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Timeline for Delivering TV Ad Sound/Music
Old 14th October 2013
  #1
Gear Head
 
mosteveh's Avatar
 

Timeline for Delivering TV Ad Sound/Music

So I landed a sweet gig as the first and only sound guy at an advertising studio. I'm tasked with doing ALL of the post sound for our commercials from ISDN VO sessions, to SFX editing, music composition and the final mix.

After freelancing in location audio and post for 7 years, this is my first full time gig and I need to communicate to the producers what the sound department is capable of and how fast it can be done. I want to be quick but also keep their expectations in check.

My question to all of you, is what's the normal timeline for 30/60 second ads to be completed from start to finish? Any tips for explaining the workflow of post sound? I know things will get busy (they already have) but I want stay on top of it all.

Thanks!
Old 14th October 2013
  #2
Gear Maniac
You didn't say if it was for TV or radio or both, but it can range from under an hour to multiple days per spot. Depends on length, number of talent to record, production audio quality, sound design needs - also not to be overlooked is clent approvals. Approvals can change timelines in hugely unexpected ways. To budget time needed for a project, experience is really your best friend. If its an established agency I would think the producers should have some experience with booking time. You said that you have done post before - do you have experience working on spots at all?

Sent from my SCH-I535
Old 14th October 2013
  #3
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This will be mostly for TV but some radio too. I've done a few spots for local affiliates but not the national level we're doing here. Previously I was editing FX and Dialogue for indie films.
Old 14th October 2013
  #4
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My experience is that the producers and creatives will work an in-house sound guy like a rented mule. Last minute stuff, lots of versions, many changes. I'd advise getting very friendly with whoever the in-house post scheduler is (often called a "producer") and try to get them on your side re: hours you end up working in a day (week/month etc) and to help referee the competition for your time. You will certainly learn how to be fast--tough gig but a great school. Hopefully after some period of time at this you can take your skills to an outside studio and make more money for less crazy hours. (Or the same crazy hours.)

philp
Old 14th October 2013
  #5
Gear Maniac
In any aspect of this business having a good producers that trust you and vice-versa makes the job so much easier.
There must be an in-house editor or 2, become tight with them since they will be feeding you elements for projects. They can also give you insight into how the project is going, anything to watch out for and creative direction possibilities that you can roll around in your head a bit before the project gets to you.
Old 14th October 2013
  #6
Gear Addict
 

The major wrench that you are throwing in is "music composition". I am the sound "mule" at a good sized national network, and thus I am a jack of all trades for spots day in and day out. I usually spew out 4 or 5 spots a day. Mixing spots can be done is as little as thirty minutes or as much as a few days depending on the complexity. But when I have to write music as well, then the time frame increases quite a bit depending on the nature of the music. So there really is no one-size-fits-all answer. You used the word "advertising". Ad Agencies are a different beast. They are typically comprised of many people who know not what they want until they actually hear it. So that increases the delivery time exponentially. Good luck.
Old 14th October 2013
  #7
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What soundfx said.

It's a bit different when working for a TV network, there I had a schedule to ISDN record, edit, SD & mix TV spots three days a week. Started at 9am (OMF was set up by the night shift), had to be finished by 1-2 pm.
This was for about 6-8 spots. No composition though. If you have experienced VO artists, producers and editors you work with, that timeframe is no problem though.
Old 14th October 2013
  #8
Gear Maniac
The OP can correct me if I'm wrong but I doubt he will be doing much composing in the mix session. Most national advertisers like to have heard the music in rough cuts before the mix. I imagine the music session would just be something on his schedule and wouldn't necessarily effect the lead time to get the spot out the door. Most sound design could be the same way.
Old 15th October 2013
  #9
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Thanks for the replies everybody! I figured there's no "normal" but your thoughts are appreciated.

In regards to music, sometimes I'll get a needle drop, other times I'll create something specific for the piece. Depends on budget/time. So far I've done a few originals with a good amount of time for composition and review. My editor and producers have been very accommodating. Always asking questions about how we can do things better. Feels like a very forward thinking group.

Question for kosmokrator. Were you editing and mixing 6-8 spots per day or during those 3 days total? How in depth do you go with your FX editing? I'm still in the mindset of creating FX tracks with BGs and foley but with so much VO is feels like too much most of the time. Thanks again.
Old 15th October 2013
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosteveh View Post
Thanks for the replies everybody! I figured there's no "normal" but your thoughts are appreciated.

In regards to music, sometimes I'll get a needle drop, other times I'll create something specific for the piece. Depends on budget/time. So far I've done a few originals with a good amount of time for composition and review. My editor and producers have been very accommodating. Always asking questions about how we can do things better. Feels like a very forward thinking group.

Question for kosmokrator. Were you editing and mixing 6-8 spots per day or during those 3 days total? How in depth do you go with your FX editing? I'm still in the mindset of creating FX tracks with BGs and foley but with so much VO is feels like too much most of the time. Thanks again.
Those were 6-8 spots per day, meaning from 9am to 2pm. Usually one hour to do all the VO tracking via ISDN, then editing, then mixing.
90% it was using the FX and BGs the editor provided (done with the producer), sometimes exchanging/beefing up or adding stuff.
Music and Dialogue also as provided in the OMF. Of course fine-edit all.
Then some mixing to R128 and of course all the ****ing versions. 'Today', 'tomorrow', 'next tuesday' etc.etc.
I certainly agree that the VO is king, and many novice producers and editors tend to put too much FX and BGs in the spots.
Old 15th October 2013
  #11
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Okay. Interesting to hear your routine.

