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#1 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 03:49 AM

Hey everyone. I've never done a sound mix as my soundtracks have always consisted of a single track. I will have the same on my current project, so I wanted to ask what a sound mix would actually do for me in this situation since I don't have multiple tracks over-lapping in any scenes. I'm assuming it would just normalize the audio levels?...
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#2 Jay Young

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 04:54 AM

Sound mixing refers to taking all of the audio elements, or stems, and mixing them together to create a final track for the film.

In your case, if you only have dialogue, or sound effects, there may be no need to mix the separately recorded tracks together.  In some films, dialogue, music, and other sound effects are mixed so

that whatever sound needs to be prominent has a space.  Normalizing audio levels can be a part of the mixing process, but usually these things are recorded at sufficient volume as to not need the normalization process.

 

The other thing a decent mix session would do is make all of your sound recordings relative, and work with the film in a cohesive way.  Perhaps you have some sounds that are very soft and other that are very loud.  These can be used to great effect, placed in the right circumstance, but along with other sounds of medium volume, an audio engineer might be able to achieve even greater effect.

 

Why do you only have a single audio track?


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#3 Mark Dunn

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 05:12 AM

I think Bill's Steenbeck is a 4-plate. It's possible to switch over rolls, but a single roll is rather convenient if you just don't need multiple tracks.

You'd really need a pic-sync for that.


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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 05:23 AM

Once you've laid a multi track sound mix there's no going back. It's a like a Ferrari compared to a horse and cart.


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#5 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 05:44 AM

Bill,  what is on your single sound track?  Have you premixed something, transfered it to sepmag and then cut picture to that?


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#6 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 07:30 AM

As Mark said, my Steenbeck is a 4-plate capable of handling 2 audio tracks. Gregg, I'm going to wind up re-recording it, but yes...it will be sound effects, then voice-over cut to picture with nothing to overlap.
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#7 Mark Dunn

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 08:42 AM

As Mark said, my Steenbeck is a 4-plate capable of handling 2 audio tracks.

As in centre and edge track? Not 2 separate rolls of mag?

A 6-plate came up on ebay a few weeks ago for £100. It might have needed £300-worth of new belts so I passed on it.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 06 October 2015 - 08:45 AM.

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#8 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 11:43 AM

It's gonna be hard to mix on a steenbeck, the audio level controls are always so noisy. You'll have to raise and lower the volume as you playback the tracks and record them onto another locked mag machine. The other solution is to take your elements, throw it in a digital editor, mix it all and then export directly to a nice clean mag track. I found that to be the easiest and best sounding solution, unless of course you can find a few lockable mag readers and a small mixer. Usually most films need 3 tracks; dialog, effects, music and that's really hard to do with a 2 track steenbeck. If you could score a 35mm 3 track mag recorder, you could transfer each of those tracks to the 35mm mag stock. Then play it back and record the final with your single track mag recorder through a mixer.
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#9 Mark Dunn

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 12:02 PM

I don't think Bill is proposing to do that. The wow/flutter spec on a Steenbeck isn't up to, or meant for, it. The other day he was checking that he could use d/p junk film sound fill, so he's looking to a 16mm mag transfer.

Sorry Bill, I keep answering for you. You're perfectly qualified to do that yourself.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 06 October 2015 - 12:04 PM.

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#10 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 12:07 PM


As in centre and edge track? Not 2 separate rolls of mag?

A 6-plate came up on ebay a few weeks ago for £100. It might have needed £300-worth of new belts so I passed on it.

 

It's a 6-plate table - one picture track, 2 separate mag-tracks (located center & edge.)  When you said 4-plate, I thought you were asking only about the mag-tracks.

 

steenbeck.jpg

 

Tyler, I have no intention of "mixing" on the Steenbeck.  My question was whether or not I truly needed any kind of mix in the first place, since everything is on one single track with no audio transitions.  I haven't had the need for it with previous projects and the audio for this project is very similar in nature.  If I do wind up needing a mix, it would be done at a lab and finished into a .WAV file.


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#11 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 12:17 PM

Yea I mean, if you can set the audio sliders to one position and it sounds OK with the two tracks, you may be ok.

You can always check it before making the optical track.
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#12 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 03:38 PM

As Mark said, my Steenbeck is a 4-plate capable of handling 2 audio tracks. Gregg, I'm going to wind up re-recording it, but yes...it will be sound effects, then voice-over cut to picture with nothing to overlap.

 

During an edit one might chose to have some sound assembled on one track for simplicity,  knowing that those elements will need to be cut on separate tracks to better enable the mix.  Each element can then be altered separately.  On a physical sepmag mix down that makes it fairly straight forward, once the elements are separated.  Otherwise,  with a single track you may have problems that you just can't easily fix.  Bad transitions being the most obvious thing.  One might think that a VO is one track,  but depending on how it is recorded and cut it may need two.

 

In the old days,  if you were cutting sound for a personal project,  then separating the elements out into multiple tracks saved time hence money in the mix studio.  The hardware and working process in the mix studio would determine how many tracks you might choose. 

 

In your "re-recording" are you starting from scratch or are you going to take the track you are cutting with and manipulate that digitally?

 

Does anyone in NY still have a 16mm sepmag mixdown setup?  It may be a group of lockable machines,  or,  one or more16mm machines so you transfer your 16mm onto a 35mm or other wide format mag tape.


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#13 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 09:30 AM

In your "re-recording" are you starting from scratch or are you going to take the track you are cutting with and manipulate that digitally?

 

Hi Gregg.

 

The levels were just a little low the first time around, so I'm going to re-record the entire track. 


