hello all

the film im working on at the moment is a real 'show don't tell' sorta deal.

my question is: in a scene without dialogue, would you still go through the dialogue editing process? ie getting smooth transitions between clips or filling problems with room tone? even know your just essentially editing room tone. or would you wipe the sound and start from scratch.

i know theres no real rule to this and i guess there will be less problems if i just wipe the audio. but what do you then do about the sound of the room? do i artificially create a blanket of room tone to fill the dead air?

im just worried if i take out all the sound and replace all the sound effects it will just sound dead and there will be nothing to fill between SFX clips.

oh yea there isn't really music either.

if it helps the room is an old blue stone stable turned bunker.

cheers Jamie

4 Answers 4


There's beauty in room tone.. You'd still want to edit out the filmmaking process.

What's outside of the frame?

  • thanks for the response. out side the room there is an occasional bomb or gunfire. but its (story wise) in a pretty secluded area. i havent even received omf yet. so i guess ill see what happens when i get it. i guess im just trying to get prepared still. thanks Sep 24, 2011 at 9:49

It depends what's in your location tracks, and how noisy they are. The imperfections from what was picked up on the day can give your scene life, but not if there was an air conditioner they wouldn't shut off, or the wrong kind of bird outside, etc.

It's up to you, but if there's nothing too ugly in there, it would be handy to have a sync fx track to pull from. I'd still recommend ADR for breaths and foley for movements, so you have more freedom in the mix, but having a cleaned up location track may help sell the scene more.

Just reread your question, and you should definitely cut in atmos tracks as well. Room tone, external wind, stuff like that. Build up every little sound of the world of the movie.


I agree with bits from all the other answers: it's basically a balance between removing evidence of the filmmaking process whilst retaining natural elements which are very hard to 100% convincingly replace artificially. In this sense, I think it is healthy to be as precious about the sync sounds of movement or breaths as you would be about sync dialogue. Also, bear in mind that everyone (ie the director & editor) may well be used to hearing the production sound, whatever it's imperfections, and so, right or wrong, may well be enotionally attached to it, so don't be too trigger happy in ditching it. My advice is, unless the sync is blatantly unusable due to set noise, etc, make it work as smooth as possible just like a dialogue scene, then split it off on to sync fx tracks then it's there as an option if needed. However! This is what spotting sessions are for! Suss out the general feeling about these scenes when you talk through the film with the director and editor. I'm sure you'll get a sense then of whether the sync from these scenes is considered something to be preserved or heightened. Good luck!

  • +1 Helps make the M&E much less of a headache too, saving all the bits of mvt and roomtone. Feb 18, 2012 at 9:14

As you didn't say there were no actors on-screen I assume there are, and in that case you most definitely want the location sound for movement and interaction. As georgi already said, roomtone is a vital element in it self, and if there are dialogue at all in the movie, the transition from talk-scenes to mute ones tend to sound freaky without something in the middle. Suppose there are no talking in the entire move, as this scene is in a bunker it's very unlikely, but for the sake of argument, you can of course always do a full foley on the movement on-screen no matter human or animal...but it's a shitload-a work and really pointless if you do have decent location sound to begin with. Though it's often (read: mostly!) nice to sweeten up existing interactions with some nice additional foleywork, just not absolutely everything :-)

When editing sound without too much to sync to though you don't really need to make too many difficult transitions. Just find the parts you do need in sync,and stretch them as far as possible/needed with a nice overlapping transition, and annoying differences in roomtone you normally hide in dialogue should be pretty much history :-)

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