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Open Letter to Video Editors - Things Sound Mixers Wish you would do!!
Old 14th November 2010
  #1
Gear Head
 

Open Letter to Video Editors - Things Sound Mixers Wish you would do!!

Ok So I know this isnt the best place to be posting this, but I thought you guys would have a few things to say!--heres my wishlist

Keep Like with Like
Keep Music on Music Tracks - NO OTHER SOUNDS, just music - and the same goes for sfx, vo etc..see below .

VO on its own Track
When we go to record a final VO we have to mute the guide, so if its sprinkled throughout the session like fairy dust we have to go find every little clip in order to mute it.

Always "ChekerBoard" Music
Meaning place each consecutive song on a alternate tracks as opposed to crossfading them. So if you have music on tracks 1 & 2 the fist tune goes on track 1 the next on track 2 and the next on track 1 etc...

Keep Sound Effects Seperate
Just like the other suggestions, swhishes, bleeps, bloops and other graphic synced sounds are best kept seperated, these usually can be the same volume all through a show, so dont be hiding them amid the dialog.

Dont use Crappy Quality MP3s
If you have a duff sounding copy of a track please ask a parent or producer to get you a better copy, for the few cents it'll cost to buy it on iTunes you'll be making everything much better. If it becomes a theme, we have to go in during mix and replace every instance of your duff version.

Be Creative with your Music Levels
Dont just dump tracks on the time line, take the time to fade in and out as you intended... It'll make your editing seem much better when we mix the sound as you intended, no point in leaving it to us to guess what you were thinking.

IF you think the original recording is too bad for broadcast ASK US!!
If the soundman had his ears painted on or someone forgot to turn off the jet engine in the next room dont presume we can fix it!! send us a test file before you cut the scene. We may well be gifted Audio Alchemists but just incase its beyond repair, save everyone a lot of trouble and check first.
Old 14th November 2010
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
bizzle's Avatar
 

Also,

INCLUDE HANDLES, 5 seconds would be awesome!!

Don't include audio that is not intended to be heard! If I am not very careful to look at the automation that sometimes comes through on an OMF or AAF, then I would be likely to miss clips that are mixed to -∞.

And while we are at it, please give me a guide track.

And sync pops or academy leader (depending on what is appropriate).

And a small (SMALL) timecode burn-in on the Quicktime. And don't put it in the center of the image.

And don't give me Quicktime movies with different frame rates from the project frame rate. Also, if there are multiple Quicktime movies, make them all the same compression, size, frame rate, etc..

Etc..


&e
Old 14th November 2010
  #3
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScruffyG View Post
....-heres my wishlist....
Great list. Agreed on all points.

And dear video editor, please, if you're having a lazy day, that's ok, I have these days too. But please, please, check the following minimum requirement.

ALWAYS PLACE STEREO MATERIAL ON UNEVEN/EVEN tracks. ie 5+6 or 7+8
NEVER EVER ON EVEN/UNEVEN ie 6/7 or 8/9

I can handle the rest of the mess, but that one's enough to make me swear and frown for at least 15 minutes after having dragged the tracks onto my template-tracks....

Thanks!
Old 14th November 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Sonsey@mac.com's Avatar
 

And add:

Please don't "fix" the noisy audio with Soundtrack Pro, Adobe Audition or whatever other "tools" you have at your disposal. It's really easy to screw it up and when you do, we won't be able to fix it. I'll make you a deal - I won't color correct video, you don't fix audio. Okay?

heh
Old 14th November 2010
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Also, please put at least one frame of black at the end of the picture. I mostly do commercials, and when the end frame hangs on the screen long after 30 seconds are done, it confuses clients into thinking that all that copy managed to fit after all.

Sonny Keyes
Ricochet Audio
Toronto
Old 14th November 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
You guys are describing almost every OMF I have ever gotten. The only time it comes in correct is when I hold the VE's hand through the whole export.

I swear sometimes I think I know more about Finalcut then they do...
Old 14th November 2010
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
And add:

Please don't "fix" the noisy audio with Soundtrack Pro, Adobe Audition or whatever other "tools" you have at your disposal. It's really easy to screw it up and when you do, we won't be able to fix it. I'll make you a deal - I won't color correct video, you don't fix audio. Okay?

heh
Wonderfully put.
Old 15th November 2010
  #8
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Handles
Sync Pops
Window Burn

Everything else is wishful thinking.
If you can't provide the three above things, (insert mean comment here).

