Delivery to Audio Post-Production
Delivery of the audio assets is the very first stage of Audio Post-Production. It starts with the Video Editor preparing the project for export. Getting your project ready to send off to the audio post can be a little confusing for some, but this guide will demystify and explain delivery for Audio Post-Production in detail.
Audio Delivery Specs
There are two common formats to export the audio from video editing software in order to be able to open it within audio software, AAF & OMF File Formats. Which format you use will depend on the editing software you are working with.
When choosing the export setting see that it adheres to the following specs:
- Audio Delivery format must be OMF or AAF (AAF is preferred as OMF doesn’t retain metadata and has 2 GB File Size Limit, and larger projects must be broken into individual reels when it exceeds 2 GB)
- Audio File Format: Uncompressed Broadcast WAVE (.wav)
- Audio Sample Rate: 48 khz (48,000 Hz)
- Audio Bit Depth: 24 Bits
- Audio Handles: Minimum of 5 Seconds, 10 Seconds is Prefered (10 Seconds = 240 frames @ 23.976, 300 frames @ 29.97, etc)
- Include 2-Pop 1khz Tone for exactly 1 frame at exactly 2 Seconds before start of video
- Timecode Format & Frame Rate must match Reference Video
- Include a copy of all original assets from production audio, alternate takes, & original score & alt versions. (Having alternate takes of production sound can sometimes eliminate the need for ADR)
Picture Delivery Specs
A visual reference is an important part of any mix to picture project, as every edit will be based on what is seen visually; As does the sound design.
- Video File with visual burn in of timecode in the lower thirds.
- Resolution must be HD, 1080p is prefered and 720p is the minimum. Do not deliver higher resolution files, 4k footage will bog down the audio program’s playback.
- File Formats: Apple ProRes (Proxy) Prefered otherwise DNxHD & H.264 will work fine.
Before anything in audio post-production can take place the video editor must reach picture lock. This must be the FINAL VERSION! No edits to the picture can be made after this point. Every bit of work done in the audio editing, sound design, & mix are all based on the picture locked edit. If you suddenly change one thing in the video edit, that will cause endless headaches for the audio edit, and oftentimes will result in changes that require a fresh export of export from the editor and starting over on the audio post-production process. All of which will come with a hefty price tag as a result. Make sure everyone that needs to sign off on the edit has done so to avoid any unnecessary complications.
VFX & Motion Graphics Picture Lock
Depending on the nature of the VFX needed, more often than not the VFX also need to be completed before it can go off to Audio Post, as the timing for sound design will be based on what’s happening visually. If you have questions about specifics, feel free to contact me.
I’ve been delivered incredible clean session files to import, and other times it is a complete mess. Keep your editing project files organized so when you export them to me I can easily sort through them and figure out what is what. Try to minimize your audio track count. There is no need for every piece of music or placeholder effects to be placed on individual tracks. By all means edit with score & effects to help with timing and streamlining the approval process. Likely when it comes time to Sound Design the project the effects used during the edit will be replaced, but its still helpful for me to have them in place. If an effect is especially perfect it may make the cut, otherwise the spirit of it will live on as a more complex and detailed sound design & foley replace the existing idea.
Cleanly organize & group the audio within your editing software so it contains all Production Audio for every video clip, Score (or Temp Music), Placeholder Effects & Ambiences (if needed), and any other audio used in the edit. Keep it in order by audio track groups, and minimize the track count wherever possible.
One of the major tasks of the video editor is to sync video & production audio. Whether manually or through the use of timecode metadata, ensuring proper sync must be done in the video editing stage.
Exporting From Premiere
Exporting audio from premier is pretty straight forward, but unfortunately by default it starts you with improper settings. Start by going to File > Export > and select either OMF or AAF.
The following Settings should be used:
- Name The OMF for Export
- Select the sample rate of 48khz (48000hz)
- Bit Depth or Bits Per Sample should be 24 (Do not leave on the default of 16 Bit)
- Select to Separate Audio Files (Otherwise it will keep using the files wherever they are on your drive and link to those, having separate files copies the individual assets to the export folder
- File Format: Broadcast Wave
- Render: Trim Audio Files
- Handle Frames: 120 Minimum, see Audio Delivery Specs for full details
Should Look Like This:
Exporting from Avid Media Composer
In the export setting menu select the following settings to export an AAF.
- In the “Export As” dropdown menu, select AAF
- Enable ‘Use marks’ and ‘Enabled Tracks’
- Select ‘Include All Audio’
- Under the Export Method Dropdown, Select ‘Consolidate Media’
- For Handle Length select a minimum of 120 frames, for preferred handles see Audio Deliver Specs above
- Make a Folder for the export destination to hold both the .aaf and the consolidated Audio Files. Choose that folder after and click “Save”
Exporting from Final Cut Pro
Unfortunately final cut pro doesn’t allow native exports for audio post-production delivery, and requires a 3rd party plugin to do so. X2Pro is the most commonly used plugin for this application, and can be purchased for $150 from X2Pro.