Dialogue Editing

The dialogue edit is arguably one of the most important, if not the most important element of the overall soundtrack. Making sure it is audible, balanced with the atmos and SFX and in sync is absolutely crucial.

I took on the dialogue edit for Remember largely by myself, after having made sure prior to this that everything was in-sync with the picture.

There were two tools I used to complete the dialogue edit. The first in Izotope RX , and the second is Pro Tools built in 7-band EQ.

RX grants access to some incredible tools. The most important being the de-noise. By routing audio into de-noise, you are able to adjust the threshold and amount of reduction to eliminate any background noise. This means that your original recordings from location can be “rescued”, meaning that any ADR shouldn’t be required.


You can however push things too far, and totally destroy the original audio. To ensure we always had a copy just in case, the original dialogue recordings were left at the top of the session, and copied down into place before editing. That way, if we did use too much of the de-noise, we could delete the track and start again.

The second tool is the 7-band EQ. This was used almost globally, as a few mistakes whilst on location, be it not pointing the boom quite right, slightly off-mic speaking of talking straight down into the radio mic often meant that some of the dialogue takes had either a lot of low end or sometimes too much mid-range frequencies. The EQ meant that I could notch out certain frequencies to tidy up the dialogue. In most cases, a high-pass filter was enough to clean things up. In some cases though, more detailed EQ was required.

Another really useful tool for dialogue editing is RX Ambience Match. his is a really useful plugin to analyse a piece of audio, and return just the background noise. In some scenes of Remember, the de-noise couldn’t remove enough of the background noise before the dialogue started to become broken up. This meant that it was easier to add back in the background noise as an Atmos track to hide the noise in the location recordings.

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Mixing Research

When it comes to final mixing our films, I am in charge of completing the final of Remember. As such, I have done some research into mixing for film, as well as some of the standards that films ought to be mixed to.

As of late 2010, European broadcasters are beginning to encourage the EBU R 128 recommendation, which stands a chance of becoming a de-facto standard for Europe. France and some other countries have started using R 128 since Jan 1st 2012.

R128 is creeping its way up to becoming the absolute standard for mixing. It involves making sure that you normalise your audio to -23 LUFS. R128 measures an average loudness of the entirety of the audio, meaning that whilst you should try and maintain a consistent level all the way through, you do have room for quieter sections and louder sections, meaning you don’t have to completely squash all of the dynamic range out of your audio. Remember has some quite loud sections, particularly its street scene, where there is a lot of shouting, however since most of the film is set in a hospital, the characters tend to speak in quite hushed tones. Whilst it’s easy to turn up the quiet bits, and turn down the louder bits, this makes the film feel very unbalanced as we are constantly hopping back and forth between the hospital location and the other flashback locations.

When it comes to final mixing, I want to attempt to comply with R128, however for the sake of this audio project, it is not absolutely essential. As long as the audio is balanced, isn’t peaking and hits around -3db throughout I will be happy.

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Music Composition for Film

As my learning outcomes have pointed to, composing for film is something I really wanted to explore with this project. As we have five films to work on, all of them need music. However, my input to this process only requires composition services for one of the films, Remember.

The director has been pretty adamant with what he would like for his music, however I feel as though this certainly doesn’t fit with what the film requires. With it being a very serious film, Remember, in my opinion, needs very serious music. Whilst the main ideas I have been coming up with fit certain parts of the film, for example the introduction and credits, some of the middle-sections I feel haven’t particularly challenged me.

Remember has been very difficult to compose for, purely because each time I present a piece of music to the director, it isn’t what he wants, or he just doesn’t like it. This has gave me only one option, and has forced me into sitting the director by my side for three hours whilst I compose in front of him, constantly checking he is happy with what I have written. I have done a little composition for film before, and I am almost certain that this is not the normal way this element of the soundtrack is dealt with. However, this has resulted in a fully-scored film (if you can call it fully-scored) that the director is happy with. I, personally, am not. I had a completely different vision for the films music, however I do understand that in the real world, the director will always have the final say, so I did my best to make sure that he was happy with the music he was given, even if i feel as though it doesn’t best reflect my ability, nor does it really fit the film in parts.

I would very much like to revisit some of the music, as it has all been created using software instruments, and whilst for piano, and synthesisers this works quite well, anywhere in the film that incorporates strings sounds fake to me. Performing these parts on a real violin for example, would have sounded far better. However, given the difficulty of getting the director to accept any of the music I produced meant this wasn’t really an option as the project draws to a close.

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Time Management

One of the biggest challenges with this project has been managing our time. The best way we could think to combat this was to create a Google Calendar that we were all included into, to make sure that we all knew what facilities and/or kit we had booked each week to make sure that we could complete jobs quickly and efficiently.

As we had suffered early on into the project with having a series of bookings cancelled, this meant that every time we had a particular studio booked it was necessary to be there at the beginning of the booking and make sure we didn’t leave until the tasks had been completed. If this were in the real world, and we were hiring a studio, this is exactly how we would have to operate. If something doesn’t get done, it overruns into another booking, which then impacts the next job that is lined up.

For example, Remember had some of, but not all of its atmos created early into the project, however since this wasn’t completed at the time, it meant it needed to be done in another session, yet when it came to sorting it, we also had a series of Foley recordings to complete. This is something that for the entirety of the project needs to be managed, hence why we have a weekly meeting to discuss work completed and work to be completed. Anything that overruns into the next week becomes priority to be completed as quickly as possible, however it’s possible that sometimes tasks get a little rushed when this happens.

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Industry Research – Post-Production

The UK’s post-production sector has been a world leader in the audiovisual industries for as long as they have existed. Whether in the creative or technical spheres, its reputation as a highly innovative, high-quality sector that the UK has every right to be proud of has never been higher.
Post-production is a massive part of the film industry, and whilst a lot of the focus and attention falls onto the visual side of things, I believe it is the audio department where the biggest differences can be made to the finished quality of a film.
It’s easy to forgive a film for bad visuals providing that it has acceptable sound-quality. This works both ways, but perhaps depends which area of post you’re working in.
The actual picture for Remember didn’t quite turn out as hoped, this was due to a few different factors, not the least of which was a lack of close-up shots of particular characters. Whilst this can be put down to poor planning, it meant that we had to do the best job we could to make the audio absolute top-quality. Some of the shots in the film have characters with their backs turned to the camera, making our job very easy to either A) use a different line entirely (since you don’t see any mouth movement) or B) use the original line but tweak it to fit the scene better. Whilst the director wanted a very realistic feel to the film, this meant most of the sound was handled as such.
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