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  #1  
Old 09-15-2020, 06:35 AM
MeritlessThoughts MeritlessThoughts is offline
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Default Exporting a 5.1 mix

So I am not a sound mixer and I have never used Pro Tools. My film was mixed in Pro Tools, but the mixer only did it in stereo (though they did provide splits for music, ambient effects, sound effects, and dialogue), and is asking for significant additional funds to re-do the whole thing in 5.1. As I may require a 5.1 track for distribution purposes, I didn't know how hard this would be to accomplish on my own by just exporting the files myself.

I have the original project files as well as all of the source files.

Someone did suggest to me that I just use DaVinci Resolve and do the following with the splits:

LEFT Fx/Music
RIGHT Fx/Music
CENTER Dia
LEFT SURROUND Fx/Music at 30%
RIGHT SURROUND Fx/Music at 30%


I would do that if I thought it would work, but as I am posting here, I am obviously open to paying for a month of Pro Tools and simply exporting the 5.1 track cleanly from what I already have. Clearly, I am not adept at actually sound mixing, so if this would require an entirely new re-mix and not just placing completed tracks in certain places, please let me know.
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  #2  
Old 09-15-2020, 06:58 AM
its2loud its2loud is offline
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Default Re: Exporting a 5.1 mix

If you want to sell your film for distribution you should have it properly mixed for 5.1. There is no export solution.
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  #3  
Old 09-15-2020, 08:14 AM
Rich Breen Rich Breen is offline
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Default Re: Exporting a 5.1 mix

Quote:
Originally Posted by MeritlessThoughts View Post
...LEFT Fx/Music
RIGHT Fx/Music
CENTER Dia
LEFT SURROUND Fx/Music at 30%
RIGHT SURROUND Fx/Music at 30%....
Well, I wouldn't do *that* ^^^
In general it's a bad idea to send identical material from the fronts to the rears, and unless you know what you're doing and are working on a tried and tested, well calibrated system you're asking for trouble.

I do think it's reasonable on a budget project to generate a simple 5.1 from your existing stereo stems - yes, dialog could be placed center, and one could conceivably upmix the stereo music (and *maybe* fx) to the rears with some judicious dsp, but again, one needs to know what one's listening for. I'd hire an experienced post mixer to take what you've got and re-purpose for 5.1 - shouldn't be that big a deal.
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  #4  
Old 09-15-2020, 08:34 AM
MeritlessThoughts MeritlessThoughts is offline
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Default Re: Exporting a 5.1 mix

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Breen View Post
Well, I wouldn't do *that* ^^^
In general it's a bad idea to send identical material from the fronts to the rears, and unless you know what you're doing and are working on a tried and tested, well calibrated system you're asking for trouble.

I do think it's reasonable on a budget project to generate a simple 5.1 from your existing stereo stems - yes, dialog could be placed center, and one could conceivably upmix the stereo music (and *maybe* fx) to the rears with some judicious dsp, but again, one needs to know what one's listening for. I'd hire an experienced post mixer to take what you've got and re-purpose for 5.1 - shouldn't be that big a deal.
As I have all the project files and all of the source files used to make the mix (I also have the splits too), would exporting a 5.1 mix be something that could be accomplished without too much work? I am clearly not up to it, but the mixer admitted that the problem was that they were not currently set up for 5.1.

When I asked if anything would have to be re-designed, they replied that it wouldn't require any re-design. Hence my thought that as long as I had the project and the source files, that it might just be a matter of either exporting it myself or having someone else doing it quickly.

I asked someone else about this issue (a filmmaker, not a sound mixer) and he said that since the original files were still in Pro Tools...

"You mix in 5.1 and then export what you want. Sounds like he exported in stereo but wants more for the surround mix."


Is that filmmaker right?
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  #5  
Old 09-15-2020, 09:26 AM
c-tone c-tone is offline
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Default Re: Exporting a 5.1 mix

The filmmaker isn't really right. It is not about exporting, as others have replied above. If it was mixed in stereo, then it needs to be remixed for 5.1, otherwise it isn't really 5.1.

You have been given correct information in the replies from audio engineers above. You need a professional audio engineer to do this for you if you want it done properly.

There are two ways to approach it:

1) for best quality, the entire movie should be remixed in 5.1 starting with all of the separate source files that were used to create the stereo mixes. Yes, it will take longer and cost more, but it will be a proper 5.1 mix.

