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Room Tone: Dialogue or Background?
Old 5th September 2007
  #1
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Room Tone: Dialogue or Background?

I'm working on a project and am now moving from dialogue editing to backgrounds, and realized I don't really know whether the room tones I'll be adding to fill in holes in some of the dialogue edits should be considered as part of the dialogue group or the background group.

Most scenes will have added background ambiences that will obviously be included in the M & E and frequently negate the need for room tone, but in some quiet scenes room tone may provide the only background. But since the level of the tone has to be ridden occasionally around the dialogue (which already includes room tone), it wouldn't make a lot of sense to include those moves in the M & E.

Is it standard to add room tone to the all-ADR foreign versions? If so, then the room tones would be included with the dialogue group. I'm obviously confused. What's the norm?
Old 5th September 2007
  #2
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charles maynes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmccoy View Post
I'm working on a project and am now moving from dialogue editing to backgrounds, and realized I don't really know whether the room tones I'll be adding to fill in holes in some of the dialogue edits should be considered as part of the dialogue group or the background group.

Most scenes will have added background ambiences that will obviously be included in the M & E and frequently negate the need for room tone, but in some quiet scenes room tone may provide the only background. But since the level of the tone has to be ridden occasionally around the dialogue (which already includes room tone), it wouldn't make a lot of sense to include those moves in the M & E.

Is it standard to add room tone to the all-ADR foreign versions? If so, then the room tones would be included with the dialogue group. I'm obviously confused. What's the norm?
I would err towards keeping it with the DIA, unless it is obviously library fill. For your M&E having fill available behind the DIA (but muted for your domestic) will making the versions go much faster on the stage.

Charles Maynes
Old 5th September 2007
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Room tone used to match production dial. or ADR , i call them patches , should stay on the dial. stem . For M+E it s too taste if it needs to be added to beef up the scene.
Old 6th September 2007
  #4
Gear Head
 

Room tone is generally used to fill in any gaps in the dialogue edit. As such, it doesn't really belong in the M&E mix.

If, on the other hand, you wish to use some of the production room tone
as an atmos track as well, then the atmos room tone would go to the M&E, and the dialogue room tone would not.

Be careful using the same room tone in the dialogue and atmos tracks, though. If they get too close to being in-phase, they could give you some grief in the mix.
Old 6th September 2007
  #5
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starcrash13's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Muir View Post
Room tone is generally used to fill in any gaps in the dialogue edit. As such, it doesn't really belong in the M&E mix.

If, on the other hand, you wish to use some of the production room tone
as an atmos track as well, then the atmos room tone would go to the M&E, and the dialogue room tone would not.

Be careful using the same room tone in the dialogue and atmos tracks, though. If they get too close to being in-phase, they could give you some grief in the mix.
I have to respectfully disagree with this. In my experience, the production room tone is used extensively in the foreigns to fill the gaps in production sound used i.e. production FX. The room tone should play smoothly through the entire scene and be included in the effects stem.

As for using the actual production room tone as an additional ambience for the domestic version, that is a very bad idea. Major phasey weirdness.

To answer the OP's question, in the domestic version put the room tone (fill) in the dialogue stem. For the foreigns M+E, it goes in the FX stem.
Old 6th September 2007
  #6
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charles maynes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by starcrash13 View Post
I have to respectfully disagree with this. In my experience, the production room tone is used extensively in the foreigns to fill the gaps in production sound used i.e. production FX. The room tone should play smoothly through the entire scene and be included in the effects stem.

As for using the actual production room tone as an additional ambience for the domestic version, that is a very bad idea. Major phasey weirdness.

To answer the OP's question, in the domestic version put the room tone (fill) in the dialogue stem. For the foreigns M+E, it goes in the FX stem.
If you have continuous fill WITH dialog, it should go on its own track though.


Charles Maynes
Old 6th September 2007
  #7
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by starcrash13 View Post
In my experience, the production room tone is used extensively in the foreigns to fill the gaps in production sound used i.e. production FX.
An excellent point.

