We heard the sound of Skywalker’s lightsaber splintering through the air and Darth Vader’s valiant breathing in Star Wars. We’ve also heard the cars whizzing by, sirens bewailing in the distance, and irregular chattering while Batman was peering down the alley through the Gotham Top.
Likewise, the incredible portrayal of a chaotic city, marked by aggressive horns, plenty of yell-outs, and arguments surrounding Arthur’s apartment, evoke empathy with Joker’s descent into a total mental collapse.
Imagine watching all these masterpieces without these subtle sounds. These scenes may take a few seconds on screen but behind it, there are days and even months of hard work from the audio post-production sound team. They make sure every snippet of the dialogue, every bit of the background noise, and every sound effect blends perfectly to create an unforgettable cinematic experience.
Let’s dive into the understanding of audio post-production, including its workflow, and how digital advancement is making the work of a music designer easier and faster.
What is Audio Post Production?
Audio post-production is a crucial step in filmmaking or video creation. It involves adding, changing, and processing sound after the production stage has finished. Whether you are filmmaking, podcasting, or running a youtube channel, there are three phases involved; pre-production, production, and post-production.
Pre-production sound design and production phases contain audio recording and filming process while post-production is taking the raw footage and converting it into something you actually want to show your audience. This stage involves intensive sound editing sessions, mixing dialogue, mixing audio material to your audio files, editing and mixing sound effects and more.
Audio Post Production WorkFlow
Once the locked cut of the project is finalized, it passes on to post-production music supervisor and video editor to edit, assemble, and finalize your film products for publishing. Locked cuts contain all the visual elements of the film, such as finalized takes, special effects, transitions, and graphics.
The post-production team uses pro tools to finalize your audio assets and creates a “final cut” that is ready to appear on the screen. The locked cut goes through the following audio post-production workflow;
Dialogue Editing & Clean Up
The production dialogue editing involves trimming of unclear parts and using a re-recording mixer for automatic dialogue replacement, improving the quality of the actor’s voice performance. This is done through different techniques, such as;
Enhancing Dialogue Clarity
In filmmaking and TV, audio is recorded in many ways; lapel music, a boom, or an on-camera mic. This helps the production dialogue editor listen to each dialogue carefully, omit errors and distortions, and pass on a clean cut of dialogues.
If any dialogue is poorly recorded and needs to be replaced, actors are requested to come in for Automated Dialogue Replacement (ADR) sessions. New dialogues are recorded and are synchronized with the lip movements to be smoothly integrated into the original recording.
Background Noise Reduction
If a scene was shot on a windy day or noisy machinery was used in the background, this noise is removed from the file. Signal processing is used to remove unwanted background voices from analog audio signals.CONTACT US
Sound Design Effects & Foley
After a clean and error-free dialogue delivery, comes a sound designers whose work involves recording sound effects as well as eliminating inconsistent and discomforting sounds. Additionally, a foley artist adds folly recordings to the audio files, such as adding and mixing recorded foley footsteps. It involves;
Audio efforts spruce up the quality of the sound recording. Sound supervisors use different methods such as removing background noise, syncing editing, and even reversing some parts of the song to manipulate sound.
Sound effects and music make up a huge part of movies, TV shows, and video games. The aim of editing and mixing sound effects is to intensify any action, such as making jokes funnier, or sad scenes more gloomy. It may involve sound effects editing after recording them or can create custom sound effects. Whether a sound supervisor records custom sound effects or creates a new one, these sound effects will enhance your video and audio regions.
Sound design are used in your audio files to convey a specific mood or deliver information. The goal of musical sound design is to make a scene look more natural by adding any background noise or reducing the volume of the song when the characters are about to deliver dialogues.
A foley artist creates brand new sounds or gathers natural sounds from the sound effects libraries, such as a wooden chair on a creaky floor or location sound of a busy road. These reproduced everyday sound effects are added to the film and other media in the post-production stages to increase audio quality.CONTACT US
Music Composition & Scoring
After custom sound effects recording and mixing atmospheric sound effects, the only missing piece of the puzzle is your music composition and editing. Here you need to create music and weave it throughout the scenes to depict your story.
