Picture & Sound Posting On DigitalPosting on digital is divided into two separate categories: picture post and sound post. Two editing teams are involved, each with different costs and processes.

Picture Posting on Digital

Several years ago, pictures were posted only on film. However, posting on film is now rarely, if ever, used. Instead, posting on digital has become the norm. While posting on film may be a thing of the past, some of the film terms may still sound familiar during this phase of postproduction because digital editing was designed to emulate picture posting on film. Let’s take a closer look at the terms used for picture posting on digital.

  • Computer Load List – A computer file that identifies which takes are “selected’ on the se, the computer load list allows the Editors to digitize only the selected takes.
  • Rough Cut – Also known as the Offline Cut, the rough cut consists of scenes and sequences that the Editor has edited while the film is still being shot. The rough cut allows a chance to experiment with the editing process, so there is little need for length requirement or “fine tuning” in this editing phase. Because of this, however, many changes can be made from cut to cut.
  • Fine Cut and Picture Lock – This process involves fine-tuning the most recently approved rough cut. Missing shots are included, scene timing is tightened, and other minor changes are made. There may be more than one fine cut; however, the changes from one cut to another are typically minor in this stage. The final fine cut is picture lock.  This indicates that the rough cut is complete and there will be no further changes made to the picture. Once the final fine cut is completed, the Sound Department is able to add and synch sound tracks to the locked cut. Two copies of the final fine cut/picture lock should be made: one for the Sound Department and one for the digital original or film negative to be edited into this final cut.
  • Director’s and Producer’s Cuts – Just as the Editor is allowed a cut of the production, the Director and Producer are as well. The final decision, or “final cut,” will be determined before shooting and agreed upon in writing. Beyond this, other agreements will have been made and included as clauses that protect the Director’s participation in postproduction.
  • ISAN Version Numbers – ISAN version numbers come in handy when there’s a possibility of finishing and releasing the Director’s cut after the film has been produced. Other delivery versions can also be added to the ISAN number at a later date in the post work flow.
  • Edit Decision List – The E.D.L. is a printout of the picture editing system. This automatic printout details all the chosen shots, in order, with a notation of which frame starts and ends each shot. It includes directions for effects. This list is important so the digital original and/or film negative match the locked cut. At this point, the picture is ready to begin the finishing stage of post.

Sound Posting on Digital

Sound editors can compile several sound tracks to be mixed together. Many soundtracks allow for richer landscape sounds.  Productions typically have between 75 to 200 or more soundtracks. To organize such a wide variety of tracks, a Sound Designer may be hired.

Many things that need to be considered, checked and corrected when it comes to editing sound for posting on digital.

Dialogue Editing

A recorded dialogue needs to be divided into many tracks to separate the different voices. This process allows the sound quality of each to be treated separately during the sound mix. Sometimes, if the sound or voice performance is not very good, Sound Editors will take sound from one take and apply it to the take they are working on.

Additional Dialogue Recording/Looping

If a dialogue is unacceptable, the performer may need to re-do a few lines. An ADR is performed in the sound studio. The picture is “looped” so it repeats over and over. The performer can then lip synch his lines to the picture.

Voiceover Recording

Voiceover and narration is normally done during post for the dialogue edit. This is usually a performer’s voice that does not synch with any pictures. A smaller sound studio may be used for voiceover recording.

Walla

Walla is the term for a group of performers that work in a sound studio to create background group sounds for a soundtrack.

Sound Effects Editing

Since many sounds may not sound like most people think they should when they are recorded – for instance, a gun firing – the Sound Effects Editors can use a variety of resources available in sound effects libraries. These effects can be layered from separate tracks to make one sound more complex.

Original Effects Recording

If a particular sound is needed for a production, but cannot be found in the libraries available for sound effects, Sound Effects Editors may need to create brand new sounds. The creation of these new sounds is what is known as Original Sound Effects.

Atmosphere Soundtracks

Atmosphere Soundtracks are simply the “white noise” in a production. This is a separate track. If this track was excluded from the film production, its absence would be very noticeable.

Foley Editing

A Foley Artist is a person who watches the film in the sound facility’s Foley studio. The Foley Artist may add an additional layer of sound to the film to enhance its richness.  He may add sounds such as doors closing, footsteps on different surfaces, the sound of clothing movement, or a kissing sound among many, many others.

Music Composer

A Music Composer and Sound Designer are typically on board with the film production early on to plan how the music will fit into the final film. The Music Composer will write and/or source music for each scene’s takes and transitions.

Editing Music

A Music Editor is needed to cut music to the picture so it is frame-ready. He may also move some of the music around to fill in spaces, smooth out a scene or transition, and separate tracks so they fade and dissolve as needed.

Pre-Mix

A pre-mix is done to fix any problems that often show up when combining all the tracks’ sound for the first time. This will help to cut the cost of renting a mixing theater for the final sound mix.

Sweetening

Sweetening is the process of correcting any problems that were found during the pre-mix.

Mix

The final mix is when all of the soundtracks are mixed together to match the final picture. At this point, mixes can be in mono or stereo. They can also be mixed in a noise-reduction system such as Dolby Stereo, THX, or other similar system. A license is needed for noise-reduction systems to be used.

Music & Effects Track

M&E tracks are separate from the dialogue track. This track allows any country to dub the voices into any language and enables international sales. Music & Effects Tracks are usually a required deliverable to distributors.

Backup Copy

A master backup copy (also known as a Protection Copy) of the final mix is always created on a digital protection format.

Transcript

Just as the M&E Track is a necessity for international dubbing, so are transcripts. Transcripts allow other countries to translate the script. It is important that the transcript is created from the final, locked picture and soundtrack.

Ready for Finishing

Once all of these steps are completed, the sound editing process is complete and ready for the finishing stage of post.