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I'm currently working on my first feature and I'm really excited to get stuck-in. I've already made progress with designing some of the ambiences and layering in some foley for door slams, bag props and small things like that but I've just received the first pass of the dialogue edit.

My question is: what sounds should I just use from the dialogue edit and what sounds should I add-in by myself?

I know some of the sound events will obviously benefit from being both production and post (punches etc) and I've noted some sounds in the dialogue edit that just don't work (where the dialogue overlaps etc)

Just wondering what peoples thoughts are on how much of the production audio is used.

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"It depends" <- everyone's favorite answer

On the films that have M&E deliverable requirements for foreign markets, basically everything's got to be covered by either cut FX or foley. It's often good practice to make sure everything is covered. That being said...depends on time. If the production is great for somebody struggling with a doorknob, which can be sort of a time consuming thing to cut from library FX entirely, then you could end up wasting a good chunk of time better spent elsewhere. Make sure to have a listen to some of the production FX on larger systems, though, depending on how the film is being released. I've noticed that a lot of things like doors and percussive sounds can be a little bit wimpy if they're just from production.

Ideally, you have the option in the mix of using production, foley/fx, or a little bit of both. Sometimes, you can only use one or the other. Just remember to ask yourself (and the director): what's the most important thing in this scene? Everything else is built around that.

  • Great points James thanks a lot. Especially about wasting time better spent on something more important, I've definitely been noticing that! – Stuart Ankers Oct 12 '13 at 11:28
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Completely agree with James' points!

I would like to emphasize that a session with the director to go through every scene is essential. Take notes about the key sounds for every scene then work on those sounds first and build the rest around it.

If this is your first bigger project you will possibly tend to overdo it and make things too crowded, depending on time and budget it's not bad to have "too much" because it's easier to take out sounds than adding them last minute but try to focus on the absolute priorities first.

Good luck and have fun!

  • Thanks Andre, Im definitely no stranger to overdoing it - I had a lot of comments about my dissertation project but it is definitely easier to take sounds out of a mix, I always try to give myself multiple options in a project. A scene-by-scene analysis of the film with the director is scheduled and I will take on board your points. Cheers – Stuart Ankers Oct 12 '13 at 11:32
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I agree with @James . For what its worth, in TV we cut Fx and cover foley on everything. PFX just give the mixer an extra layer to work with. I admit sometimes I steal a PFX and use it in my edit because occasionally the PFX offer a good texture and were well recorded.

But the usual rule of thumb in film and TV is that everything gets replaced by FX and foley. PFX is icing on the cake. No corner-cutting here.

  • Cheers Stavrosound, I've noticed that some of the production tracks have really nice sounds in (some are also terrible!) – Stuart Ankers Oct 12 '13 at 11:37

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