Making your film sound great. part 2


Before you begin equalizing your dialogue, soundtrack, or the entire mix, there are a few things to keep in mind about frequency ranges. To avoid a muddy mix, it’s important that each track’s sonic range of frequency is balanced to allow all audio components enough frequency space to breathe. See the image below for a more visual explanation (click for larger view)


The human voice generally sits smack in the middle of the frequency range. Therefore: you can cut the top and bottom of all the dialogue. A low-pass and high-pass filter is generally what you want to use. This eliminates all of the low and high frequencies that are not necessary for the human voice’s frequency spectrum: the low rumble of a your generator that perhaps was too close to the set, a big truck driving by, or even the movement of your boom operator’s fingers on his pole. To eliminate these cut below 100 Hz and above 10 KHz.

Always EQ the dialogue with the entire mix playing so that you’re not soloing the tracks and working in the dark. Otherwise this can create problems with dialogue clarity in the entire mix. Below are a few tips and tweaks when addressing your dialogue (reverse for opposite effect):

  • Male fullness= Boost 120 Hz
  • Female fullness= Boost 240 Hz
  • General Dialogue= Boost 2.5KHz
  • Nasally dialogue= Cut between 2 KHz – 4KHz
  • Male sibilance=  Cut between 4KHz – 6 KHz
  • Female sibilance= Cut between 6KHz – 8KHz
  • Increase vocal presence= Boost 5KHz


Early reflections to the human voice can contribute a great deal of presence and realism that EQ simply cannot recreate. Placing the dialogue in the correct acoustical space is a crucial element to obtaining good sound design and a solid mix. This is especially true for ADR work.

Because of the different types of reverbs and effects, the decisions you make creating your acoustical space will vary drastically from each scene, person, and the placement of your actor in relation to the camera angle. For example, your actor may be speaking directly at the camera, then completely turn his/her back to the camera speaking into the distance. Remember, the camera is the audience’s point of view.

So, how would you best demonstrate this in your mix? Usually by automating the volume, reverb, and low-pass filter to the desired effect. EQ is your friend here too. But again, there are no rules. Generally, you want a far-sounding verb and a near-sounding verb on your reverb busses to obtain the correct atmospheric mix.


We take in a huge variety of noises and sounds in our everyday lives. The sound designer is always taking advantage of these opportunities, consistently thinking outside the box. They are continually scheming and searching for the best way to create engaging soundscapes through experimentation.



What is audio post production and how does it work? part 1

Audio post-production is the process of creating the soundtrack for a visual program of some kind. Now this has been relevant ever since silent movies began to talk, and filmmakers have been looking to control and improve the sound of their creation to better engulf their viewers. As soon as film-makers realized there was a way to control and enhance the sound of their pictures, audio post was born, and has been a vital part ever since. In Television, audio was originally “live”, but as TV evolved, and the art form grew to include “videotaped” and “filmed” programming, the need for audio post increased. Nowadays, it would be difficult to find any feature film or television show that hasn’t been through audio post.

     According to audio post usually consists of several processes: Production Dialogue Editing, ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement), Sound Effects, Foley Recording, Music Composition and music editing, and Mixing. In order for the production audio recorded on the set or on location to be mixed the proper way, a Dialogue Editor needs to prepare it. This means that he has to locate the proper take from the recorded production audio, check the sync on screen (so it actually works with the picture properly and when the actor speaks the words are matched to his lips), and eliminate excess noise so the Mixer has clear and clean dialogue to use during the Mix.

     In cases where the production audio is too noisy, or otherwise unusable (bad line reading, or some uncontrollable noise interferes with on site recording,etc.) the Dialogue Editor will “cue” the line for ADR. This means replacing that line or lines of dialogue using the Automated process of Dialogue Replacement. This process takes place using a recording studio where the actor can record lines in sync with the picture. Once a replacement line of dialogue has been recorded, the editor will check the sync carefully, editing the take if need be, to precisely match it to the picture, and prepare it for the mixing stage. This process is also known as “looping”. So now that dialogue editing and ADR are out of the way, ever wonder how they made the sound of Darth Vader’s helmet breath, or the Empire’s Tie Fighters, or that famous light saber sound? Sound Effects Editors and Sound Designers are how. The process of adding sound effects (backgrounds like: air,lighting, rivers, birds, dog, cats, traffic, and hard effects like: gunshots, door slams, body falls, grunts, explosions, etc.) has been the go to of sound effects editors for years. Although originally edited using 35mm magnetic film, recent years have seen the development of many different Digital Sound Editing systems. More and more projects are using digital technology ( Pro-tools, Logic, abelton) because of the efficiency and quality it can bring to sound effects. Sound Designers use digital and analogue technology to create sound effects that have never been heard before, or to artistically create specific “mood” sounds to complement the director’s vision of the visuals.