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Sunday, May 22, 2011

How to Edit a Feature in 19 Days: Put a Ring on it – Day 15


So today I need to do a few things.
  1. I need to do up a cue sheet for the composer. List all the points I think the piece needs music.
  2. Continue sound design.

Which leads me to my next subject: Doing sound design in Final Cut Pro.

Some will scoff, but when you have to put out a feature fast, one the easiest and most efficient ways is right in FCP.
Here are the steps I take.
  1. Usually my dialog tracks start out mono. Keeps things easier to move around while editing. So, I’ll start by stereo pairing all the main audio tracks. If I’m in a hurry, which I am on this feature. I’ll also start to set the levels. Dialog should usually be between -15 and -8db’s. Of course a good rule of thumb is, if it sounds good, keep it. Find and place all ambient sound. Room tone. Car engines. Source music, ect.
  2. Do any needed dialog editing. Cross-fades, place dialog sourced room tone over any dead spots.
  3. Place hard fx. Phone rings. Fight folly. Anything other than general folly. I typically keep my fx mono. this way I can place them easier in space. This may be a faux pas, but hey, that's me.
  4. Mix levels on all the above. Make sure nothing overpowers. Again, I usually use my 50% audio rule. Besides watching the levels. I also listen with the volume on the speakers and computer set to exactly 50%. I’ve used this method for years. I figure if everything is fairly clear at 50%, but not overpowering, it’s a good place to be.
  5. If I have time, I’ll export a DVD and watch on 2 different TV sets. Listening for any inconstancies. It should play ok on different set ups.

That’s it. If I have more time and money, I’d either hire out a sound designer and mixer. As long as I’m doing it myself, I’ll use what I know.

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