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Splitting off PFX
Old 21st April 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Splitting off PFX

Hi all,

I was wondering if some mixers here would share their advice to sound editors who want to do a proper job of splitting off PFX. There is already some good information here at GS about when and why to do it, but I would love to hear more about HOW to do it, in a way that facilitates smooth mixing. Ya know, the technical nitty gritty. Are there things that inexperienced sound editors tend to do that annoy mixers?
Old 21st April 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 

To short fade in/outs.
Saving crap as pfx.
Not realizing that if footsteps are to be split to pfx they can't just start and end randomly. For them to be really useful they need to be filled and synced to the the same steps in the dialog track.
Understanding when noise is good and when it is bad.
Making sure they blend perfectly with the dialog tracks.

Just a few things. However,how to actually accomplish these things is not something that easily can be explained. It has to be developed over time with the experience of doing it both right and wrong.
Old 24th April 2019
  #3
I used to stress about this a lot too, but then realized I was just over thinking it.

The biggest critique I got when I started cutting on union TV shows was splitting off too much general movement into PFX. In my experience, the mixers usually like to see mostly transient stuff in there unless there’s movement/footsteps that really sound good and are a complete event like Erik mentioned above.

My way of thinking about it these days is if I start wondering whether or not something should get split into PFX, it more than likely shouldn’t. Still split it off to another dialogue track and backfill it. Especially if it’s something you think foley or fx can do better. If they really want it in PFX it can get moved over, and if they want to lose it it’s easy to get rid of.
Old 24th April 2019
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srheiss View Post
My way of thinking about it these days is if I start wondering whether or not something should get split into PFX, it more than likely shouldn’t. Still split it off to another dialogue track and backfill it. Especially if it’s something you think foley or fx can do better. If they really want it in PFX it can get moved over, and if they want to lose it it’s easy to get rid of.
So out of curiosity; what is it you feel is different between splitting off the sounds to pfx versus leaving it on a dialog track but 'isolated'? Technically it would seem it'd be close to the same except ending up on a different stem, so why not place it on pfx if you're already splitting it out?

I don't really set things up for other engineers that often so that's why I'm wondering.
Old 24th April 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 

It makes filling the M&E a bit easier.

Randall


Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
So out of curiosity; what is it you feel is different between splitting off the sounds to pfx versus leaving it on a dialog track but 'isolated'? Technically it would seem it'd be close to the same except ending up on a different stem, so why not place it on pfx if you're already splitting it out?

I don't really set things up for other engineers that often so that's why I'm wondering.
Old 25th April 2019
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
So out of curiosity; what is it you feel is different between splitting off the sounds to pfx versus leaving it on a dialog track but 'isolated'? Technically it would seem it'd be close to the same except ending up on a different stem, so why not place it on pfx if you're already splitting it out?

I don't really set things up for other engineers that often so that's why I'm wondering.
I was just referring to the stuff I don’t think they would want in PFX but still might want to be played in the mix. Splitting it out to another dialogue track just gives more options. It’s easy to broom it if foley or FX do better without it. Also if they really want it to be in the M&E it’s easy to ship it over too.
Old 2nd May 2019
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Thank you all for your input!
Old 6th May 2019
  #8
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Mister_T's Avatar
 

One more log on the fire. As a mixer I prefer PFX split in the following cases:

1. Anything with enough spike to raise above the normal peak level of the dialog (slaps, thumps, knocks, bumps, clomps, doors, claps, hits, pats, dishes etc.)
2. Anything questionable (props that sound fake, cloth movement that is out of place but may be useful at a much lower volume than the main dialog, etc.)
3. Stuff from inserts that is 100% free and clear of dialog (phone sounds, blanks firing, pencil taps, etc.)

For transient sounds you can get by with short fade ins and envelope out after the sound has finished (make sure you fill the hole created in the main DX track). Makes it easy to clip gain down so those plate clangs aren't piercing my ears at 90dB when I start a predub. Also, huge caveat, if splitting it to PFX makes anything sound weird, don't do it. I would rather have to use Foley than deal with clipped breaths or s sounds in the predub from overzealous PFX splitting.

Also gonna throw this curveball - sometimes I like questionable mouth clicks to be split off to adjacent tracks. Not all mouth clicks are bad, and the ones that are in that grey area IMO should be saved but easy to mute/unmute during a mix.
Old 10th May 2019
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Thanks, Tom!

(mouth clicks... whoa, that IS a curve ball.)
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