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Where to put B-roll audio
Old 3rd May 2019
Lives for gear

Where to put B-roll audio

Hey, all. Just wondering what the norm is for associating B-roll audio in the mix layout. I always find it a little confusing, since it's really more nat sound than dialogue, even though it frequently contains people talking—including people who also have genuine dialogue. Do you group it into the FX stem, or does it get its own stem?
Old 3rd May 2019
Gear Addict
Leverson's Avatar
If there is discernible dialogue in it I put it in the dialogue tracks, if not then I put it in the production FX tracks.

If I'm working on a documentary I often group my dialogue tracks by:
Interviews (like sit-down interviews or controlled environments)
Verite Dialogue
Archival Dialogue

So in that structure b-roll with talking would go on my verite dialogue tracks

b-roll with no talking would go on my PFX tracks.

I have the same plugin chains on my PFX tracks that I do on my dialogue tracks, so that I can easily split PFX or dialogue back and forth without it feeling jumpy in how it sounds.

If for any reason I need to further split out my DX tracks I'll add another group for BG dialogue or loop group dialogue or sometimes special effect dialogue, (don't often need these last few for documentaries though), whatever the project calls for organizationally

Hope this helps.
Old 3rd May 2019
Lives for gear

Thanks, Leverson, that's very informative. I do put B-roll that's strictly environmental on the PFX tracks, but I often get B-roll that contains light dialogue that is meant to be heard but way under interviews or voiceovers. I would assume you'd never include anything like that as part of a single dialogue stem, since that would corrupt the otherwise clean dialogue track. Would you create a separate dialogue stem for such tracks?
Old 3rd May 2019
Gear Maniac

In the end it depends on what the deliverables call Leverson I tend to split the dialog (interviews, voxpops, b-roll), so it’s easy to route it to whichever stem makes more sense. If the client is only requesting VO, dx, fx and mx to be split, I’d route b-roll dialogue to the fx stem to maintain clean interviews unless otherwise directed.
Old 3rd May 2019
Lives for gear

Makes sense, thanks.
Old 3rd May 2019
Gear Addict
Leverson's Avatar
It depends on what the client wants, what the specs call for, and/or what it will be ultimately used for. If it's non-discernible dialogue then to the FX tracks it goes. If it's discernible dialogue but meant to be played under the VO or interview dialogue that is trickier. If I know what the plan is for the film or what the next steps are downstream I'll ask them and see what they want me to do. Sometimes it's good to split that out as an Optional DX stem (usually what I do in doubt) so it doesn't muddy the other dialogue on top of it, sometimes I keep them all together because dialogue is dialogue and the film isn't planning on being redubbed only subtitled.

Beware of putting discernible dialogue on FX tracks as you might get flagged by overzealous QC departments and failed for having recognizable dialogue outside of the dialogue stem. It's frustrating because sometimes it makes more useable sense to have it on other stems from a logical standpoint, but QC often can be pretty rigid and quick to flag everything.
Old 4th May 2019
Lives for gear

All good points, and noted. Thanks again.
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