A re-recording mixer in North America, also known as a dubbing mixer in Europe, is a post-production audio engineer who mixes recorded dialogue, sound effects and music to create the final version of a soundtrack for a feature film, television program, or television advertisement. The final mix must achieve a desired sonic balance between its various elements, and must match the director's or sound designer's original vision for the project. For material intended for broadcast, the final mix must also comply with all applicable laws governing sound mixing (e.g., the CALM Act in the United States and the EBU R128 loudness protocol in Europe).
Post-production is part of the process of filmmaking, video production, radio production and photography. Post-production includes all stages of production occurring after shooting or recording individual program segments.
An audio engineer helps to produce a recording or a live performance, balancing and adjusting sound sources using equalization and audio effects, mixing, reproduction, and reinforcement of sound. Audio engineers work on the "...technical aspect of recording—the placing of microphones, pre-amp knobs, the setting of levels. The physical recording of any project is done by an engineer ... the nuts and bolts." It's a creative hobby and profession where musical instruments and technology are used to produce sound for film, radio, television, music, and video games. Audio engineers also set up, sound check and do live sound mixing using a mixing console and a sound reinforcement system for music concerts, theatre, sports games and corporate events.
A soundtrack, also written sound track, can be recorded music accompanying and synchronized to the images of a motion picture, book, television program, or video game; a commercially released soundtrack album of music as featured in the soundtrack of a film, video, or television presentation; or the physical area of a film that contains the synchronized recorded sound.
The different names of this profession are both based on the fact that the mixer is not mixing a live performance to a live audience nor recording live on a set. That is, he or she is re-recording sound already recorded elsewhere (the basis of the North American name) after passing it through mixing equipment such as a digital audio workstation and may dub in additional sounds in the process (the basis of the European name). While mixing can be performed in a recording studio or home office, a full-size mixing stage or dubbing stage is used for feature films intended for release to movie theaters in order to help the mixer envision how the final mix will be heard in such large spaces.
Live sound mixing is the blending of multiple sound sources by an audio engineer using a mixing console or software. Sounds that are mixed include those from instruments and voices which are picked up by microphones and pre-recorded material, such as songs on CD or a digital audio player. Individual sources are typically equalised to adjust the bass and treble response and routed to effect processors to ultimately be amplified and reproduced via a loudspeaker system. The live sound engineer listens and balances the various audio sources in a way that best suits the needs of the event.
A production sound mixer, location sound recordist, location sound engineer or simply sound mixer is the member of a film crew or television crew responsible for recording all sound recording on set during the filmmaking or television production using professional audio equipment, for later inclusion in the finished product, or for reference to be used by the sound designer, sound effects editors, or foley artists. This requires choice and deployment of microphones, choice of recording media, and mixing of audio signals in real time.
A digital audio workstation (DAW) is an electronic device or application software used for recording, editing and producing audio files. DAWs come in a wide variety of configurations from a single software program on a laptop, to an integrated stand-alone unit, all the way to a highly complex configuration of numerous components controlled by a central computer. Regardless of configuration, modern DAWs have a central interface that allows the user to alter and mix multiple recordings and tracks into a final produced piece.
During production or earlier parts of post-production, sound editors, sound designers, sound engineers, production sound mixers and/or music editors assemble the tracks that become raw materials for the re-recording mixer to work with. Those tracks in turn originate with sounds created by professional musicians, singers, actors, or foley artists.
The first part of the traditional re-recording process is called the "premix." In the dialog premix the re-recording mixer does preliminary processing, including making initial loudness adjustments, cross-fading, and reducing environmental noise or spill that the on-set microphone picked up. In most instances, audio restoration software may be employed. For film or television productions, they may add a temporary/permanent music soundtrack that will have been prepared by the music editor, then the resulting work will be previewed by test audiences, and then the film or television program is re-cut and the soundtrack must be mixed again. Re-recording mixer may also augment or minimize audience reactions for television programs recorded in front of a studio audience. In some cases, a laugh track may augment these reactions.
In audio engineering, a fade is a gradual increase or decrease in the level of an audio signal. The term can also be used for film cinematography or theatre lighting in much the same way.
Spill is the occurrence in sound recording and live sound mixing whereby sound is picked up by a microphone from a source other than that which is intended. Spill is usually seen as a problem, and various steps are taken to avoid it or reduce it. In some styles of music, such as orchestral music, jazz, and blues, it is more likely to be accepted or even seen as desirable.
A laugh track is a separate soundtrack for a recorded comedy show containing the sound of audience laughter. In some productions, the laughter is a live audience response instead; in the United States, where it is most commonly used, the term usually implies artificial laughter made to be inserted into the show. This was invented by American sound engineer Charles "Charley" Douglass.
During the "final mix" the re-recording/dubbing mixers, guided by the director or producer, must make creative decisions from moment to moment in each scene about how loud each major sound element (dialog, sound effects, laugh track and music) should be relative to each other. They also modify individual sounds when desired by adjusting their loudness and spectral content and by adding artificial reverberation. They can insert sounds into a three-dimensional space of the listening environment for a variety of venues and release formats: movie theaters, home theater systems, etc. that have stereo and multi-channel (5.1, 7.1, etc.) surround sound systems. Today, films may be mixed in 'object-based' audio formats such as Dolby Atmos, which introduces a heightened atmosphere within the sound field with the introduction of ceiling speakers and the elimination of audio channels.
