, I have one more concept to cover and that's the concept of track based mixing and how we can apply it to post-production and Logic. Our job in mixing a soundtrack is to deal with dialogue, music and effects. So let's take them one at a time. Our job is to fix problems with dialogue, and then fix problems with sound effects which might include adding or replacing sound effects. And then, as far as music, we want to set the volume level or use EQ to get the most out of the music.
We also need to stay in sync with picture through out this process and eventually export a properly formatted audio file that the editor can lay back to picture, unless that's part of your job too. So let's start with our job as it relates to dialogue. For a moment imagine the worst case scenario, mike placement is different on every line of dialogue, maybe because of a change in location, maybe because of different techniques and equipment used by various sound location people.
But as you listen you realize that to get this character's voice to have continuity, you'll need to EQ and set levels for every line. So that's the worst case scenario. Kind of next worse case is the lines have a consistent volume in each scene but each scene sounds a little different than the last, maybe because of room tone. And the lack of continuity and texture is pulling you out of the movie. So let's skip over normal for a minute and imagine the best case scenario. Every line of dialogue is perfectly miked, great levels, perfect placement, no overlap where you're hearing one character in another character's mike.
I think this basically describes what you get from a good ADR session, but it would be rare in a normal location project unless you're lucky enough to be working with the top echelon location sound crew. Normally, I think you'll get dialogue that's mostly good with a few lines that need some fixing and a few that are beyond fixing and will need to be dubbed again. So let's go back to that worst case scenario. In the end it might be faster to put each line of dialogue in its own track so it can have its own compression, EQ, and volume settings.
And that would be horribly inefficient. Fortunately, with most projects you'll be able to use the track based mixing technique that we use in music. Each instrument gets its own track, we EQ it for its role in the mix, we make adjustments for volume as needed. So applying the concept of track based mixing to dialogue, we're going to treat each actor as a musical instrument. And chances are good that once we've dialed in a good EQ and compression setting for one line, it will work pretty well for every line of that character.
So we'll treat our ambience and sound effects like an instrument. If the dialogue is like the lead vocal in a song, then the effects are more like the rhythm track, supportive, with an occasional step out. So for this title I'm going to use stereo music tracks, they're already mixed, as opposed to scoring type project with a separate track for each instrument. And as tempting as it is to get into the nuance of film scoring, there are other lynda.com titles that tackle that subject.
That's the background for this title. In the next chapter, we'll begin the process of crafting our mix.
Award-winning sound designer Joe Godfrey has developed a system for handing off the dialog, music, and effects mix from a Final Cut Pro timeline to Logic Pro. Why Logic? Many of the tools the Final Cut editor is using began there, and Logic has great tools that can be applied to dialog, music, and effects, as well the final mix. There are some things you want to do—in the right order—and some common mistakes you want to avoid. This course covers them all. Learn how to import audio from Final Cut Pro X in Logic Pro X, fix any syncing issues, edit dialog to perfection, add special effects such as pitch shifting and automated EQ, enhance music, and bounce out the final mix, either as a composite track or stems that can be mastered separately.
- Importing AAF, OMF, and XML files
- Configuring your workspace
- Recognizing and solving sync issues
- Adding markers
- Mixing on the fly vs at the end
- Fixing dialog levels
- Fixing dialog texture and ambience
- Automating EQ parameters
- Autopunch for dialog and Foley
- Special effects (SFX) replacement and enhancement
- Finishing the mix: compression and limiting
- Export options: Composite vs. stems
- Archiving a project