Audio Post Production for Film and TV

Author: Mark Cross | Course Code: OMPRD-389

The growing innovation of digital technology in media has changed the perspective on audio post production for film and television. The post production industry is now driven by the advent of digital audio, video and effects within digital audio workstations. Despite this imploding digital revolution, the one thing that remains consistent is the need for individuals thoroughly educated in the process and applications of this technology and evolving into technicians with creative problem solving skills.

Audio Post Production for Film and TV will teach you the specific techniques and strategies used by working professionals during the post-production process. You will learn how to spot, edit, and assemble dialogue, sound effects, foley, and music, in addition to mixing and prepping the audio for film and television using the industry standard, Pro Tools. The course begins with a real-world overview of audio post production, including its evolution, methods, sound crew, and media formats. It then explores techniques and tips for recording location sound, using sound effects libraries, editing production dialogue, and directing and recording a foley session. You will learn strategies for working with composers and music supervisors, how to edit songs to fit a scene, and how to record and mix score music. In addition, you will learn how to assemble a pre-dub or temp mix (to group and sub-mix tracks into stems for the final dub), create the final dub, and prepare the mix for foreign distribution and final delivery. Contributors to the course material have worked on television and film productions such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Hills, Cider House Rules, U2 Rattle and Hum, Rescue Me, Grey's Anatomy, and many more.

Throughout the course, you will have numerous opportunities to apply the techniques you are learning to real-world situations. By the end of the course, you will have completed full audio post-production, including sound design (sound effects), foley, dialogue, and music for a short film or portion of a film. In addition, you will have acquired the knowledge and skills needed to gain employment in this fast-paced and exciting industry.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the roles of participants in film production
  • Understand the workings and flow of the post production industry
  • Synchronize audio to video and filmrecord and edit location sound
  • Integrate sound effects
  • Record and edit ADR (replacement dialogue)
  • Create and edit foley effects
  • Mix and edit musiccreate a mix for foreign distribution
  • Archive and deliver a final mix

Lesson 1: Introduction to Post Production

  • Audio Post Production Overview
  • Assessing the Post Elements in a QuickTime Movie
  • The History and Evolution of Sound for Film and Theater
  • Basic Pro Tools Set Up for Post Production
  • Importing a QuickTime Movie into Your Pro Tools Session

Lesson 2: Post Production in Depth

  • The Process, Methods, Tools, and People of Production and Post Production
  • Post Production Media
  • Digital Audio File Formats
  • Film and Video Formats and Applications
  • Synchronization
  • Ensuring that the SMPTE Reader in Pro Tools and QuickTime are the Exact Same

Lesson 3: Location Sound Recording

  • The Process, Methods, and Tools of Location Sound
  • Introduction to the Location Sound Crew
  • In Depth Look at Transfers
  • Reviewing and Assessing the Location Sound Schedule for a Feature Film

Lesson 4: Working with SFX and SFX Libraries

  • Introduction to Sound FX and SFX CD
  • Transferring SFX to Computer and Managing Data with Workspace
  • Spotting SFX
  • Importing and Creating a Palette of SFX for a Project
  • Backgrounds and Room Tones
  • Spotting/Identifying Backgrounds for a QuickTime Movie
  • Spotting, Editing, and Assembling SFX and Backgrounds for a QuickTime Movie

Lesson 5: Production Dialogue and ADR/Dialogue Replacement

  • Introduction to Production Dialogue and ADR
  • Setting Up a Pro Tools Session for ADR
  • Production Dialogue and Checker Boarding within Pro Tools
  • Presentation of ADR with regards to Production Dialogue
  • Identifying/Spotting Expletives in a QuickTime Movie and Listing Them on the ADR Cue Sheet
  • Preparing Physical Studio Space for Voice Recording
  • Recording Voice Over for Announcer in a QuickTime Movie

Lesson 6: Identifying and Creating Foley SFX

  • Introduction to Foley
  • Preparing a Pro Tools Session for Multiple Passes of Foley FX
  • Spotting Foley and Creating Cue Sheets
  • Spotting and Preparing to Record Foley for a Simple Scene
  • Preparing a Physical Studio Space for Foley Recording
  • Directing and Recording a Foley Session
  • Recording Spotted Foley for a QuickTime Movie

Lesson 7: Temp and Source Music Editing for Film and TV

  • Introduction to Music Editing
  • Assessing the Music Elements of a QuickTime Movie
  • Presentation of Temp and Source Music
  • Placing Temp and Source Music in a QuickTime Movie
  • Techniques for Editing Temp Music
  • Choosing from the Music Provided and Placing/Editing Temp and Source Music for a QuickTime Movie

Lesson 8: Mixing Music for Film and Television

  • Introduction to Score Music and the Participants
  • Creating a Pro Tools Template for Mixing Music in Stems
  • The Process of Score Mixing
  • Identifying Music Score Music in the QuickTime Movie and Note the Pre-Records Used with the Orchestra
  • Using Pro Tools as a Platform for Recording and Mixing Music for Film and Television
  • Applying the Pro Tools Music Mixing Template to the Score Provided and Set Up for a Mix
  • Mixing the Music Score Elements for a QuickTime Movie

