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I've always wondered how dialog in films sound so clean and full, I thought it was just all the gear, great dialog editing/mixing and great ADR performances but after watching the Tron Legacy panel and Michael Semanick's Presentation both from SoundWorks Collection I was amazed at difference from the dialog recorded on set to the final edited/premixed version. I was wondering how the dialog tracks cleaned and processed to sound as they do in the final mix.

Thanks.

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There's a balance between proper editing of the dialog tracks and proper use of the processing that Jay mentioned, but also the effects of masking when you introduce atmospheres, walla, foley, roomtones, and reverb/early reflections. For instance, even without EQ or compression, the acoustical variations, small amounts of background noise, level differences, etc. in the raw tracks of the Social Network clips would not likely be noticeable in the context of the full mix, especially when reverb is added to the dialog track to match the backgrounds.

Cheers,
Matt

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I think you answered your question in the first sentence, but to add to that, proper use of eq, compression, reverb, and noise reduction are a couple things that add to a great vocal performance.

  • Would you care to expand on 'proper use'? – Mark Durham Jan 4 '13 at 18:08
  • I suppose proper wasn't the right term. I am not a re-recording mixer, but I suppose what I meant was a great vocal performance can be enhanced by a professional mixer using the processes I outlined, I probably missed one or two, but an experienced and talented mixer with tasteful use of eq, reverb and compression on a clean, noise reduced track should be able to produce great results if the original production and ADR tracks include a great performance. – jay Jan 4 '13 at 19:45
  • Haha I know I realized that, when proof reading before posting I thought to myself "wait that's probably why it's so amazing sounding" but I was thinking more of the technical side of things, like what common gear/plugins are used and some common techniques if there are any so others and myself who are curious could give it a go and also may be be inspired or figure out newer techniques and expand to the existing ones. – Stephen Saldanha Jan 4 '13 at 22:48
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Matt mostly answered your question, but if you have time to spare this book is worth reading: http://www.amazon.com/Dialogue-Editing-Motion-Pictures-Invisible/dp/0240809181

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Two things i learned = Good Convolution Reverb that fits to the scene with a De-esser and high pass in front of the plug makes it sound great. Opto COmpressors like the CLA 2A from Waves work great with Dialogue

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