Long question in the title there.. ahem.

I'm doing post on a film where a couple is sitting in a sofa watching television. I'd really like to not have to do an entire new program just for that scene, it always sounds fake. Does anyone have any other idea? Has anyone ever come across a public domain TV show that's OK for use in a film, that sounds like an actual TV show? Does anyone know any other site where you can find those types of sounds?


In my experience in dealing with this often, a TV feed is treated as being part of Hard FX and not BGz. So in that regard usually we always build from the ground up, then comp it down into 1 or two tracks, even for military/riot/crime scene stuff. On some occasions, shows have played a visual on a TV in which they obtained permission to use the footage, and that "found footage" has an audio track which is then provided in the OMF. From there we just sweeten what's already there with a light FX pass. Had to do that once for about 20 minutes worth of footage across a show where we're in a house repeadtedly that has monster truck sports footage playing on a TV in the BG - cut FX for all the monster truck revs (match when we see onscreen, cheat OS ones around dialogue), along with a steady crowd bed and spotted rise/falls of crowd cheers and jeers.

Usually TV feeds play so low in the mix that if for some reason the source audio has to be dropped and only the FX played, it would sell just fine. I personally wouldn't sweat it too hard, unless the TV has a larger story purpose and/or is featured prominently (e.g. ECU shots of the screen).

Besides, I always find something fun about creating a movie within a movie ;)

Good luck!

  • I guess I'm gonna have to get my hands dirty... sigh. There's, as always, never enough time and the outcome is always worse than expected. I so hope the editor finds some old TV show footage that was never aired... – Olle Sjöström Jan 3 '12 at 10:59

Had that problem with a film, and no matter what we did, we couldn't do better than the temp track.

I've also used other films the director or producer have made. Copyright is easy, and they get some free advertising.

  • I've experienced that a few times, and on a recent occasion there was a further, added benefit to going this route. Sometimes you can obtain access to the printed Stems, which helps a lot. – Stavrosound Jan 3 '12 at 8:53

i'm in the same boat as you!

  • Great man! I hate it when it happens. That and people listening to music omg. – Olle Sjöström Jan 2 '12 at 21:21

While I second the motion of using other films from the same director, when that isn't possible I've often used stuff from The Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org). Since you can search by subject, I often try and find something that's appropriate for the scene.

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