2) Take your existing stereo mix files and remix (and possibly upmix) those into a 5.1 mix (As suggested in post #3). This will be cheaper and faster, but generally not as good as option 1.
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  #6  
Old 09-15-2020, 10:15 AM
gives's Avatar
gives gives is offline
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Default Re: Exporting a 5.1 mix

Quote:
Originally Posted by c-tone View Post
The filmmaker isn't really right. It is not about exporting, as others have replied above. If it was mixed in stereo, then it needs to be remixed for 5.1, otherwise it isn't really 5.1.

c-tone IS correct here. You have been given correct information in the replies from audio engineers above. You need a professional audio engineer to do this for you if you want it done properly.

There are two ways to approach it:

1) for best quality, the entire movie should be remixed in 5.1 starting with all of the separate source files that were used to create the stereo mixes. Yes, it will take longer and cost more, but it will be a proper 5.1 mix.

2) Take your existing stereo mix files and remix (and possibly upmix) those into a 5.1 mix (As suggested in post #3). This will be cheaper and faster, but generally not as good as option 1.

This is correct.. I see this all the time.. I had someone I scored and mixed a feature for that decided after they did their distribution deal that they wanted a 5.1 mix after the fact. In the end, they did not have ANY money or realistic funds to do it. They thought it would cost a few thousand..Well, I told them that we should have started with the 5.1 first, then do the Stereo out of that.. Much simpler. I did warn them at the beginning, but they thought it would not be needed to do a 5.1. This was months later that they wanted it. My experience now is that a lot of distribution hinges on really good mixes and also Dolby Atmos vs just 5.1. Especially Netflix as of late. I hear a lot of really bad mixes out there, but a fair amount of good ones now that I have had time to really watch any shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon etc.
False economy is not the best way to go. I don't know were filmmakers get this idea that they can mix their own stuff in a bad acoustic room with a set of speakers. I have spoke to film classes about this and they all seem to really be happy to get the right info about delegating the work and funding to good audio. It can make or break your film hopes for sure-:).
If you are interested, I am happy to help this person who is looking for more solutions. I am booked at the moment, but happy to give some good advise on room or anything. That is what we are here for right?-:)
Hey Clif.. I see you were a fellow trumpet player.. Read your bio. Impressive stuff man! We probably know a fair amount fo the same people-:)
Good luck
G
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  #7  
Old 09-15-2020, 11:20 AM
MeritlessThoughts MeritlessThoughts is offline
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Default Re: Exporting a 5.1 mix

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Breen View Post
Well, I wouldn't do *that* ^^^
In general it's a bad idea to send identical material from the fronts to the rears, and unless you know what you're doing and are working on a tried and tested, well calibrated system you're asking for trouble.

I do think it's reasonable on a budget project to generate a simple 5.1 from your existing stereo stems - yes, dialog could be placed center, and one could conceivably upmix the stereo music (and *maybe* fx) to the rears with some judicious dsp, but again, one needs to know what one's listening for. I'd hire an experienced post mixer to take what you've got and re-purpose for 5.1 - shouldn't be that big a deal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by c-tone View Post
The filmmaker isn't really right. It is not about exporting, as others have replied above. If it was mixed in stereo, then it needs to be remixed for 5.1, otherwise it isn't really 5.1.

You have been given correct information in the replies from audio engineers above. You need a professional audio engineer to do this for you if you want it done properly.

There are two ways to approach it:

1) for best quality, the entire movie should be remixed in 5.1 starting with all of the separate source files that were used to create the stereo mixes. Yes, it will take longer and cost more, but it will be a proper 5.1 mix.

2) Take your existing stereo mix files and remix (and possibly upmix) those into a 5.1 mix (As suggested in post #3). This will be cheaper and faster, but generally not as good as option 1.
The upmixing is probably going to have to do the trick. The 5.1 mix will simply be contractual anyway, which will allow access to/interest from certain non-US companies. Very few streaming services at this point (at least those accessible to 99.8% of independent filmmakers, so excluding Netflix and Hulu) require or even play mixes back in 5.1. Yes, Amazon does play back in 5.1, but they won't reject a film because the sound mix is stereo only.