Dolby Atmos is the name of a surround sound technology by Dolby Laboratories that was introduced in June 2012 with the release of the animated film Brave. Following the release of Atmos for the cinema market, a variety of consumer technologies have been released under the Atmos brand. The full set of technical specifications for Dolby Digital Plus with Dolby Atmos are standardized and published in ETSI TS 103 420.
A sound effect is an artificially created or enhanced sound, or sound process used to emphasize artistic or other content of films, television shows, live performance, animation, video games, music, or other media. These are normally created with foley. In motion picture and television production, a sound effect is a sound recorded and presented to make a specific storytelling or creative point without the use of dialogue or music. The term often refers to a process applied to a recording, without necessarily referring to the recording itself. In professional motion picture and television production, dialogue, music, and sound effects recordings are treated as separate elements. Dialogue and music recordings are never referred to as sound effects, even though the processes applied to such as reverberation or flanging effects, often are called "sound effects".
In sound recording and reproduction, and sound reinforcement systems, a mixing console is an electronic device for combining sounds of many different audio signals. Inputs to the console include microphones being used by singers and for picking up acoustic instruments, signals from electric or electronic instruments, or recorded music. Depending on the type, a mixer is able to control analog or digital signals. The modified signals are summed to produce the combined output signals, which can then be broadcast, amplified through a sound reinforcement system or recorded.
Mastering, a form of audio post production, is the process of preparing and transferring recorded audio from a source containing the final mix to a data storage device, the source from which all copies will be produced. In recent years digital masters have become usual, although analog masters—such as audio tapes—are still being used by the manufacturing industry, particularly by a few engineers who specialize in analog mastering.
A sound editor is a creative professional responsible for selecting and assembling sound recordings in preparation for the final sound mixing or mastering of a television program, motion picture, video game, or any production involving recorded or synthetic sound. Sound editing developed out of the need to fix the incomplete, undramatic, or technically inferior sound recordings of early talkies, and over the decades has become a respected filmmaking craft, with sound editors implementing the aesthetic goals of motion picture sound design.
Sound design is the art and practice of creating sound tracks for a variety of needs. It involves specifying, acquiring or creating auditory elements using audio production techniques and tools. It is employed in a variety of disciplines including filmmaking, television production, video game development, theatre, sound recording and reproduction, live performance, sound art, post-production, radio and musical instrument development. Sound design commonly involves performing and editing of previously composed or recorded audio, such as sound effects and dialogue for the purposes of the medium. A sound designer is one who practices sound design.
The dialogue editor is a type of sound editor who assembles, synchronizes, and edits all the dialogue in a film or television production. Usually, they will use the production tracks: the sound that was recorded on the set. If any of the production tracks are unusable they can be replaced by either alternate production tracks recorded on set or by ADR, automated dialogue replacement, which is recorded after the shoot with the actors watching their performances in a sound studio and rerecording the lines. Large productions may have an ADR editor working under the dialogue editor, but the positions are often combined. The ADR editor or dialogue editor also work with the walla group in films which they are required, providing the background chatter noise in scenes with large crowds, such as parties or restaurants.
Re-recording is the process by which the audio track of a film or video production is created. As sound elements are mixed and combined together the process necessitates "re-recording" all of the audio elements, such as dialogue, music, sound effects, by the sound re-recording mixer(s) to achieve the desired end result, which is the final soundtrack that the audience hears when the finished film is played.
H. Sridhar was a sound engineer from India and known for his work with the Indian Musician A R Rahman.
Stem-mixing is a method of mixing audio material based on creating groups of audio tracks and processing them separately prior to combining them into a final master mix. Stems are also sometimes referred to as submixes, subgroups, or busses.
The Conch Awards recognise UK companies and individuals who have made outstanding contributions in the field of audio post production.
James Graham Stewart was an American pioneer in the field of sound recording and re-recording. His career spanned more than five decades (1928–1980), during which he made substantial contributions to the evolution of the art and science of film and television sound.
In sound recording and reproduction, audio mixing is the process of combining multitrack recordings into a final mono, stereo or surround sound product. In the process of combining the separate tracks, their relative levels are adjusted and balanced and various processes such as equalization and compression are commonly applied to individual tracks, groups of tracks, and the overall mix. In stereo and surround sound mixing, the placement of the tracks within the stereo field are adjusted and balanced. Audio mixing techniques and approaches vary widely and have a significant influence on the final product.
In audio production, a stem is a discrete or grouped collection of audio sources mixed together, usually by one person, to be dealt with downstream as one unit. A single stem may be delivered in mono, stereo, or in multiple tracks for surround sound.
Neil Martin George Hillman MPSE is a British television and feature film sound designer and editor, notable for his work on the Oscar-winning film Lincoln, New York I Love You and Grace of Monaco. Hillman was awarded the World Medal for Sound Design at the New York Festival for the film The 13th Day in 2010 and in November 2010 was awarded the Royal Television Society award for Best Production Craft Skills for Sound Design and Mixing on the film Handle With Care.