Glad you mentioned R128 too. I've been using the Waves WLM meter on ATSC A85 ALL with a weighting of ITU 1770. Is this a good set up for metering? So far my mixes have been hitting -24 lkfs pretty consistently. Spec sheets have been requesting -24 average level with a peak ranging from -6 to -10. So far so good.
Old 15th October 2013
  #12
Gear Maniac
That's the correct level to mix to. I think the official spec is -24LUFS +/-2. If your room isn't calibrated to the correct listening level do that now and then the level issue should become just a formality.
You should make a good template also.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #13
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Thanks again for the replies. Things are busy as hell but going well. I was wondering how you guys keep notes during VO sessions? Some producers roll through a whole paragraph then ask for the second one "they liked", others do 3 takes of one sentence then move on to the next. Then back to another whole paragraph and I'm punching in memory locations the whole time to keep up.

Today I'm gonna try naming regions as we go and consider takes within those as A, B, C. Underneath will be my edit track where I'll grab the slices we like and string them together to audition. Any good tips on keeping tabs on the whole thing? My coffee is strong. What else?
Old 23rd October 2013
  #14
Gear Maniac
You should make some take sheets and number the lines on your script.
That way you can mark everyone likes and dislikes as well as anything unique about that take.
If you have time you can cut the part of the take they liked to a track below also.
I wouldn't rename takes as your rolling, you can see the A, B, C etc from the waveforms, i just add the letter on as a suffix before i cut it into the spot so I know which one is in there later.
If your doing spots start with take 1 and go on up in numbers until that talent or your session is done.
Old 15th September 2014
  #15
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It's been one year and I'm still alive! All your suggestions have been very helpful. Thanks!

Today, a new twist has come up.

During my ISDN sessions I've used my Zephyr Xstream to connect to another Zephyr. Simple. But soon I'm doing a session with a CDQ 2000 and a Zephyr at the same time. That's three studios all talking to each other. One has talent, one has clients and I'm the third recording the session. As long as we're all using the same codec, will this be an issue?

L3 Dual/mono is what I was thinking.

There's also a phone patch of clients somewhere else that will listen in. whew.
Old 15th September 2014
  #16
Gear Maniac
I don't think a CDQ2000 will do L3, someone can correct me if I'm wrong. You can connect in L2 but since your splitting your box you will only be able to connect one B-channel with each of the other studios so you'll probably want them to post takes at the end.
Old 15th September 2014
  #17
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by coaxmw View Post
That's the correct level to mix to. I think the official spec is -24LUFS +/-2. If your room isn't calibrated to the correct listening level do that now and then the level issue should become just a formality.
You should make a good template also.
over here at least, i believe the +- buffer is only for live. mixed sessions should be able to be hitting the sweet spot without fluctuation.
Old 16th September 2014
  #18
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by snapmastering View Post
over here at least, i believe the +- buffer is only for live. mixed sessions should be able to be hitting the sweet spot without fluctuation.
That was written a year ago but I don't think it's changed, still a +-2db window here.

I.7 TARGET LOUDNESS FOR CONTENT WITHOUT METADATA
For delivery or exchange of content without metadata15, the Target Loudness value should be –24
LKFS. Minor measurement variations of up to approximately ±2 dB about this value are
anticipated, due to measurement uncertainty, and are acceptable. Content loudness should not be
targeted to the high or low side of this range. The true-peak level should be kept below -2 dB TP
in order to provide headroom to avoid potential clipping due to downstream processing (such as
audio coding used in delivery).
Old 16th September 2014
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coaxmw View Post
I don't think a CDQ2000 will do L3, someone can correct me if I'm wrong. You can connect in L2 but since your splitting your box you will only be able to connect one B-channel with each of the other studios so you'll probably want them to post takes at the end.
Can you explain a bit more? Does splitting my box weaken the signal I'm receiving from each studio or limit my recording ability? I figured I'd call each studio using their line 1 number. Then one studio can call the other with their open line 2. This will connect us all together. That's my understanding anyway.

I hope to test it tomorrow.
Old 16th September 2014
  #20
Gear Maniac
I have always done it and seen ut done where one studio is running the session - probably you. You would dial each studio with one line of your box in a dual mono mode. You would also control who hears who, take numbers, recording starts etc. The way it weakens quality is that your only connected on 1 line with each studio. This type of session isnt difficult for most studios because they might have multiple boxes but is a little trickier when you only have 1 box.
Old 17th September 2014
  #21
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what coaxwm said.

We do this with 2 Centauris, so no idea if it's possible with your setup.
Schedule a test session with the other studios in advance.

As to 'wiggle room', here at least it's also 23.0 LUFS exactly, no +/-.

Question to the US guys: When we do ISDN sessions with US studios, they mostly only have 2 B-channels.
Normally we use 6 B-channels.
Is 2 normal in the US?
Old 17th September 2014
  #22
Gear Maniac
Kosmokrater - Most US studios here have 6 channels if using an APT codec type box but it seems like only the really big studios have those still. Most people are using the Telos Zephyr that only has 2 Channels for either mono or stereo as opposed to the APT type where you dial 3 numbers for a mono patch and 6 for a stereo. I feel like most studios in Europe I've connected to recently have APT type boxes.
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