Sascha, I, too, have become more well-versed in Final Cut than I would have expected (or liked, because they keep contacting me to 'tell me how to do a....again?').

And to list things already said, maybe not already said:

Work with your audio tracks split into DIA, VO/narration, temp ADR, temp fx, temp music, etc.

And if you CAN always include a track or two of production sync audio. (because, inevitably, editors swap out audio for even on-camera lines because 'someone on THEIR end' decides they don't like performance, they don't like the sound, it's too trashy, etc.) Well you know what sucks more? ADRing to a swapped-out line of dialogue when you send that work dub to whomever is recording ADR.

If you want to ALT, include the original and let US know intentions.

Always always always (did I say 'always'?) include the original audio from the shot you are using. Sure it may be junk; let us decide.

I'm not going to tell you how to cut, so you don't tell me how to cut/mix. But I will 'suggest' that you keep in mind that when you've cut away at a 'weird' spot like something including doors, cars, phone conversations, etc. Well the audio has to follow. And it 'may' look and/or sound weird because...we're just matching the picture, m'kayyyy?

Oh, and THIS gospel: learn what EDLs are and what they are used for and for the love of.......talk with the post production supervisor about frame rates and what frame rates are going to be used through the project.

My last two features, when I've gone to assemble location sound from EDLs, the EDLs were all screwed up and software wasn't having any of it. I'm never line editing an EDL again. Been there, done that. You get it shipped back to you and the production can pay an assistant to do it, or you can check your EDLs and information before exporting. (again...framerate is important...)

If it was a film shoot and you decide you are going to cut in 23.976 but location sound was rolled at 30 or any other rate...that's a good thing to know about.

And on and on.

Jeff
Old 15th November 2010
  #9
Gear Addict
 

I'll reiterate what others have said, because I'm sure this thread will get forwarded to at least a few real-life video editors.

requirements for AAF:
  • head and tail sync pops
  • handles (min 3 seconds, pref 5 seconds)
  • original sync audio even if alts have been selected
  • no audio has been destructively processed in any way
requirements for quicktime:
  • small timecode burn in
  • quicktime framerate that matches tc burn
don't expect things to come back in sync and sounding right if you don't deliver all of the audio elements in sync and as high res as possible.

above and beyond:
  • volume rides showing intent
  • written notes
  • organized tracks
  • realistic deadlines
going above and beyond isn't incredibly difficult, but it is outside of the minimum requirements you'll need to get your project done well. Going above and beyond will get your project done more efficiently and with fewer human errors, however.

Also, please disregard the snarky tone of us audio editors. We really are nice people.
Old 15th November 2010
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
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If you replace a line with what you think is a better performance, please include the original in case it needs to be ADRed, or at least so we have something to try to sync to. Nothing worse than guessing what/where the actor said.
Old 15th November 2010
  #11
Gear Addict
 

If you are not musically inclined and perform a bad music edit (i.e. removing 1.3 beats instead of 1 or perhaps 3 beats instead of 4) don't be upset when I have to fix it and your subsequent video edits don't quite line up. Ugh.
Old 15th November 2010
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Good points all around!

As a dial editor, I have to say that I usually ask for the maximum amount of handles. Avid MC5's is 1800 frames at 29.97DF. I usually get strange looks, ask if I'm high and that it would make the AAF huge. Yes, a 46 minute doc will be between 11 and 15 gigs depending on how much audio is there. But video editors deal with hundreds of gigs of footage all the time, so I don't see why they need to fight me on it.

And the reason getting max handles helps is so I don't always have to go through footage for alt words and extra ambs and the like. Most of it is in the handles! And sometimes you find gems in there!
Old 16th November 2010
  #13
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Wow, 60 second handles? I ask for ten. But I also ask for the audio from the unused takes organized into folders by scene. And yes, I get the same bizarre looks, but the final product is worth the looks and the hassles.
Old 16th November 2010
  #14
Gear Head
 

Open Letter to Video Editors - Things Sound Mixers Wish you would do!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonnykeyes
Also, please put at least one frame of black at the end of the picture. I mostly do commercials, and when the end frame hangs on the screen long after 30 seconds are done, it confuses clients into thinking that all that copy managed to fit after all.

