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Old 06-18-2007, 09:58 AM
smack5099 smack5099 is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 14
Default Film/Video Workflow

For the people who use Pro Tools to mix film and video, what is your general workflow? I'm having trouble pinning down a set method to work through.

I generally figure it's best to start with dialogue and work my way down, but there are so many components to dialogue that it's hard to know where to start. I generally have dialogue samples coming from different sources (different takes, ADR, etc.), so the levels are all over the place. Ideally, i would normalize the dialogue for a scene first, but then that cuts off the handles on my files. Then there's EQ and noise reduction, etc. but that all depends on the room tone on the track(s) below.

My latest method has been to go scene by scene, working my way from dialogue to room tone to FX and Foley, maybe leaving a few unrecorded sounds for later before moving on the next scene. It would be much preferable to set levels for dialogue for a whole sequence first before moving on to anything else - I'm working on a feature divided into 10-20 minute sequences - but like I said, I can't normalize until I have my exact region lengths set and riding the levels before normalizing would result in some pretty excessive automation.

Anyway, what I'm doing is more or less working, but it feels very unintuitive and I'm wondering if anyone out there has a workflow that works for them. (Forgive me if I'm overlooking something very obvious, but I'm relatively new to Pro Tools.)
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Old 06-18-2007, 02:03 PM
The Dougfather The Dougfather is offline
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 3,200
Default Re: Film/Video Workflow

What are using to edit your video, Final Cut Studio?

iMac i5 2.8GHz, Macbook Pro 2.4GHz, Pro Tools 10/11, MOTU 828mk2, Presonus Digimax FS, Presonus Firestudio Project, TC Konnekt 24D
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Old 06-18-2007, 06:48 PM
mnoxious mnoxious is offline
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 160
Default Re: Film/Video Workflow

I never normalize because it gets rid of your handles. I recently have been hired to mix a television show where the production audio is horrible and the first post sound mixer normalized all of it and didn't pay attention to when the normalization clipped. He also used DINR extensively and because he suffered from high frequency hearing loss he couldn't hear the artifacts that the plug in added. So I had to scour the production tapes and tediously re-sync the entire show and start from scratch. So I've had bad experiences with normalization, granted he didn't really know what he was doing...

Basically when I approach dialogue editing I get each scene so that the transitions are smooth, the changes in ambient noise (when switching between angles) is as close to unnoticeable as possible, and the dialogue has similar timbre (according to the shot). But I don't determine a final level until the final mix with all the elements. Often I'll create a dialogue submix but I'll leave enough headroom to be able to mess with it later. But if the level needs to be up then I use compressors, gates, and limiters to boost the dialogue and try to suppress the background noise. If I do process the audio I keep a log of what has been done and I always try to process it after the scene has been edited. But I'll back up the unprocessed audio on a separate playlist on the track, that way I can always go back to the unprocessed stuff later.

I find that I'll add all the other audio elements piece by piece when I get bored with dialogue editing. I guess that's a luxury a single editor can have. But when working with each part, fx, foley, music I'll try to solo them when editing, tweaking a bit while playing them with the other elements, but leaving the final mix to when all the elements are in place. I found that if you begin to do mix before everything is prepped then each time you add something your final mix needs a little tweaking and you end up mixing for a long time. Also if it's a big project (since i only have LE) i'll set up a couple of sessions, one for dialogue, one for fx, and one for foley and then bounce out stems to mix in another session so as to be able to maximize my track count. Doing it this way I'll bounce a temp dialogue reference stem to set temp levels for the dialogue, fx, and foley and to see how each element plays with the dialogue. Making a change (when a change is needed) is sometimes time consuming because of the bouncing process, but it's a good way to utilize a lot of tracks when you need it.

So my advice would be to find a workflow that alleviates tedium but doesn't compromise efficiency and leave the final mix to the final mix.

Hope that helps a bit. I find Dialogue editing very tedious and getting it right is an art I have yet to master. I'd love to know how the dialogue editors for the big studios do it. Anyone willing to share some advice/secrets?
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