So along with the m&e, 5.1 stems and stereo stems, the distribution company is asking for a "rendered and flattened" copy of the final pro tools session....is this normal? If so, why is this necessary?

Also by "fully rendered and flattened" does that mean all processing for track and all automation would have to be printed? In pro tools 10, and not using audiosuit due to automation, for a feature length film, this would take FOREVER no?

Thanks in advance for the input!

  • That seems to be an abnormal request, one which I personally wouldn't grant. Compacting should do the trick though. – Stavrosound Feb 5 '14 at 17:30

The few studio films that I've done have had source ProTools sessions as part of the deliverables (for archival purposes but I would also guess incase they decide to make a sequel or something...)

I tended to consolidate the FX & Ambience sessions, by using the AudioSuite Duplicate plug & consolidating all tracks from Pic start to tail pop of each reel, primarily so they only get what was used in the tracks of the film & not the whole library.... but also so the sessions could be easily rebuilt on another system (we delivered PT sessions but would be easy to import blocks of audio into another system, sync all tracks to head of reel... the point of archiving is to make it possible to access in the future, eg after AVID have long become history etc... ;)

All production audio, all recorded ADR & foley sessions were archived intact...

& of course all predub stems, final delivery stems etc.....

Where it got very boring was when we predubbed to a different picture cut to the final mix.... Everything had to reference the final picture, so sometimes that meant conforming eg foley sessions after the final mix was finished (in cases where we had only conformed & patched/updated predub stems for the final mix)

MORAL OF THE ISSUE: I always ask for a copy of the deliverables when budgeting a project, and if they require this kind of archiving I budget to keep one of the sound editors on to deal with all this stuff, while we are final mixing & print mastering... they want it, they can pay for it!

also note: we don't carry plugins into final mix - we don't mix ITB - I always print plugins etc that I've used, for this very reason. I don't print volume automation, that is carried in the PT sessions and would otherwise require a real time play down/print pass of every session for archiving...

  • Thanks for the info tim!! I have a few questions on your post. The first is, I tend to automate my plugins a ton. My EQ's, compressors, etc. Therefore I can't use an audio suite to print right? I think I'd have to do it in real time. (I also use a handful of plugins in PT10 that don't have audio sweet like UAD).... The second question is, IF they want the session for a potential sequel, then what's to stop them from reusing my sounds for the sequel if they have the Pro Tools session? A solid contract? They should have to hire me, or buy the rights to the sounds for a sequel right? – Jake Feb 8 '14 at 23:20
  • Yes, you would have to realtime print your sounds... – user49 Feb 10 '14 at 1:14
  • 1
    re using the sounds, you should check your existing contract - they may already own the rights to reuse the sounds... – user49 Feb 10 '14 at 1:15
  • I actually have my doubts about reuse of sounds in a sequel, eg I'm not aware that happened on 30 Days of Night with tis sequel - most directors & sound designers would want entirely new material... not sure how real it is, but there will be no obligation to hire you again – user49 Feb 10 '14 at 1:17
  • Note: I've never had to provide these elements for anything except big studio films – user49 Feb 10 '14 at 1:19

To me that just sounds like having the stems laid out in a PT session. I certainly wouldn't be giving them anything that they can alter.


Does seem like an odd request, but more about your work situation might play into this. If you're a piece of a really big puzzle and there's an overall musical director, then maybe that request could have merit. If you're the head hancho or sole hand involved...then they might be trying to save money on any future edits. What does your contract say in terms of deliverables, revisions, and completion?

  • Jake here, Thanks so much for all your feed back. It definitely put up a red flag for me. But with my lack of experience I had to be open to the idea that maybe its a normal request. It's an independent film and was shelf funded by the producer and director. They made the distribution deal after the film was completed, mix and all. I did EVERYTHING audio related except write the score. The film was made among friends so the contract was loose on the subject of revisions, etc. because we all worked to max to make sure everyone was happy with the film (passion project). ....... – Jake Feb 5 '14 at 19:54
  • ...These are the requests of the distribution company they went with. All the requests seem very reasonable except the Pro Tools session. Maybe I should contact the company directly and have them explain? Also, I'm open to the possibility that I miss understood the request, you tell me. 5.1 mix Pro-Tools session (V7.4 or higher), Broadcast Wave format, fully rendered and flattened. 24bit, 48kHz (no pull-down) and conform to picture master frame rate & reference. Thanks A MILLION guys! Jake – Jake Feb 5 '14 at 19:54
  • does that not simply mean - "the session bounced down to a wav file that we can drop into the final video"? – georgi Feb 5 '14 at 20:03
  • I don't think so, here's the full request: 1.15 Stereo Music & Effects Track of International Feature fully fitted with full 4+2 configuration (L/C/R/S/Clean Dialogue/Additional Material) on DVDR, MOD, drives or digital equivalent. 1.16 6+2 Music & Effects Track of international feature with helper track on channel 7 and dialogue on channel 8 (L/LS/R/RS/C/Sub) on DVDR, MOD, drives or digital equivalent. 1.17 5.1 mix Pro-Tools session (V7.4 or higher), Broadcast Wave format, fully rendered and flattened. 24bit, 48kHz (no pull-down) and conform to picture master frame rate & reference... – Jake Feb 5 '14 at 20:47
  • 1.18 Stereo Lt/Rt Files for Feature 1.19 5.1 Mix (TOTAL 6 FILES) for Feature ·Left (5.1) – Mono, 24 bit, 48khz .wav file ·Right (5.1) – Mono, 24 bit, 48khz .wav file ·Centre (5.1) – Mono, 24 bit, 48khz .wav file ·Left Rear (5.1) – Mono, 24 bit, 48khz .wav file ·Right Rear (5.1) – Mono, 24 bit, 48khz .wav file ·Low Frequency Emitter (5.1) – Mono, 24 bit, 48khz .wav file – Jake Feb 5 '14 at 20:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.