Sound is actually half the picture, so it’s just as pivotal to pay attention to the sound editing phase whilst working on an audiovisual project.
One of the most important aspects a sound professional needs to focus on whilst editing a scene is trying to clean up the dialogue as much as possible by applying an EQ filter. As mentioned in other blog posts, there are many techniques that can help audio and sound professionals make the most out of the tracks they’re given during the post-production stage.
For example, if the tracks you’re working on happen to have a lot of hum in the background, you could tone down the low-shelf frequency and subsequently adjust the mid-shelf to turn the dialogue into a more crispy version of the one you received earlier. Additionally, use volume key-framing for achieving a more granular and detailed work and for reducing the number of sound distractions between one still and the next.
n short: the whole idea behind the sound post-production process is to create the perfect environment for the story that is being told through the moving images.
Once at least one sequence of moving images has been taken care of, begin to develop the storytelling by adding some atmospheric sounds and sound effects. Of course, this step highly depends on the nature of the story you’re working on, but normally the aforementioned advice can always be applied to some extent.
Atmospheric sound and sound effects will help you smooth out every cut, and also it can definitely improve timing by compensating for what seems to be lacking in the motion picture. At this stage, is normally a good idea to alternate between working with the picture crew editing the moving images and sound until they meet somewhere in the middle of what the director is expecting.
Pro tip: always pay special attention to the overall pace of the moving images. Remember sound and audio are a means to an end —creating, enhancing and improving the storytelling will achieve a seamless transition between scenes.
But how to create the perfect atmosphere and environment for a film? Many audio and sound professionals have an extensive and massive sound effects library, and they always experiment with these effects looking for the perfect atmosphere and the perfect environment with one single purpose in mind: create a world off the back of the moving images and the film.
Depending on the nature of every film, you can either create your own signature sounds or resort to your library; however, everything ultimately depends on what the director wants. If he or she wants a story that is set in an arid environment with no animals, trees, insects or other living species besides human beings, then as a sound professional you will need to create such atmosphere by including, for example, the sounds of different winds and sea waves to develop a compelling environment.
Think of the sea slowly getting louder and the wind gradually gaining speed. That, for example, could be used to add more intensity to a specific scene, and the audience will perceive it as credible and will be guided by their own emotions —which is ultimately the main goal.
Also, if the project includes a soundtrack, you need to be extra careful. Audio professionals traditionally wait until they have finished the cut in its entirety before incorporating music to it. Let’s take a much closer look: if a scene’s pace is adequate, then the music will fit in just right; however, you cannot compensate for inadequate pacing or simply try to create a new one from scratch simply by adding music tracks —either way, the result is far from being what the film requires.
Another key area of sound and sound design is sound effects. Normally, before having the final mix, sound designers use all the sound effects placed during the editing state as a reference guide.
*The images used on this post are taken from Pexels.com