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FCP to Sound Design and Back

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Alexander Perlman
FCP to Sound Design and Back
on Aug 26, 2012 at 7:58:12 am

Hey guys,

I'm in the finishing stages of a feature documentary (http://www.lotlizardmovie.com) and have a few quick questions about sound design if you have a minute.

Is there an easy way to make tweaks in FCP after the sound designer provides his output without having to go through him?

What does the workflow typically look like going from FCP -> Sound Design Software -> FCP?

My FCP sequence is in considerable disarray. Do I need to organize it before I hand it off to the sound designer? If so, is there some kind of organizing principle?

How much does sound design typically cost for a 72 minute feature?

Thanks!


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Shane Ross
Re: FCP to Sound Design and Back
on Aug 26, 2012 at 8:43:33 am

[Alexander Perlman] "Is there an easy way to make tweaks in FCP after the sound designer provides his output without having to go through him?"

Gotta go through the sound designer. When they are done, they export a final stereo mix, or 5.1 Dolby mix...or individual stems (music, SFX, VO, Interviews)...as single AIFF files. Or as a series of full length AIF or WAV files. If you need to make a change, they need to do it.

Now, DO NOT edit and change picture after you send audio to them...if you can help it. Making changes is difficult. Audio mix is one of the last stages of editing, and always should happen AFTER you lock picture.

[Alexander Perlman] "What does the workflow typically look like going from FCP -> Sound Design Software -> FCP?"

Lock picture. Export OMF with embedded audio. Export small, low res QT file with visible timecode as reference video. Give both to the audio engineer. ASK THEM HOW THEY WANT THESE PREPPED!!! They need to tell you how they need things. It is advisable to put a single frame of tone two seconds before picture start, and 2 second after picture end. Have a visible cue for this as well...a white frame is one typical thing to do. This aids in ensuring you have sync from beginning of the show to the end.

Then, they mix the audio. Finally, they send back to you

[Alexander Perlman] "My FCP sequence is in considerable disarray. Do I need to organize it before I hand it off to the sound designer?"

HELL YES! You need to be highly organized. You need to keep audio of the same kind on the same tracks. Say A1 and A2 are narration, then A3-A6 is interview audio. A7-A10 might be B-Roll audio, A11-A14 Sound Effects, A15-A18 music. Whatever. You need to keep similar types of audio on the same tracks. SFX should never be on b-Roll tracks, narration never on music tracks and so on. So yes, that needs to be cleaned up if it isn't that way. ANd in the future, assign tracks for audio, and stick to your organization.

[Alexander Perlman] "How much does sound design typically cost for a 72 minute feature?"

There is no typical. It can take 2 days, it can take a week, it can take 3 weeks. And because of that, cost can really fluctuate. Depends on the complexity of the mix needed. You need to ask the audio guy what they estimate...and talk over what your needs are.

For the doc work I have done, the mix costs between $2500 and $4000.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Andrew Rendell
Re: FCP to Sound Design and Back
on Aug 26, 2012 at 12:13:27 pm

Shane has it spot on.

But I would add that I've had to make changes after the sound dub and this is what has worked for me:

Go back to the final timeline and create a full quality vision track (we used to redigitise a playout to tape, but a full quality quicktime is fine). Put that on a new video track.
Create new audio tracks and lay in the mixed sound tracks and mute everything else for now.
Do your edits, revealing the original video clips and unmuting the source audio to remake the audio mix around your editing points.
When you're done, re-export the sound as a new omfi and send that to the dubbing mixer. It'll allow them to remix only the places which have been edited rather than the whole track again.

Obviously if it's a massive recut it wouldn't be worthwhile doing that but for a few changes it can be the most time efficient way of going about it.


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