Question regarding mixing:

Is dialogue always mixed at the same level no matter what type of movie you're mixing?


Terminator 2 - explosions all over the place. Dialogue, yelling, during those scenes are naturally going to be a lower level to let more impact of explosions come through.

He's just not that into you - No explosions or gunfights. Just talking - wall to wall dialogue with little or no loud spot effects.

Does the dialogue still get placed down in level if it's only talking? Or do you mix it higher if that's the only thing going on in the mix?

What are your thoughts?

3 Answers 3


I prefer mixing everything else to the dialogue - dialogue is king.

And it really depends on the scene - if they dialogue is a bit soft I'll raise it up. But if it continues to be soft I'll duck whatever else is fighting with it. 'Too loud' is anything that ceases to serve the story or makes my ears ache.

Also if you are running a 24 bit session you shouldn't be worried about extra resolution - unless your channels are peaking at -50dbFS or lower - which really shouldn't be the case.


I would say that it is different in every film, the purpose of dialog is often to supply information and push/pull the story along and every film is a unique work of art.


I agree with Chris and ntkeep.

But for me not only every film is different. It is every scene that might have it's own dynamics. The better this dynamic manipulation is done the less you will notice, when watching a film from top to end. But when jumping anywhere at random things might feel a bit strange in the very beginning, before you adopt to the relations again.

But that means – as said before – that dialogue will guide everything else.

The benefit of this instead of a fixed loudness level is that you control your audience a lot more. Taking down the volume just a bit in a tense scene might get people to sit up a bit more and be alert.

It also affects the performance of actors sometimes. So stressing a word or exaggerating the dynamics of a row can definitely support the actors performance.

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