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george bonilla
dialog tracks problem
on Jul 27, 2009 at 12:53:17 am

Hi guys, I need your help. I finished a movie and had discs burned. Noticed that they play great on computer, portable DVD player. But on TV it drops only certain lines. Like they never were. I went back and looked in the track and noticed those lines were all panned right. Most all the others are panned left or have two tracks left and two right. I seem to remember (maybe wrongly)that I was told to pan dialog left music and effects center pan? Am I remembering wrong? If I have 4 tracks of dialog should I do two left and two right or keep it all left? I am using FCP (not the new one but the one before). I am re-doing all the dialog to be sure and I want to pan to the right position for replication. Thanka very much.



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Ty Ford
Re: dialog tracks problem
on Jul 27, 2009 at 2:15:54 am

Hello George and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Dialog goes in the center, mostly. Stereo music splits left and right.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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george bonilla
Re: dialog tracks problem
on Jul 27, 2009 at 3:11:32 am

Thanks so much Ty, I did notice several stereo locked pairs were one left one right. When I got them back from another editor. I can unlock them but some of the rest was just panned right or left. I will just center them. Would you leave those or keep panned center. Music the same? Thanks again



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Ty Ford
Re: dialog tracks problem
on Jul 27, 2009 at 12:16:54 pm

George,

After reading Peter's thoughtful post, it occurs to me that you should talk to the director to find out what his/her intent was.

If the dialog is split tracked (with one voice on each track) and hasn't been checker-boarded, you probably will get phasing. Checkerboarding is removing Actor B's track when Actor A is speaking and vice versa.

You have to be a little cautious or the sound can shift too dramatically from one actor to the other. One way to mask that is by adding a third track of room tone.

Check with the director to see what his/her plans are.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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Peter Groom
Re: dialog tracks problem
on Jul 27, 2009 at 8:29:32 am

How come youre doing the mix of a movie for replication without a proper sound dub??
Sounds like madness to me.

Yes all dial goes centre ,and effects, ambiences, music can go left and right.
Whatever you do dont have 2 tracks of dialogue running at the same time both panned centre. Thats inviting phase issues.

Is this movie for DVD release or cinema release or what.?
Peter

Peter


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george bonilla
Re: dialog tracks problem
on Jul 27, 2009 at 12:41:35 pm

Without a doubt this is the best forum in the world. Thank you both. I am doing the mix myself (Director)because, as usual, budget does not allow for a pro like you guys (one day it will!). Most all of the tracks I am panning are the same dialog track from the same actor. I almost never overlap. But, I am having to use multiple tracks of the same thing to bring the audio up in almost everycase. If a character says "how are you" I am taking the one track and duplicating it and laying it below to bring levels up. Probably not the best way but getting the actors together will be impossible. If I center pan several of the same tracks am I still inviting phasing? I had a problem with that last year on a different project. Would that have caused my original problem. Some lines missing panned to the left. While all others were panned to the right or both right and left? Thanks again and you have already told me what I originally need to know. I am learning more all the time.



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Ty Ford
Re: dialog tracks problem
on Jul 27, 2009 at 1:05:55 pm

[george bonilla] "But, I am having to use multiple tracks of the same thing to bring the audio up in almost everycase. If a character says "how are you" I am taking the one track and duplicating it and laying it below to bring levels up. Probably not the best way but getting the actors together will be impossible. If I center pan several of the same tracks am I still inviting phasing? I had a problem with that last year on a different project. Would that have caused my original problem. Some lines missing panned to the left. While all others were panned to the right or both right and left? Thanks again and you have already told me what I originally need to know. I am learning more all the time.
"


George,

And thanks for helping everyone here learn by your participation.

What editing program are you using? Most allow for audio level changes. Doubling the track will also work but doesn't give you much control.

Centering tracks makes the cancelation from multiple mics most noticeable. You can sometimes cheat by panning the problem tracks outward a bit, but if the audio is EVER heard in mono, you'll get it.

In fact, you should listen in mono during production to make sure you do have mono compatibility.

Don't know how to respond to your old problem. Too many possibilities.

Regards,

Ty Ford



Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Bill Davis
Re: dialog tracks problem
on Jul 28, 2009 at 12:55:50 am

I'll add my voice to Ty's.

Not ONLY is it important to monitor in mono to get a heads up regarding comb filtering and other unwanted to-mic summing issues, but I'd argue that unless you have an exhibition contract IN HAND that guarantees this will be heard in actual movie theaters - the best strategy is to mix you're entire damn movie in MONO. Period.

Mono (one audio track produced with proper time/phase relationships and subsequently dubbed to any and all audio tracks your distribution media has available.

I could fund a nice trip to Europe if I had a few bucks for every time I've seen someone take a tape or DVD into an exhibition setting - only to discover that said playback venue had audio wired poorly - taking just left. or just right. or summing right and left badly out of phase.

Mono audio is the MOST BULLETPROOF To play back.

That's probably why 99% of the large concerts you'll ever attend are mixed to MONO.

Why risk phase problems when you don't have to.

My 2 cents anyway.

(Proudly producing corporate videos for more than 20 years and delivered every single damn one of them in mono and NEVER had a tape or disc shoved into a machine and had part of the sound missing - thank heavens.)



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Rob Neidig
Re: dialog tracks problem
on Jul 28, 2009 at 5:16:28 am

George,

You've received very good advice in the previous posts. But noone has addressed a very important part of your problem - you hear the audio in your editing program, but you don't when it gets to DVD. I'd say you need to check your settings as you are making your MPEG files. Somehow you are not getting both channels. As things are right now, you should be able to hear the dialog on the DVD. It may be screwed up in its panning - some left, some center, some right - but you should at least hear it.

Now all that said, if you center up all your dialog, that is better in the long run whether you solve your encoding problem or not. As was stated earlier, dialog goes in the center (unless placing it elsewhere for a given line to come from the space where the character is), music should be stereo (left and right), and effects should be placed where they make sense in the sound field.

Have fun!

Rob


Rob Neidig
R&R Media Productions
Eugene, Oregon


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Ty Ford
Re: dialog tracks problem
on Jul 28, 2009 at 10:02:01 am

Rob makes a good point.

I have "consulted" on jobs where the problem was something silly in the playback system and because no one knew what the source SHOULD have sounded like, no one complained.

Geoege, are you doing anything special to export the audio? A separate audiostream export that is then recombined with the video. Are you playing back over the same system you are editing on?

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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