Lesson 9: The Pre Dub/Temp Mix

  • Assessing the Post Production Elements for a Movie Clip Prepared by Editorial (Foley, SFX, Backgrounds, Dialogue, ADR, Walla, Music Score, and Source)
  • Interview with Three Working Professionals on the Applications and Benefits of Pre Dubs
  • Trimming, Editing, and Leveling to Clean Up the Post Production Elements for a QuickTime Movie
  • Track Organization Techniques
  • Pre Dub (Editing, Cleaning, Organizing, and Creating a More Manageable Track Count) for the Elements of a Quick Time Movie

Lesson 10: The Final Dub

  • Introduction to the Final Dub and Presentation of Dub Stages Big and Small
  • Templates for Different Scenarios
  • Creating a Stereo Template for a Final Film Mix
  • Plugins for Mixing Dialogue, Music, and Effects
  • Augmenting the Template for Dialogue, SFX, and Music Units
  • Introduction to Advanced Templates
  • Creating an Advanced Template for a Final Dub
  • Creating a Final Mix for the Elements for a QuickTime Movie
  • Advanced Pro Tools Template Creation for Final Dubs
  • Creating a Final Mix for a QuickTime Movie

Lesson 11: The M&E Mix (Music and Effects Mix for Foreign Distribution) 

  • Introduction to the M&E
  • Identifying and Documenting Any Discernible English Dialogue from the Music and Effects Stems
  • Different M&E Scenarios, Situations, and Techniques
  • Effectively Removing Any Discernible English Dialogue from the Music and Effects Stems
  • Mix Techniques Used to Breathe Life Back into the M&E
  • Identifying and Documenting Holes in the Mix Created by the Lack of Production Dialogue
  • Replacing/Recreating All Discernible English in Music and Effects Stems/Gap Filling Techniques
  • Creating an M&E Mix from the Print Master and Stems from Lesson 10

Lesson 12: Delivery and Archiving

  • Deliverables, Formats, and Deadlines
  • Preparing Deliverables in Pro Tools
  • Testing
  • Verifying Functionality Deliverables
  • Final Implementation and Delivery
  • Preparing Sound Assets
  • Delivering the Print Master, M&E, and Stems of a QuickTime Project and Verifying and Finalizing Final Audio Paperwork

Mark Cross

Author & Instructor

Mark Cross is a successful producer, composer, and mixer with an extensive discography in both film and television that spans over two decades. He currently composes for the NBC prime-time hit show Last Comic Standing, and contributes additional music to the Fox prime-time hit series American Idol, HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, Kathy Griffin's My Life on the D List (on Bravo), and Denise Richards's It's Complicated (on E!).

Other recent projects include composing for NASA and The X-Prize Foundation, scoring the award-winning short Undefended for the Directors Guild of America, and working with James Newton Howard, Martin Davich, and Youssou N'Dour on the score for I Bring What I Love, a documentary on N'Dour's career, focusing on his controversial Grammy-winning album Egypt.

Cross has created musical themes for Nickelodeon's Wow Wow Wubbzy, the Seinfeld Season 8 DVD, as well as producing and performing with Grammy winner John Legend on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. He has worked on numerous albums, film scores, and television episodes, including the Grammy-winning I Am Shelby Lynne, Randy Newman's Oscar-nominated and Grammy-winning CARS and Meet the Parents score and soundtracks, along with mixing hundreds of episodes of the NBC prime-time show ER. Cross has been a voting NARAS member (Grammy Awards) since 2000 and served in the NARAS Producers & Engineers Wing from 2007 to present (he is currently Committee Chair). He now sits on the 2008-2010 NARAS Board of Governors.

Prerequisites

Completion of Pro Tools 101 and Pro Tools 110, or equivalent knowledge or experience is required. Students must be proficient working within Pro Tools and have the ability to perform basic recording, editing, and mixing tasks.


Required Textbooks

None required


Software Requirements

  • Pro Tools 10 or higher
  • Customized SFX Library "The Edge Edition 2" from The Hollywood Edge
  • Mac Web Browser: Firefox (Recommended), Chrome, or Safari
  • PC Web Browser: Firefox (Recommended), Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Edge
  • Flash Player (if using the Record Live tool)



Hardware Requirements

All Users

  • Pro Tools-compatible audio interface
  • Microphone to record dialogue, foley, and custom sound effects, such as the AKG 414, Rode NTK, Audio Technica 4030, Neuman KM84, Sennheiser 416, or Shure SM57
  • High quality headphones (Sony 7506 or equivalent)
  • 2 GB RAM, 4 GB RAM recommended (Pro Tools 12 requires 8 GB)
  • For detailed system requirements, check the Avid Support Page

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.7 or higher
  • Webcam

PC Users

  • Windows 7 or higher
  • Webcam



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Next Term Starts September 26


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  • Duration
    12 weeks
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