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Compressor Questions and Making a 5.1 Mix with 95% in Stereo?

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Jade Whitmire
Compressor Questions and Making a 5.1 Mix with 95% in Stereo?
on Sep 28, 2014 at 1:05:42 am

I've been editing videos for a few years now and have always done my sound editing in Final Cut Pro (7).. But with this new big documentary project I'm working on, I'm hoping to make Soundtrack Pro my new application of choice for making the audio the best I can make it with the resources that I have available. I've got a few (newbie) questions though that I would love to hear some insight on if you have the time and are able to help! I'm not expecting long answers so you can absolutely keep things short and simple if you decide to chime in.. My questions are;

1) Are there are any effects that I should make sure to apply to every audio clip? Bringing the audio into Soundtrack feels like a step in the right direction but I've never used the effect of "Compressor" before on the audio.. and since this is a feature film I'm really wanting to step up my game as far as applying what I need to apply.. Expanders will be used on some tracks, and some Limiters.. But should Compressor be applied to each track as well? Or would applying a Compressor to the Submix be an alright way to go?

2) Since this is a documentary and not a story with sound effects and the like, I'm hoping to edit the film in stereo. But at the same time there are certain markets (like iTunes) who will only accept films for release in their store that have 5.1 audio. This makes me think that I should edit the film in 5.1 and just keep things stereo for the most part. Could I edit in 5.1 and not even utilize the Left Surround, Right Surround and LFE and have it still be exported as a 5.1 mix even when there is nothing in those channels? Or would one basic sound in each of those channels at a certain point in the movie suffice to make the audio export correctly at 5.1?


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Peter Groom
Re: Compressor Questions and Making a 5.1 Mix with 95% in Stereo?
on Sep 28, 2014 at 8:41:14 am

Hi
Reading your question and the words you have used suggests to me that you will struggle on this.
My suggestion is edit your film putting all your audio you wish to ever hear on the timeline, then give it to a specialist audio post house to mix.
The complexities of mixing a feature for release are immense and you clearly have no visibility if this.
You'll need way more than Soundtrack Pro and someone telling you how to use a compressor.
Start with at least 10 years post audio experience.
Not 10 years foing sound in fcp - that doesn't count.
Sorry to be brutal but you're kidding yourself here.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Jade Whitmire
Re: Compressor Questions and Making a 5.1 Mix with 95% in Stereo?
on Sep 28, 2014 at 10:58:33 am
Last Edited By Jade Whitmire on Sep 28, 2014 at 11:07:32 am

Yes I'm definitely in a spot that feels like way more than I can chew. I'm not trying to kid myself, it's just that I'm torn between spending the money on a sound mixer since this is such a low-budget doc rather than a fictional story with the need for true immersion for the audience.. but investing in a good mixing would likely be something that I will not regret at any point down the line. I will likely end up taking it to a professional at the end of the audio editing that I try to do myself.

Should I just aim to lay down all the audio tracks that I have (in an organized way) and pan them and try to make them flow with each other (the dialogue being able to understand, even with music playing for example) and then take what I have accomplished to a mixer that can apply the correct effects/compression and create the final mix?

Also can I send the audio to Soundtrack Pro and try and make the levels what I feel they should be (dialogue ranging from -16 to -10 for example) and then send what I accomplish back to Final Cut Pro, without worrying that this could affect the OMF file that the specialist would likely need for editing in Pro Tools?

In other words, can I do this: Edit Sound in FCP -> Soundtrack Pro -> FCP -> Pro Tools...?


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Peter Groom
Re: Compressor Questions and Making a 5.1 Mix with 95% in Stereo?
on Sep 28, 2014 at 1:11:15 pm

Just build your tracklay like a video editor would.
Say tracks 1& 2 3&4 chequerboarded interview / dialogue
5&6 7&8 sync overlay effects
9&10 11&12 music
13&14 Voice over etc.
Dony bother with pannimg anything. Any dubbing mixer will disregard anything you give him and start from the beginning. Just smooth front and ends with a fade and ensure will tracks are provided for his use.

Be clear what your deliverables are, what mixes you need ie
Stereo, Stereo M&E, 5.1 discreets and 5.1 ac3 file etc. He'll buold with that in mind from the get go rather than trying to adjust later.
peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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