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Old March 20th, 2008, 11:46 PM   #1
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Stereo Imagers

Three questions please:

1. When using a stereo imaging plugin, how wide should one set it? When is widening usually applied?

2. Should one use different stereo widening for music vs dialogue?
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Old March 21st, 2008, 02:35 AM   #2
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Dialog should be mono, in a stereo mix panned equally between the speakers so it's centred on the screen and in a 5.1 mix it should be directed to the centre channel. With the possible exception of dialog coming from out of frame it should not pan to follow the action. I wouldn't use any widening at all on it.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 06:01 AM   #3
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I agree with Steve. A stereo imaging plugin is usually used on mono music and/or mono sound effects tracks, not on the final mix.

The best use is to *artfully* widen mono effects tracks, say those recorded on location with a mono shotgun...going to a stereo final mix.

If that f/mix is collapsed to mono, the 'widened' tracks should appear in their original mono form.

Cheers.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 09:06 AM   #4
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alright, so why would one want to widen a mono sound? Arent hard effects usually centered anyways unless they're supposed to be off screen a little?
Are ambiences and music good candidates for widening?

thanks
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Old March 21st, 2008, 12:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roshdi Alkadri View Post
alright, so why would one want to widen a mono sound?
Agreeing with the above posters that dialog is about 99.5% mono in the final mix.

EFX and music might be widened for a couple different reasons.

* Such widening tends to create the perception that the sound is further away, what a mixer would call "further back" in the mix. Most widening plugs work by assigning different freq ranges to different pan positions in the stereo field, then adding some reverb/echo/slap to the opposite position. In the extreme at full wide, that might mean that a source to the right has reverb efx to the left.

So, wide is not just about creating something more stereo, but creating a sort of artificial environment in which the original effect or music might have been recorded, but wasn't.

* Reason 2 - because it furthers the impact/resonance of your work and sounds good to you. Wider, richer, real-er, happier, sadder, more wonderous, something. Good monitoring is key to making choices like this.

There are a lot of different choices in designing a stereo or 5.1 sound field.

Welcome to sound design - it's like a new set of paintbrushes and colors to add to your work, paint what you want.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 06:06 PM   #6
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Yep and just because you bought it, learnt how to run it, don't feel you have to use it every time. A tendency for new users with gear like this is to overdo it, screw with every mono track they can get hold of.
Take it easy, shut the pix off and experiment, allow plenty of time well ahead of the deadline, and when you think you've nailed it, sleep on it. Leave the rig set up and listen to your mix in the cold light of day, on a set of reliable speakers. Even knock out a test DVD and play it every whichway.

Sound is 70% of what you see.

Cheers.

PS hey Seth, ya wanna take this on the road :)
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Old March 21st, 2008, 06:57 PM   #7
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good info guys thank you. So i gather this:

Mono is pretty much always centered unless its an offscreen sound, even then its panned very little

Widening of music or ambience is not just to make it more stereo but to make it fuller, richer and possibly to provide a "hole" for dialogue to exist. Ambiences can also be widened for mood and the portrayal of a space that exists.

This world of sound design is amazing, i really do feel bad for those ignorant of sound and consider only picture as king.
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 12:53 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
...PS hey Seth, ya wanna take this on the road :)
You know, I have a (very part-time) teaching gig and it is one of the most consistently satisfying things I've done in a long production career.

So, yeah, I'm always ready to look at teaching/coaching opportunities, and I'd really encourage anyone who thinks it might be rewarding to check it out.
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