Audio in Post-Production

Photo by Thomas Le on Unsplash

In the era of digital technology, creative advertisements and new films being released nearly every single week, sound plays a massive part in our daily life. Newspapers and magazines are no longer the only source of news and ads that promote new products. Now, the most important things happen on the screen – small or big. Despite being surrounded by sounds accompanying every ad and playing a major part in movies, not many of us actually realise what is the workflow behind creating audio. In this article, we want to look closer at audio in post-production and discuss some of the most essential roles in this field.

 

What is Audio Post-Production?

Audio Post Production is essentially all the stages of audio production, beginning with producing the sound to synchronizing it with moving picture – so anything from film and TV to any kind of video. Audio Post Production involves many steps, and therefore requires people of different skillsets. It is a complicated process that includes anything from sound design, audio effects, voice-over, Foley or sound editing and mixing. Sound post production is one of the final steps of the process after filming is finished and normally happens once the motion picture is edited.

 

Audio Post Production in Film

It is hard to imagine films without a sound – how odd would it be sitting in the cinema and watching an action film without loud blasts and other special sound effects. Audio post production guarantees that the designed sound is synchronised with the moving picture. Audio production happens not only during the filming, but mostly at post-production and applies to TV, cinema and commercials. One of the crucial aspects of audio post-production is ADR – automatic dialogue replacement. Quite often the original production audio lack the quality, which means it needs to be replaced with a better one. Actors are brought then to the studio to record the dialogue or just bits of it, that are then synced with the moving image. Elements such as voiceover, soundtrack and special sound effects are also added during post production process.

 

Most important roles in Audio Post-Production

Audio post production wouldn’t be possible without a team of skilled people. The number of people and their exact jobs differentiate from project to project – team in TV post-production will be slightly different to the one working on advertisement or feature film.

 

Audio / Voice-Over Producer

Audio Producers in Production and Advertising Agencies tend to work with a wide range of clients and brands. Their main task is producing voice-overs for TV commercials, online content and radio, often working with multiple languages. Audio Producers need to be prepared to manage multiple audio projects at the same time and organise casting for voice-over talent and direct the sessions. Apart from that they also need to focus on more admin work such as budgeting and estimating for global campaigns, and taking care of scheduling. People who want to work as audio producers need to have a good knowledge of the industry, especially media usage and rights. This role involves a lot of negotiating fees and estimating costs of projects, so it combines both artistic side of post-production and more organizational one.

 

Sound Editor

Those are the people responsible for sorting out the existing audio, making sure it is organised, cleaned up and enhanced. There are various roles in sound editing, including:

  • Dialogue Editors – responsible for spoken word, those editors ensure that the dialogue is smooth and free from unwanted sounds. They also check the mics for quality and fix technical problems;
  • Music Editors – take care of music in a scene by adjusting the edits and working closely with composer on a project;
  • Sound FX Editors – focus on non-language sounds, using ready sound effects that are in their library or recording specialized sounds if needed. Sound FX Editors are responsible for anything from explosion sound to car engines or guns, but also audio for non-existent creatures or visual effects in supernatural or fantasy movies;
  • Sound Supervisors – as the name suggests, they supervise the whole crew on the project and work very closely with producers, directors and video editors. If the project is quite big, there may be multiple Sound Supervisors responsible for different elements, for example Dialogue Supervisor.

 

Mixers
  • ADR Mixer – it is a person responsible for recording actors in the studio. They are often called ADR Engineers as they adjust mics and supervise the synchronisation between actors’ lip movements on the screen and new recorded audio;
  • Foley Mixers – those people are responsible for recording certain non-speaking sounds. It is usually a Foley engineer working closely with a Foley artist – the first one records it, while the second one makes the actual sound. Their work includes creating footsteps, eating, touching, etc.
  • Re-recording Mixers – their work is done at the end of the project as they combine all sound elements. They put together dialogue, voice-over, Foley, Sound FX and music into one complete project by adjusting the levels of those sounds. Depending on the size of the project, it may be one person or a bigger team.

 

Audio Post-Production is actually more complicated than one may think and there are a lot of steps to it. As a creative recruitment agency in London, we work with many people who are part of this creative process. This article is just a glimpse to the magical world of sound within the media that surrounds us.

 

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts on audio post-production, please get in touch with our Creative Resourcer Magda via magda@yellowcat.london

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