What kind of price range should I expect for an upmix from a sound mixer? I'm assuming using the stems will be what they use and they won't need or want the original project and source files?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gives
My experience now is that a lot of distribution hinges on really good mixes and also Dolby Atmos vs just 5.1.
There aren't any good distribution deals anymore. It's literally a matter of how do I get ripped off the least? If, as a filmmaker, you're getting checks for $200-300 on a single film, every few months, you're in the top 5%. The pandemic will only make the situation more stark as profit margins further shrink (with DVD/Blu-Ray sales already in the toilet for anything that doesn't come with a cape or a spaceship and cable sales totally thinned out by the preponderance of both material and the number of channels) and even the mid-level companies will be forced to start "adjusting" their pay-outs until they reach a non-existent level.
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  #8  
Old 09-15-2020, 12:21 PM
MeritlessThoughts MeritlessThoughts is offline
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Default Re: Exporting a 5.1 mix

Duplicate post... Sorry

Last edited by MeritlessThoughts; 09-15-2020 at 01:54 PM. Reason: Duplicate post... Sorry. Feel free to delete it.
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  #9  
Old 09-15-2020, 05:21 PM
off the wall's Avatar
off the wall off the wall is offline
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Default Re: Exporting a 5.1 mix

There is no “Exporting” a 5.1 mix. It must be “mixed” in 5.1. It will take at least as much time as the original mix did.
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  #10  
Old 09-15-2020, 07:33 PM
gives's Avatar
gives gives is offline
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Default Re: Exporting a 5.1 mix

Quote:
Originally Posted by MeritlessThoughts View Post
The upmixing is probably going to have to do the trick. The 5.1 mix will simply be contractual anyway, which will allow access to/interest from certain non-US companies. Very few streaming services at this point (at least those accessible to 99.8% of independent filmmakers, so excluding Netflix and Hulu) require or even play mixes back in 5.1. Yes, Amazon does play back in 5.1, but they won't reject a film because the sound mix is stereo only.

What kind of price range should I expect for an upmix from a sound mixer? I'm assuming using the stems will be what they use and they won't need or want the original project and source files?



There aren't any good distribution deals anymore. It's literally a matter of how do I get ripped off the least? If, as a filmmaker, you're getting checks for $200-300 on a single film, every few months, you're in the top 5%. The pandemic will only make the situation more stark as profit margins further shrink (with DVD/Blu-Ray sales already in the toilet for anything that doesn't come with a cape or a spaceship and cable sales totally thinned out by the preponderance of both material and the number of channels) and even the mid-level companies will be forced to start "adjusting" their pay-outs until they reach a non-existent level.
Well OK. My main point was not about distribution anyway, but was an example. I know a lot of them suck. The Lawyers do the deals and you need a good one. Most filmmakers are the last to get paid. It's all about getting more films made right. That is most peoples plan. Not to recoup expenses. That is a non-starter IMHO. If that is your goal, then probably the film business is not a good one. Angel Investor maybe? I have made good dough on Lifetime deals. on features I scored, so that does not suck for me as a BMI artist. Look for a distributor who will make the following deal with you:

1. license all rights to your film, including VOD, TV, theatrical, DVD, and any other medium, in every territory in the world (including US and all international territories), have all rights to market and sell your film in any medium through the whole world, for a limited period of time (say, 3-5 years), after which the rights revert back to you, and their services end. You will only have to deal with one company that will market and sell your film in all aspects. Only one middle-man will be taking a slice of the pie. And they don’t keep your film forever, only a limited period of time.

2..Make an explosive trailer. Your trailer is your film’s calling card.
Independent feature films live or die by their trailers and cover art – especially indie films with no name talent involved. Then you are ready to contact distributors and Be mindful of who you are contacting. Do a bit of research before you send your trailer off to a distribution company. Don't send it to someone who is not in the genre of the movie. Waste of time. A Simple concise email is best. Don't ramble on. they are like lawyers.. They want things concise. no Novella-Length emails..LOL

If you get an offer, a distributor can change their mind at any time if they decide to go another way. A good distributor will usually put a time limit on their offer to encourage you to take their deal and save time in the deal process, i.e. negotiations.

3. Who gets what? The smaller slice the distributor takes, the more you get. These percentages can range from 15-20% (going to the distributor) for a great deal but are often higher. understand you may want to negotiate with the distributor to get a better deal. You have to balance that against (unfortunately) the potential of pushing them away. However, if you think the deal doesn’t fit your (realistic) goals, don’t be afraid to turn deals down.
Many film distributors will skim a certain dollar amount off the top of what the film makes. As part of the deal, they may have a ‘marketing cap’ of say, $10k. Anything the film makes goes to the distributor until they hit that cap.

4. Here is MY BEST advice: Get a second opinion. As indie filmmakers, we can’t always afford to speak with an attorney. However, you should feel free to at least contact one or two and ask how much it’d cost to just get their opinion on the deal. A film & entertainment law attorney will have experience with distribution deals and will know what’s normal.

