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Audio Panning Really Necessary for these Low-Budget Indie Films?

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Jeremy Cathey
Audio Panning Really Necessary for these Low-Budget Indie Films?
on Apr 18, 2014 at 3:34:26 am

Hello and Happy Thursday!
I'm posting these newbie questions that may seem painfully simple but after multiple attempts utilizing Google without finding any solid answers, I figured this is the best spot to ask for some professional opinions.

I'm in the process of making two feature films with small crews and have been recording all the sound/ADR/foley/ambience/etc. with stereo shotgun mics on the cameras and external audio recorders.

Only recently have I really been trying to tinker around with panning the audio in final cut and I'm curious as to how I should go about using it. I would think that the Documentary film would maybe benefit from it here and there but for the most part it's the fictional film that would gain the most out of it. Would it be unorthodox if I panned the audio throughout the Documentary film when people talk to the camera or is that a perfectly ordinary idea that I should have already been aiming to accomplish?

Also I'm not sure when I should use it. I've heard conflicting opinions and currently am led to believe that it should only be used for dialogue (and only panned in small amounts during the dialogue, not harshly to one side or the other) and maybe the occasional sound/foley effect if someone is shown on screen entering from one side of the frame (none of those crazy off to one side of the room sounds that make you turn away from the screen, as interesting as they are I think they would be too distracting).

I'm also-ALSO confused about how to pan the stereo tracks properly.
After un-linking the stereo tracks of an audio clip from one another with the intention to pan the sound to the right (for example), would I simply pan both tracks of the same audio clip to the right by that much equally? Any insight and help with answering these dilemmas would really be appreciated!

Thank you! :)

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Ty Ford
Re: Audio Panning Really Necessary for these Low-Budget Indie Films?
on Apr 19, 2014 at 6:07:53 pm

Hello Jeremy and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

You're right, you don't hear a lot of panning in small films.

It's easier to pan mono tracks than stereo tracks, but you can pan stereo, just do them together or move one side from full pan to middle and the sound should shift past center to the side the extreme pan is on.

Entering of leaving frame pans are not that typical, but I do hear them fairly regularly.

Just make sure to check your pans by listening in mono to make sure they still sound OK there.


Ty Ford
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