As part of this project, we created a survey to give to our film groups to gather feedback based on our services given to them.

The overall results are very positive, which goes to show that we achieved what we set out to, deliver 5 films at a high quality.

The results for Remember are as follows:

On the scaled questions, the order is ‘very poor’; ‘poor’; ‘okay’; ‘good’; ‘exceptional’.

The director said that he was satisfied with our services. Rating us ‘okay’ for pre-production communication when it came to understanding their requirements. Rating us ‘exceptional’ for our location recording services. And then rating us good for the music composition, Foley/SFX and the final mix/delivery.

I think that this feedback is more than fair. This film was always going to be one of the most demanding and most difficult films to work on, especially once we moved into post. As the supervisor of this film, I am a little disappointed that we weren’t rated at least ‘good’ on all services. However, the only time we were rated lower was during pre-production, which we didn’t have a great deal of involvement in as at this stage, the idea of working on 5 films together had not even been thought of, and I was very unsure if I would even be taking on just this film alone.

The comments given suggested that the music composition was the favoured part of the overall soundtrack, which is very pleasing considering how difficult this process was. However, noting issues with missing lines of dialogue, (which I am yet to actually find) as well as issues with some of the atmos being too loud meant that we didn’t quite get it right with this film. Whilst two different mixes were produced, one delivered to the director for him to re-sync after making changes, and one delivered for our hand-in, it can be said that the former is of a lower standard.

The plan is to deliver the new mix, however this has yet to be discussed with the film team.

I am pleased to note that the director says he would work with us again, and would recommend our services to others. Success!

Feedback is absolutely essential to make sure we are doing the right job, and we have been constantly asking for it from our film groups throughout the entire project, ensuring that we have always been on track and producing what the director wants. It’s very easy to go off and produce the soundtrack you think the film needs, but not what the director wants. In the real world, the director is always going to have the final say, so we made sure throughout this process that we always delivered, whilst still trying to work in some creativity of our own.

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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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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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