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  #1  
Old 02-16-2005, 08:24 AM
anders anders is offline
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Default Track Breakdown for Docs

What isstandard for breaking down tracks for documentaries in prep for a mix? Music and voice over are pretty straight forward, but I'm referring particularly to tracks or clips which have dialog as well as a fair amout of the ambiant and I suppose you could say production effects. Would a clip be split so the dialog, fx, and/or ambs could go to their appropriate tracks? Or are clips generally kept intact? I know there may not be hard, fast rules but I would just like to make the mix go as easy as possible.

thanks.
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  #2  
Old 02-16-2005, 08:51 AM
cmaynes cmaynes is offline
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Default Re: Track Breakdown for Docs

You did not mention if the tracks are coming from the sound editorial dept, or the picture editor.

If they are from sound editorial, hopefully things will be sensible from the start- If you are doing the mix on a single PT system, the tracks will likely need to be merged into a dubbing session. after that is accomplished, you can either set the outputs according to the output requirement, or preferrably set up a stem arrangement which makes sense- for a documentary, I would have a dialog stem (with separate tracks for production dia, production FX, ADR and Narration). FX stem (edited sound effects, foley and BG's) and a Music stem- when you are doing the the work all of these stems would be routed to your speakers of course. The advantage of this route is that the client will end up with a fair amount of latitude if future release requirements present themselves, such as foreign versions or tv versions where the death metal song "Satan wants to burn your babies" just won't do.

If the sound is being prepared by the picture editor: If there is time, you will likely want to reorganize the tracks. Due to the limitations of sound playback on most picture editing systems, this will prevent the need to change bussing, etc in the middle of the project- Most picture editors have 8 tracks of playback for EVERYTHING) you do not share this limitation, you have the voices- use them.

You can pretty much follow the previous suggestions about track layout for these purposes. Do not be surprised when you see AVID or FCPro audio tracks- the editor probably just put stuff where-ever there was space.

Depending on the length of the project, this could take a little bit of time, (which is billable). Point out though, that the actual mix will be greatly sped up by the investment at the beginning.

good luck-

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  #3  
Old 02-16-2005, 09:32 AM
anders anders is offline
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Default Re: Track Breakdown for Docs

Thanks Charles.

The tracks came from an Avid via OMF. The editor did separate dialog/production, voice over, and music. It is a fairly simple 27min show for television.

I suppose my specific question is this; if there is a clip which has an individual walking, he begins talking to to camera, he then unlocks and opens a door, walks through this door, and then continues walking and talking. Cam following his the time ofcourse

In a doc for television, where there likely will be little natural sound enhancement through foley and additional fx, does it make sense to split a clip such as this, putting the door sounds and footsteps (where there is no voice) on a production fx track. I'm just thinking in terms of making the mix go more smoothly for the mixer.
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Old 02-16-2005, 09:43 AM
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TVPostSound TVPostSound is offline
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Default Re: Track Breakdown for Docs

You can keep those tracks intact, make sure that the video editor gave you enough b-roll sound (on seperate tracks of course) and handles to segway between on-camera clips, music, voice-over, and the b-roll itself.

Im assuming this is a video based documentary (ala A&E/Travel/Biography/Discovery channel), not a film.
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Old 02-16-2005, 03:12 PM
anders anders is offline
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Default Re: Track Breakdown for Docs

Thanks for the advice. Yes this is a doc for television.

One other question;

the majority of shots are in a gymnasium. The was a lav on the person speaking and a boom getting the speaking but ofcourse the room as well. In most cases on the boom track the voice is primarily very indirect sounding along with the sounds of action in the gym. Lav track is good.

In terms of track breakdown, is it wise to put the lav on a dialog track, and the boom on a production fx track(SOT) track? These tracks will likely be left in, at perhaps a level lower than the lav counterpart. or would it go on a second dialog track becuase it does have dialog in it.

My concern here is laying out the tracks for a smooth mix.

thanks again
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  #6  
Old 02-20-2005, 02:41 PM
Ric Ric is offline
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Default Re: Track Breakdown for Docs

That's always the question I ask the Production Supervisor, because the answer is always different.
This is the way I usually lay out my stems(to DA88);

Trk#1 - Narrator/VO
Trk#2 - Sync DIA (anybody talking to the viewer/looking towards camera)
Trk#3&4 - Stereo Music
Trk#5&6 - Stereo FX, Amb. & Sync BG sound (which might include dia.)
Trk#7&8 - Full Mix

If you don't require a Full Mix on the DA88, than use tracks 7&8 for things like;
Trk#7 - BG Sync Dia. (Sync that contains Dia. other than "interviews")
Trk#8 - BG Sync (this could be what was mixed in with SFX & amb.)
Sometimes I run a second DA88 that would contain a mix and also a M&E.

The question is how much control you need to supply the person doing the foreign language versions.
From past experiences, I find they usually do a UN style mix on things like interviews.....
Than any other English if it is important, is usually "sub-titled".

But there is so many veriables, it's just best to ask the people in charge what they need.
Hope this helps.
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  #7  
Old 02-21-2005, 11:30 AM
anders anders is offline
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Default Re: Track Breakdown for Docs

Thanks for the reply Ric. Actually what I was looking for was the best way to break-down the tracks in prep for a mix. The stem lay-out will be taken care of by the mixer.

I've gotten a couple answers to the question, but as there really is no one way of doing things I'd be interested in hearing your's as well as anybody else's two cents.

My main question is how to go about breaking up the production tracks from the OMF. As it is a doc and there will be little foley and additional effects work, how should I deal with splitting the production tracks into dialog, production fx etc. The key here is to make it easiest for the mixer. I know this can be a bit of a judgement call which is why I invite all answers.

thanks
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  #8  
Old 02-21-2005, 11:49 AM
Richard Fairbanks Richard Fairbanks is offline
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Default Re: Track Breakdown for Docs

I thought Ric's and cmaynes answers were pretty comprehensive, considering that there is no one way to do things. I'm not quite sure what other information you are looking for. When I mix docs I like to break the production dialog into two main stems, to deal with possibilities like, as you mentioned, a guy is talking and then continues to walk with good effects sound. It is not unusual for a second production track to talk OVER the potentially good sound of the first production track. I split them into two production dialog stems, to give ultimate flexibility later. These are in addition to production effects (which are really just part of the effects), and straight VO. I keep them separated on a DA88 if at all possible. So, maybe split tracks with that in mind? Another tip, make sure you do not simply crossfade from one track to the other with identical material. Sometimes my effects path has slightly different processing delays than my dialog tracks. The same sound crossfading off of one track onto another may flange in the mixdown. You may need to use a bit of non-sync material at the crossfade point on one of the two tracks. If that all makes sense.

Related fun reading here
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  #9  
Old 02-21-2005, 12:40 PM
bigbadhenchman bigbadhenchman is offline
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Default Re: Track Breakdown for Docs

Quote:
Thanks for the reply Ric. Actually what I was looking for was the best way to break-down the tracks in prep for a mix. The stem lay-out will be taken care of by the mixer.

The key here is to make it easiest for the mixer. thanks
You really need to talk to the mixer.
It really is his call how he wants the track layout.

Also, you need to amke sure that wherever he is mixing, they can handle the tracks count etc.

Also, I wouldn't have any plug-ins on tracks, as this adds another problem of plug-in compatability.
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  #10  
Old 02-21-2005, 10:58 PM
anders anders is offline
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Default Re: Track Breakdown for Docs

Thanks all for the input. Richard thanks for the link to your website page. Helpful info.
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