Audio Post Production Workflows Using Pro Tools - Part 2

07-07-2014 09:00 AM

In part 1 of Audio Post Production Workflows Conor Mackey started explaining what he does as an assistant editor does and how important a role it is to the audio post workflow, in part 2 Conor explains how he prepares the edited sequences to hand onto the Dialog, FXs, Foley and Music editors so then can work their magic…..
Once the editor has cut and locked the movie, I output and distribute the picture cut to all involved in the next stages of the workflow.
On receipt of the final sequence, I put a academy leader at the head, which has a pip two seconds (48 frames for a film or 50 frames for TV) before the first frame of action, and a tail pip 2 seconds after the last frame of action.
I then tidy up the tracks so the dialogue, effects and music are all on separate groups of tracks.
I bounce the dialogues, effects and music into separate mono stems which are the length of the sequence including the academy leader and the pips. This ensures sync is kept throughout any recut process, and many times if I am asked to submit more sound, I can include a head pip in the OMF/AAF to ensure that sound is put in the correct position.
The dialogue stem outputted at this stage of the process is known as the guide track. If there is a problem with sync in a future audio conform, the guide track is the benchmark to which all production audio should be synced.
I output QuickTime video files (QTs) for the sound department, dialogue in channel 1, effects and music in channel 2.
It is worth noting that miscellaneous sounds, such as wildtracks recorded on set and voiceover should be put on channel 2, leaving channel 1 free for the actor to hear their own voice, and the foley artist to hear footsteps, for example.
This QT output will suffice for the track lay, mix, ADR and Foley. For the composer, a QT with dialogue and effects on Channel 1 and Music on channel 2 will be made, for reasons you can deduce.
I also try to put as many burn ins as I can on the picture, including Master timecode, source timecode, picture file name (which includes the date), clip name and sequence name.
Dialogue Department Outputs:

Having removed all EQ effects and AudioSuite material I am able to output dialogues using one of three methods, original audio and EDLs, ‘link to’ AAFs with Avid (wav) media, or embedded AAFs.

  1. Many dialogue editors prefer this method using programmes like Titan. Apparently it is easier and quicker now than the days when I used conform it with DAT material, which was extremely tedious.
  2. ‘Link to’ AAFs have many plus points. The main benefit is having all the legs of audio on hand by control clicking a track in ProTools. However one needs to have a picture assistant who knows where his audio is stored, and who also knows where all the rubbish renders generated by the Avid are going to, so you don’t receive them along with the production audio.
  3. Embedded AAFs are quick and handy if you only need mix tracks. If you need an alternate take or a separate leg, then one must search through the sound sheets, find the take and the day shot, root through the original audio drive and import more audio into your session.

The dialogue department also need the marked up script and the sound sheets for cross-referencing, finding alternate takes, and finding out what exists and what does not.
Other Outputs:

For the Effects department, an AAF of the FX tracks is very helpful. It lets them know what has been tried in the cutting room, and allows scope for either a perfect copy or an improvement.
For the composer, a list of temp material used in the cut is useful for doing research into that material and researching into the tone and arrangement needed.
Moving On

Our thanks and appreication to Conor Mackey for starting us on this journey through the audio post production workflow of a TV drama. In subsequent parts in this series we will be looking at workflow looking at what the dialog editor, ADR, sound effects FXs) editor, foley editor and then finishing looking atr how the drama mixer brings all these elements together in the final mix.