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idris
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#1
6th February 2013
Old 6th February 2013
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Tracklaying for other people

Any tips on tracklaying etc for docos for cinema?

I've done loads for TV where I just did everything (VO/edit/mix) but am not used to handing docos on to another dubbing mixer. As I may have developed my own idiosyncrasies, does anyone have any tips on usual track layout, stereo/surround beds, dynamics processing, usual working practice etc?
#2
6th February 2013
Old 6th February 2013
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Matt R. Sherman
 
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Best advice: Communicate with the mixer or facility that will mix it.
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6th February 2013
Old 6th February 2013
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SEPARATE MATERIALS: make sure SFX, DIAG, MUSIC are properly separated on different stems or track groups

BALANCE BUT DON'T OVER MIX: Do a rough mix with not a lot of automation moves. Having a LOT of automation delivered on initial tracks can be a problem at times. Just do a simple easy rough that puts time in the "pocket".

DOCUMENT EVERYTHING: Make sure every sound in properly named and Provide an electronic cue sheet. ( Ex: don't leave SFX001_ajfioe_34f_rock as the names of files)

PROVIDE ORIGINAL MATERIAL: Provide original dialogue on extra Dialogue tracks that are named as ORIGINAL DIALOGUE xxx and turned off/hidden
Do this for music as well. If you do a lot of effect work and print it on any important sound effects, provide the original sound as well on properly named and hidden tracks. Send any OMF's along in the material as well.

CONTACT: call the Mixer and find out what they what and how they like to work. leave a document with the material with your NAME, EMAIL and PHONE NUMBER. Provide a breakdown document stating how the session or sessions were set up (Is this a super session, is each reel a session, what is the sample rate, bit depth, time code, file types (WAV, AIFF etc)

cheers
geo
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6th February 2013
Old 6th February 2013
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Definitely call ahead as every mixer will be different. I like to mix in my own mix template, so having someone else's dumped on you in a tight turnaround is not the way to go. I also hate it when other people do the dialogues for me, and i usually change everything as it's either too hot, too compressed or EQd differently to how i'd do it etc etc. I prefer track lay time being spend cleaning up edits and laying sfx.
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6th February 2013
Old 6th February 2013
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All good advice, and I would add this:

Use a simple, no-brainer logical premise to organize the tracks and then stay consistent to it as much as possible. Nothing should be random or unpredictable. A mixer should be able to quickly grasp the logic and be able to figure out where to find things.

Also, keep the track labels short and simple and try to keep the same template for all reels if possible.
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6th February 2013
Old 6th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgia View Post
...
DOCUMENT EVERYTHING: Make sure every sound in properly named and Provide an electronic cue sheet. ( Ex: don't leave SFX001_ajfioe_34f_rock as the names of files)
...
Wow really? Is this a doc thing only or common across genres?? (I don't do docs so not sure). Maybe I'm misunderstanding but that seems like a lot of work to go through renaming files?
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6th February 2013
Old 6th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D'Animation View Post
Wow really? Is this a doc thing only or common across genres?? (I don't do docs so not sure). Maybe I'm misunderstanding but that seems like a lot of work to go through renaming files?
I consolidate and rename every single foley file, but usually leave the library SFX with their original filenames, unless they are non-helpful (like in Georgias example), or have long file names. I will usually rename backgrounds and sfx so as to look like 'Wind-Forest1.wav', leaving out all the unnecessary details, like where and when it was recorded, etc.

It's not a lot of work if you do it as you go.
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6th February 2013
Old 6th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danijel View Post
I consolidate and rename every single foley file, but usually leave the library SFX with their original filenames, unless they are non-helpful (like in Georgias example), or have long file names. I will usually rename backgrounds and sfx so as to look like 'Wind-Forest1.wav', leaving out all the unnecessary details, like where and when it was recorded, etc.

It's not a lot of work if you do it as you go.
I do the same with foley alright instead of looking at a heavily edited track but I guess I never really take notice of filenames on hard fx much as I do lots of little groups with VCA's over each so its usually quite obvious. Plus I edit and mix so I kinda know what everything is anyway.

Backgrounds I always find tricky with filenames as the names can be so generic that it usually does no justice to what the file actually is without auditioning it.

Good to know though
Thanks
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6th February 2013
Old 6th February 2013
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Oh, shure, i don't bother renaming things for myself too
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6th February 2013
Old 6th February 2013
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#11
7th February 2013
Old 7th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgia View Post
its not that big a deal to provide good solid documentation include a cue sheet. You can use something as simple as AGENT ORANGE but dumping the protool session to a data fileand importing into agent orange.

agent-orange - Print Dubbing Cuesheets using Text Files - Google Project Hosting

cheers
geo
+1

Agent Orange is an excellent app that really saves time and energy. It's hard to believe it's available for free, but one can always make a donation.
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8th February 2013
Old 8th February 2013
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If you are being asked to tracklay for a doc that you aren't mixing then chances are it's going to a full up dubstage. Since it is a doc, it is also very likely that time on the stage will be very short, doc budgets being what they usually are, so besides just communicating with the mixers about what they want, really put yourself in their shoes and think about how to avoid confusion and make things as fast and accessible as you can, without overburdening them with extras they won't use. When I've done this I've had the director in to listen through what I've done with the idea that changes can be made at the dubstage and that the balances will certainly change, but that the general shape of things and maybe even most of the specifics have been bought in my room where we have the luxury of changing our minds without killing their budget. This all is 2X true of you won't be there in person to help find things etc..

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8th February 2013
Old 8th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgia View Post
DOCUMENT EVERYTHING: Make sure every sound in properly named and Provide an electronic cue sheet. ( Ex: don't leave SFX001_ajfioe_34f_rock as the names of files)

cheers
geo
I too am curious about this one. Not once have I encountered the above. Not that I wouldn't find it very helpful myself when receiving a set of tracks, but I've never been asked for this. Renaming each region is pretty time consuming.

How often do you do or encounter this?
idris
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14th February 2013
Old 14th February 2013
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Thanks for all the tips. (And sorry for my slow follow up.)
Thankfully not much that surprised me.

I've had smaller jobs passed to me in the past and thought "what on earth were they thinking?" but it's good to know I was planning in the right ball park.

I've spoken to the dubbing mixer, but he really wasn't particularly helpful (and it's a long story as to why). It could be politically useful to "impress" him a little, but even if I do it may count for nothing anyway.

I'll have a look at Agent Orange. It's not something I've come across, but sounds like a useful tool.
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14th February 2013
Old 14th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idris View Post
Thanks for all the tips. (And sorry for my slow follow up.)
Thankfully not much that surprised me.

I've had smaller jobs passed to me in the past and thought "what on earth were they thinking?" but it's good to know I was planning in the right ball park.

I've spoken to the dubbing mixer, but he really wasn't particularly helpful (and it's a long story as to why). It could be politically useful to "impress" him a little, but even if I do it may count for nothing anyway.

I'll have a look at Agent Orange. It's not something I've come across, but sounds like a useful tool.
I think it's always worth "making an impression". Even if it doesn't seem like it will directly lead to anything. Who knows, right?
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