• Tracks should be laid out as mono tracks or stereo pairs with the left channel on odd tracks and the right channel on even.  All on-camera dialog and voiceover should be grouped separately from music and sound effects.  Please remember to include general room-tone files on a separate track in the timeline. 
  • A flash frame is a single frame of white video (or large white dot) that appears 2 seconds before the start of picture along with an accompanying 2-pop on the audio tracks.  And two seconds after the end of picture on reel based productions accompanying a tail pop. Please do not get fancy and apply a dissolve or other transition on either side of the flash frame or use some colored graphic.  If the picture starts at 01:00:00:00, the flash frame should appear at 00:59:58:00.  If you're working in reels there should also be a flash frame (and pop) two seconds after the end of picture on each reel except the last one. If your reel ends at 01:10:00:00 your flash frame should be at 01:10:02:00.
  • A 2-pop is a 1 kHz tone that is one or frame long and placed 2 seconds before the start of picture (First Frame Of Action [FFOP]) .  Please do not fade the 2-pop.
    For example, if your video starts (FFOA) at time-code 01:00:00:00, you would place 1 frame of 1 kHz tone at time-code 00:59:58:00. 
    The 2-pop, along with the flash frame, is important for accurate sync between the video and audio.
  • A Tail pop is the opposite of a 2-pop or Head pop. It is used when your film or video is divided into "reels". Very rare for video but mandatory in film.
    It is a 1 kHz tone that is one or frame long and placed 2 seconds after the end of picture for a given reel on all reels EXCEPT the last reel.  Do not fade the tail pop.
    For example, if your films first reel ends at 01:10:00:00 then your tail pop would be at 01:10:02:00. 
    The tail pop, along with the flash frame, is important for accurate sync between the video and audio.
  • First make sure any Audiosuite FX or plugins are rendered or disabled. If you have a lot of FX we recommend you render or mix them down and replace the original clips with the effected ones. This will save time in the session later.

    Make a copy of the sequence and place it in a new bin.

    Delete the video tracks from the copy of the sequence. Do not include Tone Media and make sure sequence starts at the right time-code.

    Make sure all dissolves/effects are rendered.

    Check for "Offline Items" — continue only if all media is online.

    Remove all EQ and Audio-Suite Effects - they will corrupt the OMF.

    Select the Sequence in your bin and choose “Export” then choose “Options.”

    Select “Export As: OMF 2.0”

    Check the box “Include All Audio Tracks.” Make sure “Video Tracks” is turned off.

    Select “Export Method: Consolidate Media” with 150 frame handles.

    Check the boxes “Include Rendered Audio Effects” & “Render All Audio Effects”

    You should not need to convert any other audio options.

    Choose your media destination. Create a folder, and then select it.

    It is advisable to do a “Save As” and name this setting for future exports.

    Name your OMF Exported Composition file and save.

    Sound files can be aif or wav.

    When naming the file, please use only numbers, letters and spaces.  Slashes & symbols such as [ ] = { / < > * " ? | @ etc. will cause problems.
  • First make sure any Audio FX or plugins are rendered or disabled. If you have a lot of FX you should render or mix them down and replace the original clips with the effected ones. This will save time in the session later.

    Select your in and out points.

    From the File Menu, select “Export” and then “Audio to OMF”

    In the dialog box that appears, set the sample rate to 48 kHz and the bit depth to 16-bit.  Enter at least 3 seconds in the box labeled “Handle Length” and make sure the box next to “Include Crossfade Transitions” is checked.

    Click OK to save the file.  When naming the file, please use only numbers, letters and spaces.  Slashes & symbols such as [ ] = { / < > * " ? | @ , etc., will cause problems.
  • This is a link to the LAFCP Users Group that tells you the best settings.
  • This is quoted from the Digital Juice magazine (which seems not to be online anymore?).

    Work Made for Hire
    Who owns the footage you shoot for your clients?
    by Mark Levy

    One of the issues that I am frequently asked by clients who make videos for a living relates to ownership of their video work. As an intellectual property lawyer, I am surprised how often this legal principle arises and how it is often misinterpreted. The basic law of copyright, which extends to all countries that are members of the Berne Convention (i.e., all major, civilized countries — some 160 in all), is that whoever creates a work owns it. As I said, that is the basic law. Real-life situations can be more complex.

    Unless you work for the government, there are two situations where you might not own the footage you shoot: (1) when you are an employee or (2) when you have a written contract that says otherwise. Many customers, corporate and otherwise, request a written agreement giving them the right to copy and display the work either for an additional fee or as part of the agreed upon compensation. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the customer to enter into a written agreement, under which you or your production company grants copyright rights to your client.

    WHEN YOU DO...
    Without a written agreement, you, the moviemaker or production company, own the copyright rights, regardless of whether you are commissioned to create the work (e.g., a wedding video, a corporate PR piece or a commercial) or even whether you are paid for it or not. Suppose that you are paid an exorbitant amount of money for a 30-second commercial spot. Even after delivering the finished video to your client, without an agreement to the contrary, you own the work. Depending on what you agreed to before you started production, this might mean that your obligation to your client or customer is merely to deliver one good copy of your video. The customer, on the other hand, has no right to copy the video or even to display or broadcast it without your permission, since you own the copyright to your work.

