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The Video Production Studio Process of Audio Post Production for a Great Viewer Experience

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Introduction

One of the first audio post production applications we can think of are the Three Stooges. They would film each scene then after the editing process, would incorporate Foley Arts, more commonly known as sound effects.  This would improve on the viewer experience by adding additional sounds to enhance the audio portion of the video. Today, audio post production has become one of the most important aspects to the video production process.

Sight and sound considerations

When we make a movie, the audio post production process is as important to a great viewer experience as the story itself. The same rule holds true when you are creating your business or marketing video. Whether you are making a big budget professional film, TV Commercial or a small independent film, the sound track is as important as the actors. Sound design is to a film like professional interior design is to a room. Your goal is to create a great viewer experience with sight as well as sound.

Professional audio post production is is the process of adding sound effects and music in addition to studio recorded dialogue to poorly recorded live dialogue.  Some film makers believe post production is video editing and computer graphics alone.  Primeau Productions believe shaping the audio to match what is happening on the screen is critical to making the full viewer experience work.

Automatic Dialogue Replacement

Audio post production processes includes Automatic Dialogue Replacement. ADR or “dubbing” as it is often referred to includes replacing location sound. Once the ADR is complete, sound effects, mixing and mastering, and music is added. You must make the film’s sound track genuine and carefully crafted to support the film and to enhance the overall experience.

Automatic dialogue replacement (ADR) is the process of replacing dialogue that was recorded while filming each scene. During the filming, it is often difficult to get clean, evenly balanced dialogue recorded. This is due to actors movement and unwanted background noises. When you record new dialogue in a post production studio, you add higher quality audio and allow yourself more control on how the dialogue will sound in the final film.

Automatic Dialogue Replacement Studio Set Up

Most studios will have a special vocal recording rooms set up with both a screen to play back scenes from the movie. Actors use headphones to hear what dialogue was recorded. They repeat the dialogue into a high-quality microphone to record the better quality dialogue.

The actor or actress will typically watch and listen to the scene a few times. This helps them to get a sense of pacing and tone for the dialogue. They will then recite the new dialogue with the scene as it visually plays back to match their original performance. It is key to record multiple takes so you have more to pick from in the final stages.

 

Studios also often have plugins that can warp the audio to more closely match the original. This is so that the new dialogue matches what we see on screen. In many movies, almost all the dialogue is replaced during the post production phase. This is done to make sure that every line is clean and clear. Though it takes time, it ensures that the final audio is free of any extraneous noise and other sound issues.

Sound Effects

Sound effects, also referred to as ‘Foley’, are added during audio post production match events and actions on screen. They enhance the overall viewer experience. Explosions, lasers, gun shots, and cars are often the first things we think about when it comes to sound effects. They are loud and present in the movie. But it is important to also pay attention to the subtle sounds too. Because ADR is often implemented, the original audio from the filming set with all the background sound is scrapped. Sounds like doors shutting, keys jingling, and even footsteps must be added during the post production phase. This makes a scene more genuine and authentic. While these seem like small details that go unnoticed, they can be glaringly apparent when missing from a movie.

The process of adding these sounds can be one of the most creative parts of audio post-production. Some sounds are re-recorded out in the field and then shaped in the studio to match the scene. Others are done in the studio in a process similar to recording ADR. The in-studio recording is done in a room where the engineers watch the scenes of the movie that need Foley (sound effects) added. The engineers will have various objects in the room to make the sounds and ‘play’ the objects along with the scene. Some sounds are made by recreating the same action.

Custom Foley

One famous sound when discussing Foley is the Star Wars blaster, which was created by striking a high-tension wire with a hammer. You can create sounds in audio post production then go through effects processing so they more closely match the action on screen.

Once the necessary dialogue and Foley has been recorded, the sound engineers mix everything together so it sounds balanced and crisp. Compress and equalize the dialogue so it sounds natural and consistent. Add reverb so that the voice matches the location in the movie. Though these may seem like subtle changes, they drastically affect the viewing experience. If the picture and sound do not match, viewers immediately tell that something is off.

Audio Post Production Formats

Your audio must also match current standards set in the film industry. 5.1 surround sound mixes are done differently than stereo, with the dialogue typically being the only sound on the center channel. Both mixes are often prepared for large releases. Standards for the level of film sound have also been set by various organizations. The International Telecommunications Union has one of the more global standards. Employ loudness meters during the final mixing phase to make sure the movie meets these standards.

Primeau Productions has experience with audio post production in the film and television commercial arena. We understand and accomodate the process.

Budgets for audio post production are set in advance and strictly followed. Time can be wasted on the post production process. Give our studios a call to discuss how we can help you design an award winning audio track or help enhance, repair and clarify your existing audio track .

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