Sonny Keyes
Ricochet Audio
Toronto
Couldn't agree more, I mostly do commercials as well an get the same problem. If there's black at the head I past it onto the end but quite often I get them with no black on head or tail.
Old 16th November 2010
  #15
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Mundox's Avatar
Don't stack up the same clip 4 times to make it louder (or whatever else the intention is).
And don't give me a mixdown clip along with everything else.

Oh, and please don't give me lapelle channels of people having a chat in the green room.
Old 16th November 2010
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
Wow, 60 second handles? I ask for ten. But I also ask for the audio from the unused takes organized into folders by scene. And yes, I get the same bizarre looks, but the final product is worth the looks and the hassles.
Yes!

I also get all the room tones if the location recorder did them. When I'm dealing with a location person who neglected getting room tone, getting extra long handles helps me immensely in building my own tone.
Old 16th November 2010
  #17
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RecRoom's Avatar
Ha! Great list. I'd add:

Putting a 15 second crossfade across every music edit doesn't automatically make it good.
Old 16th November 2010
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RecRoom View Post
Ha! Great list. I'd add:

Putting a 15 second crossfade across every music edit doesn't automatically make it good.
Haha i think that goes in conjunction with soundfxs commment -

"If you are not musically inclined and perform a bad music edit (i.e. removing 1.3 beats instead of 1 or perhaps 3 beats instead of 4) don't be upset when I have to fix it and your subsequent video edits don't quite line up. Ugh."
Old 16th November 2010
  #19
This from the trenches of long form DR work...
1 - NEVER send me the line cut audio, please. Take the time to dig up all the isos - You can give me 8-10 tracks of dialog - I'll figure it out. Save the line cut audio for client picture approvals.
2 - If you are going to hack up some temp music and get wind that the client wants to keep it, please include the COMPLETE cue(s) after the end of the show. It gets difficult to smooth out the edits when there's only 60 frame handles and half the song is missing.

Thank you.

P.S.
One of my favorites is a scratch VO that was time compressed but not rendered in the edit bay. Not only do we not have a usable guide track (because it'll be cut off at each edit), but no human can read that fast.
Old 16th November 2010
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
jimlongo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
One of my favorites is a scratch VO that was time compressed but not rendered in the edit bay. Not only do we not have a usable guide track (because it'll be cut off at each edit), but no human can read that fast.
That's right. Never mind the time compressed vo. Most editors read guide VO to suit their purpose of fitting copy into (their cut) too little room. They read fast and with zero emotion, then the producer expects the narrator to be able to reproduce that timing but put some oomph into it . . . impossible.
Old 16th November 2010
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimlongo View Post
That's right. Never mind the time compressed vo. Most editors read guide VO to suit their purpose of fitting copy into (their cut) too little room. They read fast and with zero emotion, then the producer expects the narrator to be able to reproduce that timing but put some oomph into it . . . impossible.
The problem I find is that the series producer isn't generally the one in the edit, it's the edit producer. Then the SP comes into the VO record, and everybody moans that they cant fit what they want......... repeat cycle. You'd think they'd learn but they never do :/

FF
Old 16th November 2010
  #22
Actually, I've had a number of editors read the scratch VO at a ridiculous pace and wondered how they could read that fast without processing...

I looked into a bay one time and found my answer....







Old 16th November 2010
  #23
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Uncle Bob's Avatar
 

All VO artists should be this guy...

Old 17th November 2010
  #24
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I have to say, as a picture editor of 16 years, that I am amazed you guys have these issues. I always do everything listed here. It not only ensures smooth transition to audio mix but also means the audio guys are a bit happier to grant me favours when needed!

I recently completed a reality series and spent at least a day (per ep) cleaning up the offline editors audio track mess and making sure every segment had the same track allocations. Despite being told how to set out their tracks, not all editors followed the rule. My biggest problem? The producers. There was no time (or money) allocated for audio prep. They just expected to ping out an AAF/OMF and everything would be fine. Either way, me or the audio guy would have to fix it all sooner or later. It was usually me, spending an extra 4-6 hours per episode, unpaid and away from my family.
Old 22nd November 2010
  #25
Gear Head
 

If the OMF is going to be over 2 gigs Please use your head.....

