Quick little question. Doing some Dial editing and in some scenes the production sound guy recorded things way too low. The 12db of gain I get from the trim plugin in PT just is not enough. Do you all drop that plugin 2x to get extra gain or use a different plugin like eq to grab some more gain out of it?

4 Answers 4


If the dailies across the board are like that, yes, I'll drop trims on all the tracks as necessary to get them to a -18 to -12 level (so as to leave my volume automation at unity). It's a sort of "re-calibration" of the dialogue track of sorts so the faders aren't having to sit way up at +12.

Although I would be very suspicious of those dailies if they require greater than +12 amplification, especially if what you you're using is the OMF and you accidentally printed the clip automation or something of that nature. I've had to raise the OMF levels globally by about 6-8 dB sometimes (usually though I'm having to lower it by 6-8 dB), but greater than 12 seems very insane at first glance.

  • I put trim in usually right away on all dial tracks, because I want faders at unity all the way until mix stage. In this specific case, it is definitely prod sound fault. I checked them against raw files from that day. It was one day on a shoot where the normal sound guy did not make it due to unscheduled pickups. The replacement just had everything too low across the board Oct 19, 2011 at 1:54
  • Ouch, sorry to hear that. Hopefully they were using something like a SD 7xx recorder where you might fair an okay chance of amp'ing the DX a lot without too much inherent noisefloor. This is where the Waves C4 can be you're friend though :) Oct 19, 2011 at 6:41
  • Nope. Close-ish. 416+Senny G2 with countryman b3 > SD302 > Tascam HD p2. I know because production used my rig for it. :( I was able to gain it up enough, without too much problem actually. Yeah The unmentioned normal sound guy was me, funny thing is I can really hear the difference between stuff I did and Stuff someone else did. Oct 19, 2011 at 8:41

If you don't want to use two insert slots for the Trims, you can use the Time Adjuster Short plugin. It has +24dB of gain on it. The only minor drawback is that it shifts everything by 4 samples.

  • Does delay compensation correct that? I have not quite figured out how it works, I know it works on avids live consoles, but I have not been able to hear an instance when I tried where PT9 actually delayed tracks to match up to the delay on tracks/buses with plugins. Their live consoles do a great job of it but I have issues with it when I try it in PT Oct 19, 2011 at 8:44
  • As far as I know, delay compensation does correct the 4 samples if you have it enabled. I'm not sure how ADC works in PT9 as I have no experience with it yet. The system I work on is PT HD 7.4. Oct 20, 2011 at 17:30

Normalize the files and then reduce the gain.

  • This is the quickest way to destructively unbalance all of your backfill roomtone levels across a scene. Its the equivalent to in-camera automatic gain control, a seasoned dialogue editors/premixers worst nightmare to untangle. I would personally not recommend this approach for a proper dialogue edit. Oct 22, 2011 at 23:33
  • No personal offense or anything of that nature, it's just not a great idea while on the surface it may seem okay to do. Oct 22, 2011 at 23:35
  • I am using it all the time, when I am dealing with too low recorded material. Of course the files are then unbalanced, but that is what dialogue editing is there for in the first place. At the end of the day, no matter what material you are dealing with, you will have to balance out every word and sound event individually anyway and then adjust the roomtone. But here you are now dealing with files with which you can easily do this with simple editing. In Nuendo you can also just process a specific amount of gain to every sound event if you want to. I think Pro Tools 10 can do this now as well
    – Sound1844
    Oct 23, 2011 at 11:26

Tried to reply directly to @Stavrosound, but could not find a way to do it. Will not normalizing it just gain it so that the highest peak will be ~0 dB?

  • Yes, it will so it won't have a chance to clip, but say you have a scene with angles 45A, 45B, 45C. Each of those has 3 takes, so 9 files in all. The mixer will have set his level so that across everything, the noisefloor will sound similar (and for each take of an angle, the noisefloor will be identical in timbre and level. As dialogue editors, we depend upon this and it allows us to backfill and prepare scenes. But since each individal file has different loudness content, the normalization will be different, meaking the noise floor between each individual file will NOT be consistant. Oct 23, 2011 at 1:06
  • So it means extra tracks, extra edits, extra volume adjustments, extra premix time... leading to extra money and extra headaches all around. Oct 23, 2011 at 1:07
  • A metaphorical way of looking at it is that when the OMF/dailies are left as is and you use something like RTAS trims, it's the equivalent to being armed with a compass and GPS in the wilderness. Doing normalization for each file would be the equivalent of being Tom Hank's character in Castaway. Oct 23, 2011 at 1:20
  • Globally normalizing may be possible, but even then all it takes is one very loud noise in only one of the files that would case normalization to be a moot point. Oct 23, 2011 at 1:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.