• 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
• The first soundtrack edited on a digital
• 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
• In order to build up sound convincingly,
Murch recognized that you need to add
enough sounds to add meaning and help tell
• But when enough sounds get added
together, it can produce white noise,
reducing the clarity of all the sounds.
• 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.
4.Small arms fire (AK47’s and M16’s)
5.Explosions (mortars, grenades, heavy
6.Footsteps and other foley
Elements of the scene
1.Dialogue(“I’m not going! I’m not going!”)
What we Hear
• For this scene, the music is sacrificed in
order to give priority to the dialog (“I’m
• 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).
• Murch also recognized the differences
between sounds can affect how they are
• He conceived a spectrum of sounds that
corresponds to visible light.
• At one end, you have Encoded sound:
• At the other end, you have Embodied
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
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.
Questions for the week
(that may or may not be on the quiz)
• 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.
• Generally speaking, when is the best
time to add effects processing?
• If you're applying multiple effects to
a track, the _____ in which you use
them can make a major difference.
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
• List 3 things that will affect the way
your audience will hear your
• What are we talking about when we
discuss “the mix” or the act of
What is a predub (also known as a stem)?
• In the context of mixing, what is
• 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
• Do we pan dialog?
• No, we keep dialog in the center with
• When adding tracks together, how do we
keep the sum of their volumes from
• 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.
• What is the difference between touch mode
and latch mode in automation?
• 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
• Before submitting a mix to a client,
sit down and ______ to it.