Splitting the OMFs by tracks rather than splitting the timeline makes alot more sense. so give me tracks 1 to 6 in an omfi and tracks 7 to 12 in another..etc.. not the first 20mins in an omfi and the second in another...
NEVER F**K UP THE TIMELINE its asking for trouble.
Old 22nd November 2010
  #26
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Sonsey@mac.com's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by musikwerks View Post
I have to say, as a picture editor of 16 years, that I am amazed you guys have these issues. I always do everything listed here. It not only ensures smooth transition to audio mix but also means the audio guys are a bit happier to grant me favours when needed!
Hi Musicwerks,

16 years! THAT's why you know to do these things. The sad truth is out of the half dozen series I've worked on this year, only ONE of them has an editor with over 3 years experience.

Since so many producers assume, just as with audio, that it's the tools not the talent, experienced editors - who charge more - are seen as an "unnecessary expense" and kids fresh out of college with FCP get the gig, and they certainly don't know this stuff.

Oh and THANK YOU from all the audio guys you do deliver to. I'm sure they, like me, appreciate the extra work! (I make a point of thanking the editors I work with when they deliver what I need).

And finally one more to add:

"If you aren't 110% certain about ANYTHING, please ASK. Being asked a million questions is far less annoying than receiving unusable deliverables 4 hours before the show is due!"
Old 22nd November 2010
  #27
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Jfriah's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soundfx View Post
If you are not musically inclined and perform a bad music edit (i.e. removing 1.3 beats instead of 1 or perhaps 3 beats instead of 4) don't be upset when I have to fix it and your subsequent video edits don't quite line up. Ugh.
(or have a 12-second crossfade between music cuts [that, yes, contain a drum track] that the mixer then has to 'adjust' to make work and the editor comes to the mix and debates the edit)--RecRoom answered my own thoughts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RecRoom View Post

Putting a 15 second crossfade across every music edit doesn't automatically make it good.
Jeff
Old 22nd November 2010
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Jfriah's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by musikwerks View Post
I have to say, as a picture editor of 16 years, that I am amazed you guys have these issues. I always do everything listed here. It not only ensures smooth transition to audio mix but also means the audio guys are a bit happier to grant me favours when needed!

I recently completed a reality series and spent at least a day (per ep) cleaning up the offline editors audio track mess and making sure every segment had the same track allocations. Despite being told how to set out their tracks, not all editors followed the rule. My biggest problem? The producers. There was no time (or money) allocated for audio prep. They just expected to ping out an AAF/OMF and everything would be fine. Either way, me or the audio guy would have to fix it all sooner or later. It was usually me, spending an extra 4-6 hours per episode, unpaid and away from my family.

HOWWWWWWWWWWW much extra work do you want?!?!?!?!?!
I love youuuuu, mannnnnnnn

I say again:
Quote:
Originally Posted by musikwerks View Post
I have to say, as a picture editor of 16 years,...I always do everything listed here. It not only ensures smooth transition to audio mix but also means the audio guys are a bit happier to grant me favours when needed!
and "please disregard the snarky tone of us audio editors. We really are nice people"----- I always say "I cry for a reason. I'm not just melancholy." All it takes is a video editor/assistant to sit in with the post guys while they open the OMF and go through all the adjusting, looking, replacing, and re-syncing, and then hand the editor/assitant back the drive and say 'ok, we need this this this and this for tomorrow morning please' and the understanding will be there.

Again, I refer back to the training. I've had final year students of film school 'homer simpson'-blink at me when I mention 2-pops, tail-pops, window burn, handles, EDLs, OMFs...

I'd love to see someone compile a document from this and create another 'open letter from your sound department'-type thing.

It isn't bitching, it's educating if you do it politely and correctly.

Jeff
Old 22nd November 2010
  #29
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Jfriah's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
"If you aren't 110% certain about ANYTHING, please ASK. Being asked a million questions is far less annoying than receiving unusable deliverables 4 hours before the show is due!"
I just finished working on a project earlier this year with probably my best Ass't Picture Editor I've worked with in the past 15 years. He asked lots of 'right' questions and got me what I needed and was totally open to making SURE I got what I needed because "I know how important it is to start with all the materials you need; just as we have a lot of visual materials to work with, audio has a lot of materials and having quick, easy access to them is important...plus it prevents a bunch of late night and weekend phone calls and emails to ME if I give you what you need from the outset!"

Jeff
Old 22nd November 2010
  #30
It's weird because editors will complain to no end about directors and DPs not giving them the coverage they need or about poor logs/notes being taken by picture or sound depts (or, more recently, poor transfers from DITs).

You'd think that more of them would recongise the importance of communication up the chain...
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