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#14 Mark Dunn

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 10:41 AM

Ooh, jealousy, I'd certainly have room for a 1901! Hope the belts are good.

If you have effects on one roll, and v/o on the other, you can do a trial "listen only"  mix with the volume sliders. I don't see it on your sound panel, but if it's got the "phones" output mine has, you could even record  it as a guide.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 07 October 2015 - 10:41 AM.

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#15 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 05:00 PM

... Gregg, I'm going to wind up re-recording it, but yes...it will be sound effects, then voice-over cut to picture with nothing to overlap.

 

I find the questions underlying this thread trickey because so much depends on the nature of the project and the nature of what's in the sound.

 

Though you may be able to assemble all the elements of your sound into a single track,  how do you get a master from that?  Adjusting levels,  softening transitions,  bridging between elements,  cleaning or reshaping particular elements....all things you normally need to do.  All gets easy if the elements are separated into separate tracks.

 

I have to be honest and say that it's likely that you have to cut or lay tracks and then mix,  though it's not impossible that you have a project that will allow you to not. 

 

Even if the elements are sparse and well spaced out on a single track you probably need a session with a good sound guy to ride levels and try to smooth transitions.  Except that on a single track there's nothing to bridge that,  so,  he will have to make some additional tracks to do that.  So it's a mix,  either sepmag or digital.  Unless it's an unusual film,  where a rough sound is OK,  hard transitions and ocassional total silence are OK.

 

Or you may choose to re-record your VO and effects live like a foley, on a single track and that's your master.  This actually sounds like fun,  if it was multi-tracked on tape.

 

My vote would be for laying tracks and sitting in on a mix.  Once committed to that you have more freedom in your edit,  manipulating the relationship of picture and sound elements.  If you can find a sepmag mix or sepmag to multitrack tape mix facility somewhere,  then cutting sepmag sound is not hard.  Organizing and planning your tracks,  writing up the mix cues...some people on the forum will help if you need.

 

I have to say,  cutting 16mm tracks for your own project and sitting in on the mix in a decent studio is huge fun.

 

Cheers,
Gregg


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#16 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 05:21 PM

....Usually most films need 3 tracks; dialog, effects, music and that's really hard to do with a 2 track steenbeck. If you could score a 35mm 3 track mag recorder, you could transfer each of those tracks to the 35mm mag stock. Then play it back and record the final with your single track mag recorder through a mixer.

 

Three tracks would have been very limiting.  Maybe ok for certain projects.  I think four or five locked 16mm machines giving eight or so available tracks was common here at the TV stations,  where anyone could buy time.  Some commercial studios transfered sepmag onto wide format multitrack that was electronically locked,  no sprockets. 

 

If the mix down infrastructure is all but gone,  then maybe sepmag onto some sort of multitrack tape is one way to go.


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#17 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 05:22 PM

 

I find the questions underlying this thread trickey because so much depends on the nature of the project and the nature of what's in the sound.

 

Though you may be able to assemble all the elements of your sound into a single track,  how do you get a master from that?  Adjusting levels,  softening transitions,  bridging between elements,  cleaning or reshaping particular elements....all things you normally need to do.  All gets easy if the elements are separated into separate tracks.

 

I have to be honest and say that it's likely that you have to cut or lay tracks and then mix,  though it's not impossible that you have a project that will allow you to not. 

 

Even if the elements are sparse and well spaced out on a single track you probably need a session with a good sound guy to ride levels and try to smooth transitions.  Except that on a single track there's nothing to bridge that,  so,  he will have to make some additional tracks to do that.  So it's a mix,  either sepmag or digital.  Unless it's an unusual film,  where a rough sound is OK,  hard transitions and ocassional total silence are OK.

 

Or you may choose to re-record your VO and effects live like a foley, on a single track and that's your master.  This actually sounds like fun,  if it was multi-tracked on tape.

 

My vote would be for laying tracks and sitting in on a mix.  Once committed to that you have more freedom in your edit,  manipulating the relationship of picture and sound elements.  If you can find a sepmag mix or sepmag to multitrack tape mix facility somewhere,  then cutting sepmag sound is not hard.  Organizing and planning your tracks,  writing up the mix cues...some people on the forum will help if you need.

 

I have to say,  cutting 16mm tracks for your own project and sitting in on the mix in a decent studio is huge fun.

 

Cheers,
Gregg

 

Thanks, Gregg.  I think I'll know whether or not I need a mix when I hear how things cut together.  But I tend to agree with you that a mix would be the best way to go, regardless of how straight-forward the track is.

 

One problem I've had is finding someplace - with reasonable prices - that I can do a sound mix in NYC.  I'm sure they're here, but all of the ones that I've been referred to have their main facilities out of state.

 

If anyone can recommend someplace in NYC, I'd appreciate it.


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#18 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 08:38 PM

Three tracks would have been very limiting.  Maybe ok for certain projects.  I think four or five locked 16mm machines giving eight or so available tracks was common here at the TV stations,  where anyone could buy time.  S


Yep it sure is! However, for Bill's film where he only has 2 tracks right now, it made some sense. Plus, he's probably able to find a 35mm mag machine for rent or sale for peanuts. We threw away 10 of them recently, I was crying the whole time, wishing I could fit one into my BMW M Roadster... yea, it doesn't fit. :)
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#19 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 10:30 PM

You'll have to give your roadster to your wife and get a truck eh.


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#20 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 12:50 PM

You'll have to give your roadster to your wife and get a truck eh.


ROFL!!! Long story, but yea... wish that was the case! :(
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