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Series - Elements of the Soundtrack

Elements of the SoundtrackThis series of articles serves as the starting point in understanding the role and construction of the soundtrack for film and video production. It covers the basic aesthetics of a Hollywood soundtrack, starting from its early history to its modern incarnation in the digital age. In addition, we present a general overview of an average audio post-production workflow.

 


Chapter 1: The Soundtrack, Past and Present

Category: Series - Elements of the Soundtrack Last Updated on August 24, 2011 Fred Ginsburg

35mm film audio macroIn Hollywood, we have a saying, "You live or die in the dailies!" Because that is when the producer evaluates the performance of the entire crew. In the real world, where time is money, no one is going to wait until the first cut (six weeks after the end of production) to make a decision. Technicians and even Directors will be gone before their next pay check if their work doesn't shine in that screening room or on that video playback monitor! A Sound Mixer whose tracks are consistently unusable, whose material always sounds like it will need a lot of sweetening or fixing up later--is not going to be kept around!

Read more: Chapter 1: The Soundtrack, Past and Present

Chapter 2: Elements of the Soundtrack

Category: Series - Elements of the Soundtrack Last Updated on August 11, 2015 Fred Ginsburg

sound effectsMuch of what a Production Mixer does is based upon his or her assessment of what will be needed later on during post-production (editing & final mixdown). With that in mind, let’s begin with a brief overview of “post” and work our way back to the production side of things. Key elements include Narration, Music, Sound Effects, and Dialogue.

Read more: Chapter 2: Elements of the Soundtrack

Chapter 3: Production Sound

Category: Series - Elements of the Soundtrack Last Updated on August 24, 2011 Fred Ginsburg

production soundWhat is Production Sound? It can be defined as  the complex craft of recording live dialogue and sound effects on the set during principal production of a motion picture or video. By complex craft, we mean a blend of artistic as well as technical skills. Not only must the sound mixer be creative, but he or she must also master the electronic hardware and skillsets necessary to capture good location audio.

Read more: Chapter 3: Production Sound

Chapter 4: Post Production, Analog

Category: Series - Elements of the Soundtrack Last Updated on August 24, 2011 Fred Ginsburg

nagraAfter the production tracks had been recorded in the field, the ¼-inch audiotape (such as from a Nagra) were sent back to the lab or studio for transfer to either 16mm or 35mm sprocketed magnetic film. This initial transfer was a critical stage for the audio (and the person who recorded it), since a poor transfer could easily induce lots of distortion.

Read more: Chapter 4: Post Production, Analog

About Us

This website is intended as an educational resource for those interested in video and film production. Our specialty is Production Sound Recording (location sound), although we are also versed in other aspects of production, from pre to post.

 

Our mission is not to sell you equipment, but to help you to master the complex craft of location audio recording for video and film.

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