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Old April 19th, 2007, 12:29 PM   #1
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Mixing audio post production tips?

Hey all,

I'm going to be working on a short soon, and this time I really want to concentrate on the sound. I've been doing some basic music recording, and know a little about basic mixing.

What I am wondering is how is audio for movies mixed that is staying in stereo? I'm assuming you want to first clean up the dialogue and apply noise reduction to get it nice and clean depending on how well it was recorded. Then when mixing keep the dialogue in the centre of the mix, and I was thinking of copying the ambient background noise and have one track of it panned hard left, and one panned hard right. Sound effects I'm guessing need to be not as loud as the raw files, they always seem too loud, so decrease the volume on those a bit, play around with reverb for the ambient sound.. hmm What am I missing? Is there any basic walkthroughs, tips or links you can send to get this kind of information? I'm trying to keep it relatively basic, but better than most audio that's just slapped together like my last one in adobe premiere elements. This time I'm going to import my video into some music recording/editing software.

Please help!~

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Old April 19th, 2007, 12:48 PM   #2
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The book "Sound for Film and Video" by Tomlinson Holman has a good run-down of the various stems and mixes involved in mixing sound Hollywood/Network style.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 01:00 PM   #3
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If you're going to use a DAW, then you're half way there! I come from 15 years of owning a recording studio to 2 years now editing video. I can tell you that a good DAW will give you a better mix. i use MOTU dp5.1 and it allows me to mix in surround(if you have the proper speakers/converter). but 1 trick is when you plan on panning a stereo track hard l/r, also bounce a copy of the source to mono and leave it at center. keep the vol low and add a decent reverb plugin using ambience preset and depending on your plugin, adjust the distance/mix/delay.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 04:09 PM   #4
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In addition to Holman's excellent book, you might also check out:
"Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound" by David Yewdall
"Audio Postproduction for Digital Video" by Jay Rose
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Old April 19th, 2007, 09:01 PM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions all! Anymore practical advice? I'm looking to keep it real basic, have enough on my plate as it is, just looking for basic info on what the prefered method is for a stero mix. I have been just leaving everything panned dead centre. I want to know what to pan, and where to put special effects, ambience, etc in my mix. Any tips?
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Old April 20th, 2007, 06:26 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Luke McMillian View Post
Anymore practical advice?

I suggest you keep the dialog in mono. You can pan it in the mix, but there's no need to record it stereo. Rather, if possible record the same mic using double mono with the gain at different levels so you can switch between them in post for the best possible result.

I know you are looking for quick suggestions, but the books recommended by the other posters are really very good. It takes time to read them, but they will save you a lot of time by making fewer mistakes that you'd otherwise have to correct later. Tomlinson Holman's and Jay Rose's books are outstanding! David Yewdall's writing sounded a bit arrogant to me (always pointing out how inferior everybody else's work is and how he came in to save the day), but if you look beyond that, there is a lot of good advise in his book, too. I am sure you will consider reading some of these books to be time well spent by the time your project will be all done.

- Martin
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Old April 24th, 2007, 05:02 PM   #7
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That was a great question, I really wish there would be some specific suggestions from the users. At some point however, the mentioned books will have to be read, of course.
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Old April 24th, 2007, 06:03 PM   #8
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I'd record all voices in mono and mix them in the centre. No reflection on your voices or crew but if they're not top notch then at some point you'll probably be dealing with voice clarity/presence etc. so you need a good sound recordist. You might need a reshoot too and have to match previous voice takes.

In post use good headphones only to prepare the voice tracks and apply some light compression to them in the mix.

After that it depends on how much time you want to put into experimenting to get your mix sounding the way you want. Play other projects you like, turn the pix off and hear how/what they've done as examples.

Your mixing speaker set up is most important. I'd use the best speakers you can manage and again, play some DVD movie/doco/shorts on them to understand their sound.

Burn a test DVD, listen on other speaker systems and pass it around to folk you trust. All the best.
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Old April 24th, 2007, 06:31 PM   #9
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Here's a thread with EQ and other tips:

Jon Fairhurst
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