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Hi guys, so, I'm about to be using a Sound Devices 788T on set and I know I'm going to want to run at least in 4 track mode. What I'm mainly curious about is the production sound -> picture edit -> sound edit workflow. I keep hearing people talking about doing the mono mix for the picture editor. Is there some way that the picture editor can just be given the mono mix, dialogue editor is delivered production sound files, and then is able to reconform the entire multitrack polywave easily? Does the timecode stamp on the sound file take care of this?

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It is fairly common for a production mixer to deliver a mono mixdown of tracks to the editor as a temp guide track for picture cutting purposes. Especially if you're recording say more than 4 channels of production sound on set. Multiple channel production sound can easily become unwieldy in the Avid, and some picture editors (depending on working style) don't like to deal with 8 tracks of dialog in their timeline (which can easily become 16 if they like to overlap dialog). This method of workflow is usually determined on a show to show basis.

The sound department receives the multichannel files and conforms them to the mono mixdown cut by the picture department using tools such as Conformalizer, Virtual Katy, or Titan. Sometimes even just by hand syncing (which I've done and is a total pain). This requires an EDL from the picture department and proper timecode stamps from the production mixer to work. Then the dialog editors can work their magic using split tracks.

This process can be easily messed up if the tracks aren't properly labeled, timestamped, or imported incorrectly; so it's very important to run a test between the picture and sound department with one scene early in the process to make sure everything is working correctly.

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So:

  • Make sure your mixdown track(s) is always the same for the whole project (usually 1, or 7+8, or 1+2)
  • Deliver your original multitrack audio to the editor and sound department

The assistant editor will

  • import the audio
  • create synced subclips for edit using only the mixdown track(s), but the other tracks will still be easily available through "match frame" if needed during edit.
  • export an AAF for sound when the picture edit is done.

The sound department will import the AAF, and relink all audio to the originals.

As Justin P mentioned, this workflow, while very standard, should still be checked in advance to make sure there isn't a small mistake somewhere which might prevent easy and automatic relinking.

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Hi James.

You definitely DO NOT want to give a mono mix to anyone (assuming by mono mix you mean a sum of your 4 discrete audio tracks). You will hand over all of your discretely recorded tracks to the picture editor. He/she will then sync these tracks to picture, edit the film and hand it to the sound editor to select the appropriate track(s) for the re-recording mixer.

Each individual track that you are recording is in mono (duh) so that's maybe what people are referring to.

  • lots of offline editor's working here like to cut with the mono mixdown, and simply mute all the other tracks while they're working (but not delete them!... usually....). Quite common for TV because of how fast those guys are cutting – James Hayday Oct 25 '11 at 3:52
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Depending on the requirements of the film, i.e. if you screen dailies, you may or may not be required to do a mix. Tim Prebble's answered this before here. I reckon it is part of the production sound mixer's job to mix the tracks down to help save time for post production. If it's no good, then the dialogue editors can use the discreet tracks.

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