Hey All,

I agreed to do the post audio for a 48 hour film project and wanted to know if anyone else has ever had experience working on one of these films before. Basically I want to know if I should even attempt this considering I will have about 5-8hrs from picture lock to do everything from dialogue editing to sound design, plus I won't know what I have to work with until I get it. I think someone else is going to do music composition so thats good.

With that timeframe in mind how should I organize my time? Considering that I may not have time to do everything that I would want, what do you see as the most important elements to start with in order to still have a quality soundtrack?

5 Answers 5


I've been a "spectator from the inside" twice, in 2009 and 2010. The first time I joined halfway through it and edited, the second time I was booming and doing some other sound stuff...

This is typically the kind of project where you thank yourself for having this colorful palette that is your sound library. We had guys composing original songs both times, and I believe it really helps breathing the right life into your movie when you obviously can't afford to Foley anything.

I reckon it is preferable to have two sound guys at least so the production can go on while you do the post work, as the production can be happening miles away from the where the post stuff is being done. You can't really afford to waste your oh so precious time on the road going back and forth between the shoot and the HQ.

One lesson I got out of it is:

Sync your clean audio to every shot before the picture gets edited!

You also want to have the techie stuff worked out prior to starting: what video format you are shooting at, have spare memory cards so you can keep shooting while other cards are being downloaded. Say you work in FCP, have a sequence ready with the right settings, know how you will export it, have ready made settings in Compressor... Actually try and prove your workflow, ideally with the equipment you'll be using, make sure it just works, it gives you a chance to iron out the kinks.

Again, you want to sync your sound to every single "rush" before any editing begins or it'll be hell to sync it manually afterwards. By doing this, you ensure your clean sound will be edited along with the picture and the picture editor is doing the big work for you. While this is being done, you have time to work on some more advanced sound stuff, like sound design or just finding the right sounds.


I have done the 48 hr fest multiple times and have competed at the national level, not once did we ever actually get to "post sound" All was done within the video editor. As with just about any film, picture editing takes more time and post sound is the one with the hard deadline. The best you will be able to do is sit behind the video editor and start cutting and exporting sfx for the scenes he is on and then have them drop into avid or fcp and do rough level mixing. The key is to stress superb on set audio, because then simple crossfades will suffice for the purpose of the project. Last time I did it I had about 45 minutes to mix in avid, not the half day I was promised.


My very first production sound gig was a 48hr film project a few years ago. And I learned quite a bit making an embarrassing mistake.

First thing I did was talk to a director and get a rough idea of what he wanted to do. What story elements or props, etc. For example I knew a gun might be in it. So in my down time I recorded gun handling sounds, before I even had a script. My goal was to constantly be using my time in a productive manner. A lot of what I recorded I didn't use, but there was a few things I was able too.

During production, the very first location I actually made two mistakes. We started doing sync sound and I tried to record into my computer while at the at the same time sending a signal to the camera. I thought I should at least record to the camera as a backup. So the first mistake I realized was that with all the camera moves it would take to much time to move my comp around too. So the next location I dropped recording to the computer, and we decided to record strait to the camera. Our mobility was quicker and easier that way.

The second, and biggest mistake at that location I found in post. First the editor started cutting things together before he got the dialogue from me. So the scene was cut with the audio recorded to the camera, which thanks to all my signal routing managed to pick up a radio station that was broadcasting a few blocks away. Whoops. So instead of the editor re-cutting and syncing my audio I had to spend a few hours in the middle of the night cutting and syncing my clean dialogue with how the editor cut the scene, all by ear.

After that the rest of the shoot was great, thanks to location and weather I had no problems recording clean dialogue. Also I made a point to record during every scene, dialogue or no. With no time for foley in post I wanted to make sure I had as much sounds and I could.

During editing I sat with the editor and helped him place sound effects where they needed to be and when we needed a sound I would quickly recorded it and bring it back to him to put in.

Most important thing I learned was to be flexible and creative, you may need to adapt in the middle of the shoot. Be observant and take advantage of any little opportunity to grab a sound. Also, remain positive and focused, not easy in the 30th hour, but you don't want to be the crew member that stresses out an already tired and stretched crew.

Good luck. http://vimeo.com/m/#/11916256


I took part in a 48Hr competition for Sci-Fi London last year and it was my first 'real' production experience. I managed to borrow some recording equipment - a sound devices Mixpre recording into my own M-Audio Microtrack II. I also had a windjammer and some cables but seeing as we were meeting up at 7am I decided to get an early night without checking that I had all the cables. The next day to my horror I realized that I didn't have the XLR cable to record from the Mixpre to the Microtrack so I burned it down to Maplins and managed to buy one.

I was the sound recorder and sound editor on the project which meant I was there for the whole shoot recording every sound that I could but then had to travel over half of London to get home and tidy/label all the sounds. The next day we were recording in an underground car park which had huge ventilation fans which were really hard to get rid of afterwards. I could only work when we had picture lock because I was working remotely from the editor. This meant that I had to painstakingly guess the sound to use on every shot/cut which gave me hardly any time for mixing and music.

I learnt a lot of important lessons though such as:

  1. Turn off all mobile phones - you might get that mobile phone noise during a take
  2. Scout out any areas before hand to determine noisy environments such as planes, aircon, etc
  3. Do not be late - It doesn't look good to keep actors and crew waiting and it is also good practice to record room ambience for the edit.
  4. Have fun - try not to take it too seriously.

Here is our entry on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/22276748


Two or 3 editors is key! i have done a couple 48hour film comps now. The first one it was just me doing editing, mixing and music. The second one there was two of us. I dont know exactly how your competition works but the one here in NZ they give you the genre at 7pm friday night. so that night and the next you can get your genre specific sounds together. Sound libraries are also the biggest time saver too. That goes for music too if you dont have a dedicated composer use production music. while the picture was being edited we started scouring sounds that we knew would be needed. once locked, it was me editing dialogue and Will was doing effects and atmos. foley pretty much went out the window for our film due to in experience and slow chops. in the end we had fun and the team was impressed with our work so thats all that mattered really. you will always feel like you could have done more buts life. have fun!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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