I've been working on @Shaun's challenge since Sunday night, and I came up with a vision of the material and ideas I am proud of. In theory it all makes sense, and I know that when the mix time comes (tomorrow, it's all scheduled and stuff...) I will probably need to go back to cutting things in to puff it up.

I was wondering if, when you guys are editing, you know for a fact that what you're cutting is rock solid and you're confident that the mixer is not going to send it back from the final. I am aware that the edit should be at least usable, ideally working very well, but I already find it hard to get to an acceptable density of sound, meaning it's dull most of the time. This is precisely where experience makes the difference and I was hoping that some of this know-how would be shareable, verbally.

Do you guys have any devices or tricks or is it really all about getting the feel of it? I could roughly automate my edit so I can try stuff, but I'm too stressed to spend time automating because I know mixing will take up long enough.



1 Answer 1


First off, I'd like it if you could flesh out what you mean by "acceptable density of sound cues." I'd just like to get a better understanding of what your discomfort is.

As to the rest, when I'm doing an edit, I'm also thinking about the mix. Especially at work, since I have to take care of it in addition to the other elements once all of the prep is done and I receive the music from my coworker. When it comes to spotting and editing, more is better. Let me state now though, that that does not necessarily mean more effects and a denser sound image. A piece can be very poignant if it has a sparse mix. The overall density of the sound track should be dictated by your design. When I say more, I'm actually referring to flexibility.

Do you want counterpoint, an impressionistic image, an over the top action movie feel? What does that answer imply about the needs of the piece. I usually have a very good idea of what I want out of the sounds for an image; I know what the sonic content should be. As I'm editing, I try to ensure that the sound has body and the appropriate spectral range. In the case of this challenge, I don't want to go in to the mix with an explosion that's all bass and no trebble (or vice versa), even if I know that I'm likely to take it out once I get to the mix. It's better to have it there and be able to take it away. If the sound is "thin" somewhere, I know that that will be a potential problem point in the mix. So, I'll focus on bringing it to where I want it.

  • @Shaun, I'm actually saying that, at the moment, I struggle to get satisfying edits and it'd be even harder to provide alternate material for the mix. The root of my problem is that my library lacks material and I record every single thing I need. Only time will fix this, so I'm looking at other improvements to my workflow. I found myself a tad hungry on sound design for this project and I'm losing it because of too many hours of editing... I need to take a step back and refocus, and it's late and I'm complaining :D I'll start fresh tomorrow, thanks for the help! Aug 18, 2010 at 21:45
  • @Justin - I've said this to a lot of people so far, but the next one won't be as hard...promise. :) Personally, I'm doing a ton of editing and layering for this one too. I spent over 3 hours auditioning and collecting effects from CDs (and that was working as efficiently as possible). If it becomes too difficult in this track you're taking, remember my rules "unless I specifically say you can/can't do something..." Did I ever say you HAD to make the explosions? Maybe you'll want to try an approach that isn't tied to the reality of the shot. I truly hope some people do try something different. Aug 18, 2010 at 21:53
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    @Justin Hey you can always purchase the Fireworks library from Hiss and Roar and then ask for your money back when you win the competition :)
    – Utopia
    Aug 18, 2010 at 22:10
  • He didn't mean that, Tim. [frantically shoving Ryan's unconscious body into the closet] In fact, he said he was going to buy a copy of each of your libraries for all 300 some odd members of this site [ramming closet door closed] He just left to go home and do that. Aug 18, 2010 at 22:24
  • @ALL I meant he can pay up front for the library he needs for this competition and then either get a new one or consider that one awarded to him that he bought. Your closet would make a nice VO booth, though.
    – Utopia
    Aug 18, 2010 at 22:30

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