Can someone tell me who is mixing the 2nd season of The Walking Dead ? For what is this guy paid ?
Awful ambiences going down during dialogue then up again with an awful pomping effect...
What do you think about this mess ?
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While I haven't heard the second season of the show, I agree with Gary on this. As a re-recording mixer, I have heard plenty of my shows degrade once on air. One of the biggest things we are faced with now is the use of expanders by the networks. In a misguided attempt to compete with the volume levels of commercials, broadcasters are resorting to expanders in order to keep program material at an 'average' raised level. In effect they are trying to reduce any sort of dynamics on a program so the 'viewer' doesn't complain about low volume. By doing this you get a pumping effect between dialogue lines where the dynamics are low, which in turn brings up the ambiances that are playing low in the mix. The level bumps of the ambiances could easily be the result of the expanders. Also, as Gary also pointed out, you never know how broadcasters are airing your show. I worked on a show that was having its video transmitted via satellite, audio via landlines, having both signals recoded onto a recycled Beta SP, and then re-transmitted via microwave to the local service provider. Can't really compensate for that. I know that once the mix leaves my stage it's out of my hands and it can be really depressing to watch a show I've spent a lot of time working on get butchered, but you do the best you can.
Before you guys start bagging on the mixers for the show, you should know that there are many possible causes for the issues your discussing. Once the "Final Mix" is complete and signed off on, it goes off to the network and then your cable provider get's ahold of it. Sometimes they'll run it through their own compressors even though the show meets the networks specs. It's hard to know what happens to it.
On shows I've worked on, we've had mixes that sounded great on the stage but sound like crap on air. And sometimes it sounds good on one cable provider but completely different on another. While most big shows are mixed in 5.1 and delivered an LtRt mix, I've heard of networks not using the provided LtRt and making there own from the 5.1. Why? Beats me. There are many a phone calls placed between producers, mixers and network people to try and resolve these issues. It's been happening for a long time and probably won't get any better soon.
You'll have a better chance of hearing the actual mix on DVD or Blu-Ray than you will on air.
Just my 2 cents.
I'm glad I'm not the only one to have noticed this. Ive been meaning to post but you beat me to it lol I can't imagine the mixer would have done that on purpose. Makes no sense at all. I'm guessing theres some kind of encoding/decoding prob somewhere? Maybe something funky with the dialnorm settings going on? Who knows.
But you're right. Some episodes I've caught sound like the dialogue has been used to side chain the ambience track. Quite distracting to say the least. Would love to hear thoughts as to what's happening there!
I'll be honest, I haven't watched the show.
That being said, as a general principle, I have to agree with Gary and Kelle. In the broadcast world, there are a lot of factors beyond our control that can affect the quality of the transmission. This doesn't absolve the mixer of responsibility, but there needs to be recognition that there may be more at work here than just his/her ability.
Two HUGE, intertwined, ideas that haven't been mentioned yet are budget and scheduling. I don't care what anybody says, you get what you pay for. People have bills to pay, and there's a limit to how much time you can (and should) spend on a given project. More money can pull in more effort. [Please don't misunderstand this statement. I'm not necessarily referring to individual effort when I say that.] On the flip side...at a certain point, it doesn't matter how much money you've got if you don't have the time to do the job properly. Yes bringing in more people can mitigate the time issue, but there's a point of diminishing returns there as well.
Again, haven't seen the show. So, I can't really comment on it. I'm just putting forward some ideas for people to consider. One thing I will say, is that I'm fond of this particular community's ability to approach these matters in a constructive way. I'd prefer to see questions of this nature posed in a less negative/incendiary fashion in the future.
Anyone else watched Episode 07 yet?
it seems those bugs, although still present, have been pushed back to a more appropriate level and especially in INT scenes haha, maybe they read this thread?
anyway i think it works better because of it, they really pulled me out of the story, the way they instantly dropped out when someone spoke then popped back in again. even my non soundie friends noticed this.
now they just need to work on getting the story back on track, the last few episodes have been a little to days of our lives-y for me.
Oh god, I noticed this as well and wanted to post but didn't want to seem like the only one. It's frustrating, it's almost like there is side compression on the dialogue to cut out ambience. I'm watching it quite loud as well which just enhances the awfulness.
First series wasn't mixed all that well either.
I have also noticed it. It's not just The Walking Dead; it's also the new AMC series Hell on Wheels. I don't think it's some kind of automatic compression performed by cable provider; it sounds intentional. The background audio is constantly being intentionally subdued in order to isolate the dialog. The constant "rush" of background audio makes for a really schizophrenic experience. Here's a short sample from episode 4 (AC3, 48KHz, 5.1ch, 384 kb/s).
I arrived here after a google search because I wanted to know for sure that I wasn't the only one who has noticed the over compression. I did also suspect that it could not possibly have been the audio engineer on the job but rather the broadcasters. I'd have expected AMC to be more meticulous about the quality of what the put out and simply put their food down about some of these very easy to fix issues.... Just a thought.
At first it kind of through me off, the ambience is too loud and the dialogue attenuation is pumping. However I'm beginning to think it's a creative decision, a very bold one, but none the least. The whole series comes off as b-list and has a certain production charm imo... and this plays right along with it. Perhaps they're trying to come off as a bit cheesy, hell it's about a zombie apocalypse!
If definitely has it's own sound and that in itself is an accomplishment, with so many cookie cutter series playing it safe
ps Kudos to the zombie vocal designer!
I'm going to have to disagree with everyone saying that the poor sound is just because of the use of the network's expanders. That probably is part of the problem, but it's not an excuse for the lazy attention of detail this show has in all parts of the production. It's laughable how bad the sound, video quality, lighting, WRITING, etc in this season. Not that the last season was amazing or anything, but it definitely had it's moments. If you want to blame the network then why aren't shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men effected by this? I wouldn't even call Walking Dead's mixing bad, I would just call it lazy. There really is no excuse for using the same sound bed for the forest and inside a house. Does anyone else laugh with they hear owls hooting like they are in the other room? It's really too bad how this show has turned out. I believe it had a lot of real potential with an interesting idea and some really good actors. Now it's turned out to look like a bad idea with what seems to be bad actors because of all the awful dialogue. I'm sorry most of this post doesn't have to do with sound, but sadly getting good audio and mixing it well seem to be an afterthought to zombie makeup, unnecessary CGI, and long boring and depressing conversations.