Selecting the right music is essential to enthrall the audience and submerge them into the story. Is the music terrifying or comic? Should your audience be inspired or sad? Music teams get answers from the director and work closely to generate the ideal outcomes.CONTACT US
Sound Mixing and Balancing
After sound effects editing and mixing, sound mixing and mastering are required to create a final product of recording. It involves adjusting and balancing sound levels to make sure everything sounds perfect. This step also involves panning sounds in the stereo field.CONTACT US
Mastering & Delivery
This stage equates to sweetening or fine-tuning the final mix to prepare it for distribution. Mastering involves optimizing audio with the help of compression, equalization, limiting, and other related processes. Once the quality of and compatibility across different platforms is ensured, it is encoded, audio file format is selected, and the final product is ready for delivery.CONTACT US
Trends & Innovations in Audio Post Production
Audio engineering is continuously evolving and with the emergence of AI, machine learning, and virtual reality, we are witnessing an exceptional cinematic experience. Let’s look at the emerging trends that are shaping the future of the audio engineering industry.
Immersive audio has taken the internet by storm and many many music supervisors are catching the momentum of this latest trend. Immersive audio creates a three-dimensional sound mix, giving a more engaging and realistic experience to listeners.
Virtual Reality (VR)
VR is another great technology to simulate listener experience by giving a three-dimensional 360-degree sound environment, using a headset or other devices. VR is being used as mainstream in concerts, festivals, movies, and video games.
AI and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence has revolutionized the music industry, especially audio engineering by providing pro tools. By leveraging AI, you can automate repetitive tasks, such as automated dialogue replacement, analyze and categorize ambient music, which saves sound supervisor time for more important tasks. Similarly, Machine learning algorithms are leveraged for mixing and mastering audio to create a final cut more efficiently and effectively.
Cloud-Based Audio Production
Cloud audio production is also gaining exceptional pace, as it allows music supervisors to remotely collaborate with a project in real time. You can also store personal or commercial libraries on the cloud so it can be easily accessible to your editing team. This is essentially true for remote music production when musicians and engineers are residing in different corners of the world.
Hiring Post Production Company
High-quality audio is crucial for your project’s success which can only be achieved if you seek services from the best audio post production studio. Choosing the best and reliable audio post production company equates to perfecting the finer details of your audio production. Here are the following steps to look for a perfect post-production studio.
Understand the Requirements of Your Project
First of all, you need to determine the scope of your project, including which type of services you need. This can include dialogue editing, foley mixing, sound design, IVR branding, voice over recording, and more.
However, your sound requirements may vary based on your business’s objectives. You may also want music composition, sonic branding, and video production services. Therefore, understand specific requirements and find a company that specializes in all these services.
Check Their Portfolio
By knowing what type of work this audio production company has been involved in, you can better understand if they are suitable for your project. Look for their accomplished projects or contact them to understand their audio post production workflow and pro tools and techniques they use to edit your locked cut.
Try to contact people who have worked with the company you are eyeballing. Many companies are their testimonials and customer experiences, so check them to assess if the company best fit for your post-audio production needs.
Audio post-production process involves fine-tuning original audio to make it sound perfect using dialogue editing, music editing, sound and audio effects, background noise reduction, mixing, and mastering. A multi-skilled sound professional brings life and professionalism to your projects.
Moreover, innovative trends like immersive audio, AI, and VR are transforming the future of the audio engineering industry, so keeping pace with the emerging trends is vital to leave a lasting impression on the audience. Get in touch now to learn how we can help you produce mesmerizing audio for your business.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does an audio production process take?
The process takes up to 40 to 60 minutes for small-budget films but for a long feature movie, it can take anywhere between 160 hours to 320 hours, and sometimes, even weeks.
Can audio post-production fix poorly recorded audio?
While post-production processes enhance sounds captured during the production phase, it is always necessary to capture clear and high-quality audio during the initial production phase.
How does audio post-production enhance storytelling in podcasts?
Audio post production enables a smooth narrative flow, improving the quality of emotions generated in the audience. Sound effects create a sense of place and immersion, balancing audio levels and incorporating music evokes emotions and sets the tone. Thereby, delivering an unforgettable experience.
Can AI ever replace human audio post-production professionals?
No. AI can automate certain tasks but many audio post professionals add creativity, expertise, and decision-making to post-production processes that AI lacks.