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-   -   Undipped music stem (http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=305900)

mwpmorris1 08-15-2011 09:56 AM

Undipped music stem
I'm trying to clarify exactly what is an "undipped" music stem. Over the past few years I have interpreted it as music without any dips whatsoever - for on-screen dialogue or vo.

However, sometimes when working on mix stems from other dub houses - when recutting or reversioning for international markets I have seen music stems that are dipped for sync but not for vo.

Can anyone give me their interpretations of this?

I can see the sense in dipped for sync/undipped for vo but it seems a bit inflexible to me and would hamper recutting in future. I think it'd also pose problems if the on screen dialogue were to be replaced in a foreign language.

If someone can shed some light on this I'd be most grateful!

RecRoom 08-15-2011 11:58 AM

Re: Undipped music stem
I've never heard of dipping a music stem for dialog, but not for VO. An m&e or music stem shouldn't be dipped under any circumstances, imo. Sort of defeats the purpose.

There is such a thing as a mix minus, which is basically your full mix minus the VO with the music and efx undipped where the VO is.

MIKEROPHONICS 08-15-2011 03:31 PM

Oh dear.. Sighs

The whole point of stems is that the dial, music and fx stem should sum to make the dm&e, to which you dip under the VO stem to make the final mix..

I reversion hundreds of hours of tv a year for my friends at AETN, and if I had a pound for every time that this wasn't the case, I would be heliskiing in NZ now.

The music stem should be therefore be the correct level under the sync (I.e dipped) for interviews and soundbites, but the dipping under the VO is done by the dme fader,, this is because America - yes you! there are other languages in the world that are different lengths (and I count British amongst the other languages) and to fight a dipped dme is a pain.

For most tv shows, mix the m&e fist, the international version is the one that sells and often makes the production the most money, and then go back and final mix for your territory.

This really isn't hard and and it is surprising how many people get it wrong and fall foul of the golden rule of post "don't pass [bleep][bleep][bleep][bleep] on"

Most international versioning sessions do not have the time or the money to rebalance your dme, so you make no friends and are not helping yourselves if you provide a dipped dme and you and your post house will rapidly get a shirty call from the production company.

Incidentally, although I am often found being ironic and perhaps irreverent, when I made a quip about foreign languages above, I was actually being quite serious, most American tv shows are re-voiced in the UK as our style of language and also our style of mixing is quite different. I digress.

here's a hopefully helpful video from Pro-Tools-Expert where Mike Thornton and I discuss how to make undippeded M&E mixes, and how to lay out your templates and why.

It is not intended to teach seasoned pros how to suck eggs (before you even start), but if you are not sure or have little experience at this, it will guide you along your way and prevent you from making silly errors.

BobbyDazzler 08-15-2011 04:42 PM

Re: Undipped music stem
Touched a nerve Mike :)

But like Mike says, I find it easiest to mix an MnE, then I bus that mix out and automate it seperately to dip under Narration.

JKD99 08-15-2011 09:00 PM

Re: Undipped music stem
Yes, but why should the FX and BGS (atmos) dip if it's only the MX that's fighting the VO or DX?
This is something that I can't quite understand....it seems to "dumb-down" what we do as mixers, as if all we do is raise and lower one fader......

BobbyDazzler 08-16-2011 01:13 AM

Re: Undipped music stem

Originally Posted by JKD99 (Post 1825461)
Yes, but why should the FX and BGS (atmos) dip if it's only the MX that's fighting the VO or DX?
This is something that I can't quite understand....it seems to "dumb-down" what we do as mixers, as if all we do is raise and lower one fader......

As long as your MnE is well balanced and useable, feel free to do your Full Mix with as much finese as you like.
I actually have 2 sub masters, 1 dipping music, and the other dipping SOT and FX, and these are automation bypassed for the MnE. So strickly speaking, you can't perfectly recreate my Full Mix from the MnE and Narration, but if they need more flexibility they can use the full splits.

MIKEROPHONICS 08-16-2011 01:50 AM

Re: Undipped music stem
Bang on Bobby! "Right on the money" (as Mr Cowell would say - well, if he could mix....)

No one is cramping your "style" jkd, do what you like in the final, but if you make a great dm&e, often the final is just two faders, VO and DME. and it just sits well.

My issue is with people who start out mixing the final and then the M&E is afterthought for "everyone else" where dipping is happening all over the place on group, sub masters, channels and the DME is consequently dipped and bumpy.

Dirty stems... undipped music, incorrect bussing - now that is not fun to deal with. If anyone puts profanity bleeps on the fx stem I will shoot to kill!

back to work...

Postman 08-16-2011 05:58 AM

Re: Undipped music stem
I am see spec sheets now that say specifically define stems and DME as "undipped for narration and VO". In the past spec sheets usually said "undipped" which left room for interpretation.

When making undipped-for-narration/VO mixes, a problem comes at those points in the mix when loud music (and perhaps effects also) must be lowered for narration which is followed immediately by dialog. In the full mix you usually lower music for the narration. For an updipped verstion, though, do you lower music before the narration point (which is against the rules and will upset Mike :-)), or before the dialog point (which will probably also upset Mike :-):-)), or perhaps make a smooth change across the entire narration area, or perhaps never raise music up loud to begin with and hope it happens during a dubbing mix?

And, I agree with JKD99 that music and effects often are not handled the same way. Often the music should go up and down while effects are handled entirely differently. We can make "updipped" music and effects stems that work well for international dubbing, but there is no question the DME will be compromised.

MIKEROPHONICS 08-16-2011 06:21 AM

Re: Undipped music stem
HI Postman

You made me laugh!

Sorry if I came across as crabby, but if you saw the DME 's that I have to deal with on a far too regular basis.... perhaps you might be sympathetic?
I expect nonsense from video editors and clients - but we are in audio and we ought to know better than to give each other incorrect files.

I think your option 2 is what I do, music is dipped under sync. As long as VO is not butted too tight (ouch) to the sync then there is plenty of time for a nimble fade up on the DME fader.

I think too much may be being read into this? and I was posting to indicate why un-dipped music stems (against Narration) should be the norm and why.

I most definitely do not claim to have all my final mixes sailing by with just the DME fader being dipped against narration, but for the most part it is more often than not. There are exceptions to all rules... and not all audio situations are similar. But if you send me a dipped DM&E......I'll bite yer bum!

pip pip

Postman 08-16-2011 06:51 AM

Re: Undipped music stem
Sorry Mike, I should have put some smiley's into my references to you, as they were meant to be light hearted! In fact I think I'll go back and edit them in.

Issues that violate a rule no matter how you do treat them, come up all the time during doc mixes. I just try to make a choice that does least harm. For my example above, if there is only music with no effects, I tend to do a smooth change across time. I figure that will be easy for a mixer to work with later, but I also can see your approach (dip ahead of dialog) is easy also, assuming my dip is a smooth one.

Yes, working around unwanted dips can be interesting. I have only done a few dub jobs but I'll never forget some miserable mixes on analog consoles with music that was pulled from other mixed episodes, with dips in crazy places that no longer make sense. Very challenging! If I had to do that every day I'd find a new line of work.

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