Hi Guys! my first post in this wonderful site. so many thanks in advance..

what I'm looking for is a pro tools session, (feature film/drama sound design/editing session) for me to download, in order to see the session way of organization and work flow.

I'm about to begin working on a feature film as a sound designer, and been a complete autodidact, I've started having fears and thoughts about my flow thinking maybe I'm not doing something right, and dreams about the dolby editor screaming at me and embarrassing me in front of the director and producer (I'm sure some of you know what I'm talking about (-: )

Anyway, i'd love to know what is the pro setup of work flow. for example : do they open a master bus for all the dialog and sync channels? and whats on it ? ( EQ? COMP? maybe noise reduction?) and if so, what do they do when the scene is changing? after all, you cant possibly have one EQ for all the dialog sound during 90 minutes film.

Do they use at all on-line plugs or that everything is been process in the sorces with audio suit?

in short , and sorry for been so clumsy, what I'm asking is, how do you handle so many scenes that needs so many different treats, in session and tracks wise.

thank you so much for even read this.


4 Answers 4


Here is what I have gleaned in my experiences:

For a 90+ minute film there is usually a Pro Tools session for each reel of film.

This can also be broken down to a Pro Tools session for each different element of the soundtrack:

Dialogue - FX - Music

And the FX can further be broken down:

  • Hard FX
  • Foley
  • Backgrounds
  • Gunshots (if there is a lot of them in the film and they play a key role)
  • etc. etc. etc.

These sessions are then usually pre-dubed, meaning brought to a dubbing stage and mixed on their own and run off to a 5.1 stem which is then compiled with the other stems as laid out above. There is no limit to the amount of stems you can create, but when you get to above a certain amount of stems it may not be worth the trouble of running stems because you are left with so many..

I have also seen films be mixed all in one session with all elements inside it at once. To some extent how you go about organizing your sessions is the equipment you have available to you and what you find works best for you.

Anyway, I think you would learn a lot if you read this article from Designing Sound: http://designingsound.org/2010/03/erik-aadahl-special-editing-for-the-mix/

Check that out. There are also good tutorials on Designing Sound TV ( http://designingsound.tv/ ) on how Pro Tools sessions are used with aux buses, plug-ins, etc. etc. and the workflow of it. There is a lot to it and I unfortunately don't have the time to write it all out but if you have specific questions after you explore a bit at those sites let us know and we'll be happy to help further.

Also, Chris is right wherein there is no right way to do it. There are ways that I have found to be the most optimum sonic quality and the most efficient, but in the end, if it sounds good it's good.


I dont think there is any one way to do it. The best idea is to experiment!


To add to what @Utopia said, once you've looked at the links for info about layout, I've always found it extremely helpful to reach out to the mixer who's going to be dealing with your material. At our facility we have a general template and layout for our shows, but each of the 4 sets of mixers like things layed out a bit differently. This also opens up the channels of communication.


You can read about this in many books (off the top of my head I'd say Dialogue Editing for Motion Picture or Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound), although I did watch this video about this a few weeks ago on Designing Sound.

Do some research about it and actually struggle (or not, but I reckon you would) to understand what is needed and why it is that way. I don't think you'll be able to hide that it is your first time, although you shouldn't be concerned by that issue. Rather put all your attention to providing material that's easy to work with for whoever will use it (the mixer maybe).

I hope you'll enjoy the project!

  • Thank you so much guys, for your Warmth answers. i feel i could keep asking quest's forever.. but I'll go and do some homework first. tnx again.
    – Nimi
    Mar 29, 2011 at 13:30

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