As a bit of a digression, do you find that you usually keep production effects on the dialogue stem during the main mix? Or do you cut them into the effects stem, with an effect-specific layer of room tone? I ask because for the last few films I've cut I was able to replace the production effects with M&E foley coverage.
Old 6th September 2007
  #8
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starcrash13's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes View Post
If you have continuous fill WITH dialog, it should go on its own track though.


Charles Maynes
True.
Old 6th September 2007
  #9
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charles maynes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Muir View Post
An excellent point.

As a bit of a digression, do you find that you usually keep production effects on the dialogue stem during the main mix? Or do you cut them into the effects stem, with an effect-specific layer of room tone? I ask because for the last few films I've cut I was able to replace the production effects with M&E foley coverage.
It should live on a PFX stripe of your DIA predub typically.

Charles Maynes
Old 6th September 2007
  #10
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starcrash13's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Muir View Post
An excellent point.

As a bit of a digression, do you find that you usually keep production effects on the dialogue stem during the main mix?
Typically the PFX get bussed to the FX stem in the mix. No need for fill in the domestic version because it should be cut seemlessly with the dialogue tracks by the dialogue editor.
Old 6th September 2007
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starcrash13 View Post
Typically the PFX get bussed to the FX stem in the mix. No need for fill in the domestic version because it should be cut seemlessly with the dialogue tracks by the dialogue editor.
I think this conversation may be getting ambiguous-


As to PFX and fill will live in the DIA predub. The PFX will be bussed into the FX stem, but they should not be living in two separate predubs due to potential phasing issues.

It might be determined that the PFX will be in the FX, but it is just as common for them to be in the DIA side. They should however end up in the FX stem if they are used.


Charles Maynes
Old 6th September 2007
  #12
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starcrash13's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes View Post
As to PFX and fill will live in the DIA predub. The PFX will be bussed into the FX stem, but they should not be living in two separate predubs due to potential phasing issues.
Exactly. You nailed it. I should have clarified by saying "final mix" instead of just "mix".
Old 15th September 2007
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes View Post
I would err towards keeping it with the DIA, unless it is obviously library fill. For your M&E having fill available behind the DIA (but muted for your domestic) will making the versions go much faster on the stage.

Charles Maynes
Thanks, all, for the great information. Just to summarize what I'm planning based on what I've gleaned from this thread: I'm using room tone as needed as fill between the production dialogue clips and under ADR as part of the dialogue stem for the domestic version. The same room tones, as continuous tracks, will be added to the FX stem for the M & E, but muted in the domestic.

I'm using no room tone in scenes that have ample continuous ambience from cars, wind, or other added FX. And as I am both the dialogue editor and FX editor for this project, I've opted to move all the PFX that I've isolated into the FX group to be included in both domestic and M & E.

Does this all sound logical?
Old 15th September 2007
  #14
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starcrash13's Avatar
Just be careful to not pull out any handles on the PFX. Even a few frames overlapping with the same material in the dialogue premix will cause bad phasing.
Old 15th September 2007
  #15
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Hi Sean,
Sorry to come late to the party, but I've been lurking and following this thread.

Good advice all-around, and your plan is a good one. Good on ya (as an FX editor) for taking the time to get the room tone wildtracks from the dialog editor to cut into your BG tracks for use in the M&E. It'll make the M&E one notch better, so well done.

As for your dialog tracks, when you fill, try to find fill from the same angle you're filling ie: if the shot is SC34/A Take 3, try to find fill from a take of SC34A: it will normally match much better than the more "generic" SC34 Roomtone that is recorded last. Any time the mic moves, the sound will change; very subtly, but it's enough to hear a difference.

As for the exterior stuff you mentioned (ie: w/ traffic, birds, etc) just do whatever you have to do to make it seamless. The last thing you want is to hear things bumping in and out, or sound shifts between angles, no matter how minor. Sometimes this means carrying and filling a noisy angle all the way through a scene, with the quieter angle inaudibly popping in and out, sometimes it's the other way around if the mixer can do enough noise suppression on the occasional noisy bit coming in.

Again, just do whatever it takes to make it sound like you did nothing at all!

hope this helps, good luck!

Joe Milner
Puget Sound, Inc.
Los Angeles, CA
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