5. Delivering the film
The distributor is going to ask you to provide a long laundry list of items so that they can properly sell your film. Some of this is technical stuff, such as exports of the film, the audio, and things of that nature. Some of it is legal, such as contracts, releases, and other paperwork. Together, the items the distributor requires from you in order to start selling your film are called deliverables, and they are very important. This is what I was talking about earlier..

6. Here are some of the major things your distributor will ask for from you:
Chain of Title: a paper trail proving that you are the rightful owner of something. Your film’s chain of title will prove that you have all the rights, permissions, and licenses to legally license your film to the distributor, who can then legally go out there and sell it to people. I have had a nightmare with people I worked for that lied about who owned what years back and it got messy with how to finish the film.

7.Releases. Crew, cast, and location releases, music license documents, certificate of authorship or licensing for the screenplay and any material it’s based on, ownership documents for the film itself, such as partnership agreements from producers, and anything else proving you have total rights to do what you want with the film.
8. A high-quality HD or 4k (if you have it) export of the film. The distributor will provide technical specifications as to what they want. They will send your film off to a lab which will analyze the film for issues that will need fixing in order to optimize it for different platforms and regions. You will most likely have to make some adjustments and provide a new export, after the lab provides their report.

9. Music and effects track (M&E track). The ‘M&E’ track, as it’s referred to, is an audio track that contains all synced, non-dialogue sound and music from your film. Scrapes, scuffles, bangs, whistles, explosions, and your epic soundtrack… everything except your characters’ dialogue, grunts, yells, and so on. The purpose of this track is to make it possible for various sellers to have your film dubbed if they want. They can simply put in the dubbed dialogue, yells, screams, and cries over your music and effects track.
Creating an M&E track can be HARD if you had a LOWudio budget. A lot of your normal sounds will overlap with dialogue in your boom recording. Once you take out your boom audio, you lose the dialogue but also lose everything else. This is one purpose of Foley. If you can’t afford Foley, you may have to do some yourself, inserting at least major sounds in the scene, so that the lab will accept your M&E track. Pre-built foley and sound effects packs are great for this.

10. Music cue sheet. This sheet will contain a list of titles and timecodes for all music, including original score, that play in your film. It lists who made the music, who holds the arrangement, recording, and performance rights for the music, the title of each song, how much of each song is in the film, and where it plays.

11. Dialogue list. This is a word-for-word, verbatim transcript of what is said in your film. The dialogue list makes it easier for domestic and international sellers to have your film’s dialogue translated, dubbed or subtitled. There are companies out there that provide transcription services for this purpose, and it can cost anywhere from $300-500. For my first feature film, my partner and I opted to do this time-consuming task ourselves and save some money.

12. Extras. If you have any bloopers, cast and crew interviews, behind the scenes, or any other extras,
your distributor will ask for these as well.

13. Paying You are going to have to pay for a couple of things, unless your distributor works out a deal where they pay. Some people don't have this kind of deal for their first feature, but it is possible.
Errors and Omissions insurance. Remember the chain of title? Well, like chain of title, errors and ommissions insurance (commonly known as E&O) protects you, the film distributor, and others from liability in the event you missed some vital permission or failed to request rights to something, and someone decides to pursue your film legally (sue you/your company). Any distributor is going to require that your E&O insurance cover the duration of your film distribution deal. E&O insurance will likely cost you something in the range of $2,000-$3,000. This will vary based on your film and the insurance provider.
Lab costs. The lab that examines your film doesn’t do it for free. I believe our lab fees cost us in the range of $500 or so, but this likely varies from lab-to-lab.
There are no guarantees, but you should always give it your best shot. The better your film, the more (and better) offers you will receive!
Then there is torrent of your film online, but that is the nature of the world we live in. Another reason to make it really good so people will watch it in the best quality.


You still need to do a decent mix IMHO. Been doing this a long time. I don't think just doing an upmix is the best way. Depending on what you have for material. If you just doing a dialogue, music and minimal SFX, then maybe, but anything else, it will not be all that good for the film. Ex. Sounds that need to move around. The whole idea of surround is to have an experience that is exciting and creative. These days, we seem to have lost the craft in music, story, and everything else when we sacrifice, because we did not budget properly.
One way to find out is just do an up mix and screen it somewhere or get it into a festival. Another good way to get feedback on everything-:).

Best of luck!!
G
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