Week5-6 mixing, density and flow


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Week5-6 mixing, density and flow

  1. 1. Walter Murch: Layering Sound Layering Sound
  2. 2. Walter Murch • Walter Murch is one of the original masters of post-production audio. • He has worked with Coppola on the Godfather films and is best known for his work on Apocalypse Now for which he won an Academy Award. • He is credited with coining the term Sound Design.
  3. 3. Apocalypse Now • The first soundtrack edited on a digital system. • Incredibly dense soundtrack involving 170 tracks or more at times. • The sound mix took over 9 months to complete, with a staff of around 25 people contributing.
  4. 4. Apocalypse Now • In order to build up sound convincingly, Murch recognized that you need to add enough sounds to add meaning and help tell the story. • But when enough sounds get added together, it can produce white noise, reducing the clarity of all the sounds.
  5. 5. Apocalypse Now • Murch discovered that he could layer sounds by grouping conceptually similar sounds into what he describes as layers. • When these layers are mixed up to 5 deep, (5 different layers of sound), it is possible to maintain the clarity of the track. • Once you go beyond 5 layers, the mix will collapse into noise.
  6. 6. Apocalypse Now
  7. 7. Apocalypse Now 1.Dialogue 2.Helicopters 3.Music 4.Small arms fire (AK47’s and M16’s) 5.Explosions (mortars, grenades, heavy artillery 6.Footsteps and other foley Elements of the scene
  8. 8. Apocalypse Now 1.Dialogue(“I’m not going! I’m not going!”) 2.OtherVoices 3.Helicopters 4.Gunfire 5.Mortar fire What we Hear
  9. 9. Apocalypse Now • For this scene, the music is sacrificed in order to give priority to the dialog (“I’m not going!”). • We don’t really miss the music, even though given the setup of the diegesis, it should be at its loudest (the music comes from the loudspeakers on the helicopter the boy is on).
  10. 10. Apocalypse Now • Murch also recognized the differences between sounds can affect how they are mixed together. • He conceived a spectrum of sounds that corresponds to visible light.
  11. 11. Apocalypse Now • At one end, you have Encoded sound: Speech. • At the other end, you have Embodied sound: Music
  12. 12. Apocalypse Now
  13. 13. Pacing and Flow • Just because you can have up to 5 layers of audio going does not mean you always need to have that kind of density. • There are moments of intensity that call for these moments of enhanced information to stimulate the viewer and keep them in the scene.
  14. 14. Pacing and Flow • If you maintain that pacing, you will exhaust your viewer and cause them to lose focus. • When watching your clips, watch a few times just to take note of what the energy level being conveyed should be. • It helps to keep a visual note of this energy to refer back to later.
  15. 15. Pacing and Flow
  16. 16. Questions for the week (that may or may not be on the quiz)
  17. 17. • Somewhere, inside virtually any effects processor, the signal level has to get boosted. If it boosts things too high, the system will _______ by adding fuzziness to an analog signal, or crackling to a digital one.
  18. 18. • Generally speaking, when is the best time to add effects processing?
  19. 19. • If you're applying multiple effects to a track, the _____ in which you use them can make a major difference.
  20. 20. • What does an EQ do?
  21. 21. • When talking about equalization, what is Q?
  22. 22. • Do graphic equalizers have an adjustable Q?
  23. 23. • As a general rule, don't raise any (EQ) control higher than ___dB...and remember that overlapping bands have their levels _____ together.
  24. 24. • What does a compressor do?
  25. 25. • What does a reverb do?
  26. 26. Chapter 16 – Processing • In general, it's most efficient to apply ___________ before compression rather than the other way around. • The compressor might be reacting to extreme high frequency or low freq. sounds that may not make it to the final mix.
  27. 27. The Mix • List 3 things that will affect the way your audience will hear your video/film/mix.
  28. 28. The Mix • What are we talking about when we discuss “the mix” or the act of mixing?
  29. 29. The Mix What is a predub (also known as a stem)?
  30. 30. The Mix • In the context of mixing, what is automation?
  31. 31. The Mix • At which stage of editing do you want to mix, as you place sounds in your project (editing), or after all sounds ahve been placed into the project?
  32. 32. The Mix • Do we pan dialog? • No, we keep dialog in the center with minor exceptions.
  33. 33. The Mix • When adding tracks together, how do we keep the sum of their volumes from distorting? • By keeping individual track volumes lower and keeping the master fader at unity (0dB). If you find yourself lowering the master fader often, you need to look at lowering track volumes.
  34. 34. The Mix • What is the difference between touch mode and latch mode in automation?
  35. 35. The Mix • When editing and dubbing for DV, set your test tone and nominal level (think of it as your average level) at ____ dBFS and your loudest peak at _____ dBFS.
  36. 36. The Mix • Before submitting a mix to a client, sit down and ______ to it.