I would really like to have some perspective of when one receives the M&E´s and is preparing the version for that language / country.

I understand and read here that a lot has to do with the client´s specifications.


Consistency: is it "correct" to keep, let´s say, walla where you don´t distinguish words / language accents and on the scene after take it off because the opposite happens? Would one replace the walla that was chopped, do nothing or take off all walla?


In my experience, and that of anyone i've spoken to about it, walla should always be included in the M+E. In fact, sound effects editors are often responsible for cutting it in, and take great care to remove or blur any kind of distinguishable words using various techniques.

If you think about it practically, an M+E should contain everything except language. Sometimes you might have a crowd scene that does involve distinguishable language. This will often be made up of (A) walla laid in by the FX editors and (B) some separate call-outs taken from the location recording, or recorded in ADR/loop group. The walla FX track creates the body and texture of the crowd, while the call-outs provide the detail. This way, a studio dubbing the film can record their own call-outs in the target language, while keeping the body and texture of the crowd.

It's not always so clear cut. You might have a crowd speaking in unison (eg. a group of soldiers saying "Yes sir!"). In that case, nothing should be in the M+E. But what if the same group of soldiers emit a non-verbal grunt later in the scene? Do you include the grunt even though you omitted the "yes sir"? This is where you'll have to make a judgement call, or make use of an "options" track like i mentioned in your other question.

I hope that helps!

| improve this answer | |
  • Thank you, Roger! Totally agree. I prepared an M&E on a film in which I cut the BG, so about 75% of the walla I placed it there myself. Started to feel very weird to cut off where there was discernible language - it´s like messing with the mix. One thing I´d like to have more opinions also is about accentuation: where I often couldn´t distinguish any words, I would know that the languages sounded either german or swedish (in the specific case - and neither are my mother languages). For me, it makes total sense that they are untouched, but I am not sure if this would be bounced back from QC. – Mgp Oct 25 '14 at 10:03

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.