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 5: Analog Film Mix

Analog magnetic film recorderAfter all of the elements had been assembled onto separate reels and checkerboarded, the sound was ready for "re-recording", "mixdown", or "dubbing"--as the process was referred to. Although some people also think of foreign language replacement as "dubbing", that is not the correct usage of the term. In Hollywood, "dubbing" means mixdown--not A.D.R. and not language replacement.

Chapter 6: Post Production in the Digital Age

Avid Media Composer Although the technology used for editing a "video" is pretty much the same, low-budget production companies often do not take the same care with "video" that they would with "film." Location production may be rushed and understaffed, with less attention being paid to sound and lighting. It is not that the technology is different (many films are actually shot in high res video, as you know), but the attitude of the production company.

Chapter 7: In Summary

canyonThere are four basic elements of a motion picture or video soundtrack: narration, music, sound effects, and dialogue.

Narration can be recorded sync to picture, where the narrator comments on what is being projected, as it is being projected. The other method, which is the preferred way of doing things, is to record the narration wild from a script and to edit the lines in opposite the appropriate footage.