Audio Post Production & Sound Design
Amazing audio is seamless and goes unnoticed, bad audio sticks out like a sore thumb; This is where Audio Post Production comes in!
Audio Post for Film requires a number of independent processes starting with the Production Dialog Edit, Voiceover, & ADR. From there the score, sound design, & foley brings the rest of the soundscape to life! With some final balancing & enhancements in the mix stage your Narrative Film, Commercial, or Documentary will leave polished ready to bring an emursive auditory experience to the audience. Armed with an acoustically accurate mixing stage, extensive sound library and audio software collection, your videos will come to life!
Audio Post Production & Sound Design are the processes used to create the soundtrack that go along with a video. While every project requires different things, It generally consists of several stages of work:
- Production Dialog Edit
- Sound Design & Effects Editing
- Foley Recording & Editing
- Scoring & Music Editing
- Mixing (Also Called ReRecording or Dubbing)
Read my Audio Delivery Instruction article to ensure everything is delivered to post properly.
Production Audio & Dialog Edit
After Delivery, the first big task in Audio Post is to go through all the recorded production audio and edit a seamless pass of dialog through the entire film. Starting with Multitrack ISOs of each channel recorded on set, I’ll determine what works best for the scene. Whether Boom Mic, Lavaliers, or a mix. I’ll edit out all the mics that aren’t being actively used. Crossfading each together so you don’t even notice it. Layering in a little room tone recorded on location ensures a consistent background ambience from take to take.
Unfortunately due to many factors (Noisy Locations or Action Sequences for example), recording clean dialog on set isn’t always possible. Before moving on we determine what if any lines need to be re-recorded by the talent in an ADR Studio. Other common problems found in production audio may include boom handling noise or clothing rustle in lav mics. Through advanced Audio Restoration Techniques, often times we can downplay or even entirely remove problems from the source material.
ADR Recording & Editing
When ADR is deemed to be necessary, talent must come into the recording studio where they will watch playback of the scene to rerecord their dialog. Trying to match tonality of the production dialog mic, we prefer recording both a matching boom & lavalier to give flexibility in seamlessly placing it in the film. Having a video playback system for the actor to watch while performing is essential to have any hope of having them replicate their performance.
Once the new ADR dialog is recorded it’s time to edit it in and make it as seamless as possible. Starting with the closest take to matching the original, the ADR gets chopped up and time stretched to perfectly match the timing of the original. Still standing out as studio recorded dialog, with a little matching EQ & and reverb to match the the acoustic space the rest of the dialog was recorded in, it will come and go without being noticable.
Sound Design & Effects Editing
Sound Design is where your motion picture really starts to come to life! It’s what brings realism to sell your visuals. From Subtle & Realistic to Larger Than Life, or Even Over The Top & Cartoonish, there are several stylistic directions to the Sound Design for your video!
Simply put, Sound Design sets the stage for what’s happening visually and where it is taking place. Generally speaking Sound Design is categorised into three subgroups, Hard FX, Location Ambiences, & Tension Builders (or mood driven sound design).
Everything from phone sounds to gun fire & laser weapons, explosions, robot sounds, creatures, cars, & more have to be added during the sound design phase. Armed with an extensive sound effects library containing tens of thousands of individual SFX sound, I have everything ranging from Mechanical Sounds to Cars, Magic, Science Fiction, Explosions, Gunfire, Combat Sounds, Modern User Interface Sounds, Debris, and much more.
Setting the location is an important part of creating an immersive experience for the audience. From restaurants to city streets, a quiet forest, oceanscapes, or even a construction site, each has a unique sound. Having this underbed not only draws the listener further into the story but helps hide production audio gaps. With 1000s of unique ambiences, as well as isolated elements, I can provide a realistic soundscape no matter where the scene is set.
The final area of sound design is in a grey area that overlaps the composer’s role in scoring. Think about all those horror films that raise the hair on the back of your neck, or that TV Drama that makes you feel like your heart just suck. Behind each of those emotional responses is sound design helping set and support the mood as the drama unfolds. Risers, Hits, Bass Drops, and Stingers can all be effective tools for adding extra suspense.
Foley Recording, Mixing & Editing
Akin to Sound Design is Foley, the art of performing & recording interactions sound of everyday objects in sync with picture. This commonly includes Footsteps, Clothing Rustling, & any sort of interaction with objects on screen. Named after it’s pioneer, Jack Foley, it’s become a mainstay in post-production for movies & television. Foley yields a much more naturalistic sound then pre-recorded effects. Good foley you won’t even notice is there. With an 1000 Sq. Ft. Foley Sound Stage & an extensive collection of props, we can create sounds and textures for nearly everything through creative foley.
Scoring, Composition, & Music Editing
Generally speaking music for film either falls into one of two categories: Score or Source Music. Source music is music that you hear coming from somewhere off or on screen; For example from a car stereo, alarm clock, radio, TV, or wherever else. Source music is generally either licensed from an existing artist, or from generic stock music libraries. Score however is the soundtrack that drives the action & mood, usually custom composed to follow the tempo of each scene. Most modern video productions have a combination of both, depending what’s appropriate given the context of the scene. Once the score is complete it’s layered and seamlessly edited in and out of the video where necessary.
Audio Mixing for Video
The final stage of Audio Post-Production is Mixing, also often called Dubbing or ReRecording Mixing. It’s all about balancing each element, and delivering a clear and consistent final mix. Using tools such as Equalization, Compressors, De-Essers, Sub Enhancement, Multiband Dynamics, Noise Reduction, Reverb, and much more every part of your video’s soundscape will live polished & refined. There are a lot of elements to ensure are all heard clearly, with Dialog, Voice Over, & ADR taking a priority, while keeping space for Sound Effects, Foley, Score, & any other Sound Design.
Mixing on an acoustically calibrated Film Mixing Stage equipped with an exceptionally transparent monitoring system & powerful studio computed with an extensive audio software collection. Mixing in a studio space like this ensures every mix will translate and more importantly sound great on a wide variety of end user playback systems.