Monday, September 1, 2008

The End of Mixing: Day 4 - Do We Have a Finished Film?

It's the end of the Labor Day weekend and Andy C and I have been locked up together in a small room staring at computer screens for 80% of it. By the end of the day yesterday, we had a 2.0 stereo mix without any kind of directional panning - and last night we had our first test screening.

This morning, it was back to the studio for more tweaks between the sound effects, music & dialogue and then on to the 5.1 mix, which is something that neither Andy nor I have attempted before. And, since the studio isn't equipped with a 5.1 playback system there was a certain amount of guesswork to the process. Basically, we would watch segments of the movie and time out where certain effects would pan from one speaker to the other and go into Cool Edit and graphically move a "sound orb" to where the sound image should appear when listened to by someone in a 5.1 environment.

Only a short while ago we examined the fruits of our labor in the home theater, and to our astonishment the directional effects work! Crickets chirp from all corners of the room, wolves howl from the rear channels, characters run off screen and into the right and left speakers. However, I think we may have misjudged where to put a few certain effects and the music tracks for sure, as we lost a significant amount of volume with this latest mix. I think the problem might be caused by positioning the music in front of the viewer's listening position and into the front soundstage; it may be easy to correct.

So, sadly, we're not quite finished yet. My mission for the time being is to listen and re-listen, take notes and hopefully get together with Andy this weekend to finish it off.

Oh, and the concensus was that the 3-D works. Always a good thing!