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Track Layout for Feature Film Mixing

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Chris Conlee
Track Layout for Feature Film Mixing
on Nov 22, 2010 at 12:46:52 am

Hello All,

I'm a professional motion picture editor, who's just now dipping his toes into the post audio world. I've set up a room with five M-Audio BX5a monitors, a small subwoofer, an M-Audio Fast Track Ultra USB interface, and Nuendo 5. Everything's running on OS X 10.6.4.

I'm a complete newb, so just getting the basics of panning sounds around the room has been a thrill. I don't expect to be giving anybody a run for their job anytime soon. ;-)

My question is, as I move forward with my learning, can anybody offer me advice on how they set up tracks for feature film work? Numbers of tracks, organization of tracks, routing of tracks, etc. are of interest. Do you tend to assign x number of tracks for dialog, x number for foley, x number for BGs and x number for hard effects and music? Do you make these assignments at the beginning, or create tracks as needed?

Any information would be greatly appreciated. Even screenshots would be great. Again, I don't expect to be doing this type of work professionally for quite some time, but I'd like to get a handle on how it's done properly, so I don't learn bad practices from the get go. I always hate unteaching bad habits on the Avid, so I'd hate to do the same thing to somebody else.

Thanks a million, in advance.
Chris Conlee


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Bob Kessler
Re: Track Layout for Feature Film Mixing
on Nov 22, 2010 at 3:28:24 am

Mine is different from others, but the organizational basics are the same for all of us.


Dx1
Dx2
Dx3
DX4

ADR1
ADR2

DxF1 (Phones, etc.)

Pfx1 Mono (Production FX)
Pfx2 Mono

Foley1
Foley2
Foley3
Foley4
Foley5

Fx1 Mono
Fx2 Mono
Fx3 Mono
Fx4 Mono
Fx5 Stereo

Bg1 Mono
Bg2 Mono
Bg3 Mono
Bg4 Stereo
Bg5 Stereo

SrcM1 (Source Music)
SrcM2

Mx1 (Score)
Mx2

DX Sub
Foley Sub
FX Sub
BG Sub
Music Sub

Verb1
Verb2

Master

A lot will depend upon your track count. I have to limit myself for PTLE. If you have tracks to spare you can have a dialog track and multiple Foley tracks for each character. Films like the LOTR trilogy had an entire 256 track PTHD system for each stem - so 256 tracks each for dialog, Foley, Sound FX, and score; over 1,000 tracks.


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Chris Conlee
Re: Track Layout for Feature Film Mixing
on Nov 22, 2010 at 3:42:21 am

Thanks, Bob. Do you build some kind of template with that track layout so you start each project the same, or do you add tracks as you go?

Chris


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Michael Kammes
Re: Track Layout for Feature Film Mixing
on Nov 22, 2010 at 3:50:53 pm

Hey Bob:

ProTools - which is pretty much the standard in Post Audio for feature films, have templates you can work off of. Adding a track with the same naming convention as the group you are adding it to is only a few mouse clicks.

Typically, the sessions from the picture editor (or prep from another post sound person), when imported, can be 'mapped' to that same template.



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Bob Kessler
Re: Track Layout for Feature Film Mixing
on Nov 22, 2010 at 5:27:38 pm

It varies from project to project, but that's the general idea. I have a basic template and modify according to project needs.

I have lots of other sessions for editing dialog, ADR, doing Foley, cutting sound FX, editing music, etc. and import the results into the master assembly and mix session. Since I work in PTLE I have to - well used to - keep an eye on track count, and I still have to keep an eye on the number of plug-ins and processing power since PTLE is a native platform.


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Chris Conlee
Re: Track Layout for Feature Film Mixing
on Nov 22, 2010 at 5:39:43 pm

Well I gotta tell you, I had a blast this weekend just trying to figure out how to get sound out of each speaker, and moving trains and planes from the front to the rear, with verb and echoes, etc. The geek in me is loving it. My wife, however, doesn't get the allure. LOL.

Chris


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