    As you may recall from pre-digital days, portrait photographers routinely held onto negatives and charged their customers for copying photos, even though the customers had already paid the photographer for taking the photos in the first place. That was standard practice. Copyright confers the exclusive rights to the maker of the work to reproduce it, prepare derivative works, distribute copies to the public by sale or rental, and to perform or display the work publicly. By the way, these exclusive copyright ownership rights also apply to whatever unused footage or sound you leave on the cutting room floor. You own it all.

    In 1989, the US Supreme Court heard an interesting case involving ownership of intellectual property. In this case, James Reid, a sculptor, was commissioned by The Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV) to create a modern Nativity scene, complete with a homeless couple and their baby huddled on a street-side steam grate. He was paid $15,000 for creating the sculpture by the CCNV. Unfortunately for the client, the agreement or understanding between the parties was not in writing. If a written agreement had been executed, however, and the magic words "work made for hire" had been used, then the client would have owned the copyright rights. But, since the understanding was not in writing, the client did not own copyright rights, but merely owned the one and only sculpture created and delivered by Mr. Reid. In other words, Mr. Reid retained his copyrights and could make, and sell, copies of the work to anyone he wanted to. Furthermore, the client did not have any right to make any copies of the sculpture that they owned.

    The Supreme Court outlined factors that should be considered when deciding whether an artist (e.g., a painter or videographer) is working as an employee (see the Sidebar). If a court decides that you are an employee, the person or organization that employs you owns the video. In other words, if (1) you are considered an employee or (2) you enter into a written contract that: (2a) specifically states that the video is a "work made for hire" or (2b) that you are assigning the copyright to your client (employer), your employer owns the copyright. Otherwise, since you created the video, you are an independent contractor and you own the copyright to your work, even if you were paid for it.

    A contract can be legally binding even though it may be relatively short. The magic words in these cases ("work made for hire") establish the ownership of intellectual property. What does James Reid's sculpture have to do with video? In our system of jurisprudence, precedent can be set in an identical or related field. Laws that have arisen based on one sort of intellectual property, such as sculpture or still photographs, can be applied to other areas of intellectual property, such as your video projects. When in doubt (repeat after me): see a lawyer!

    If you are an employee of the federal government, and you create a work in the course of your employment, not only do you not own the work, neither does the government. Works created by the federal government are not subject to copyright. Therefore, any work published by the government (e.g., the Federal Register, US patents, federal statutes and regulations) can be copied without permission and without liability.
    For more information, see:

    • 17 U.S.C. 101, 105 (2005)
    • Matthew Bender & Co. v. West Publishing Co., 158 F.3d 674, 679 (2d Cir. 1998)
    • The Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV) v. Reid, 492 U.S. 730.

    Here are the factors that the Supreme Court used in CCNV v. Reid to determine whether a person is an employee:

    • The hiring party's right to control the manner and means by which the product is accomplished.
    • The skill required.
    • The source of the instrumentalities and tools.
    • The location of the work.
    • The duration of the relationship between the parties.
    • Whether the hiring party has the right to assign additional projects to the hired party.
    • The extent of the hired party's discretion over when and how long to work.
    • The method of payment.
    • The hired party's role in hiring and paying assistants.
    • Whether the work is part of the regular business of the hiring party.
    • Whether the hiring party is in business.
    • The provision of employee benefits.
    • The tax treatment of the hired party.

    Mark Levy is a New York-based Patent Attorney and video producer.
  • A DV file is a good choice. MJPEG-A is also fine but can be pretty poor quality. H.264 works well IF you set a key frame EVERY frame. This is true with any I frame format. The reason is that in audio you do a lot of scrubbing back and forth. I frame formats require every image to be built from the last key frame forward to where you are. So going forward they are great but going backward they are terrible. By making every frame a key frame it all works like a charm, and h.264 looks great.

    I can read most video formats but some are not very good for post. I can convert most of them but it's cheaper for you if you just spit out a version for sound that works well in the first place. The longer the project the more important this is.
  • XML is like a fancy EDL (edit decision List). It lets me reconstruct your picture edit. I need it because no matter how "locked" a picture is there is often some very important reason nobody thought of why something needs to change. If ANY change happens after sound post has started everything sound has worked on has to be "conformed", and that takes a lot of work. On big films the picture dept. creates "change notes". I have yet to get a change note from a non big budget film that was at all usable. Often even on big budget films change notes are not well done. Without a good change note conforming can take a huge amount of work and time and is very prone to error.
    However if I have XML's from every version that comes my way I can run them through a piece of software that is designed to conform sound tracks and the amount of work can be VASTLY reduced.
    SO if I have all the valid XML's then I will probably roll with that little change and it won't take forever to fix the problems. If I don't have valid XML's then I will have to charge you for the conform. A conform on a short with a fair number of changes or a feature with very few changes can take a couple of days, so it adds up fast. And if you think you didn't make many changes... The last director who thought he only made a few minor changes was a bit off. After comparing the XML's there were over 80 changes. It is VERY easy to make a LOT of picture changes without realizing it.

    So get me those XML's.
  • OMF stands for Open Media Format and is a file/package that has all of your audio tracks in a format that allows it to be moved from one system to another. You need to export your audio tracks as an OMF type 2 file with 4 second handles. Handle length will be an option in the export.

    AAF is a newer version of OMF (sort of) and is also an option for export. If you have a choice AAF is a better option.

    There are alternate ways of getting your audio tracks to me other than OMF/AAF but none are very good.
  • This is sort of a picture question but it has sound ramifications so...
    This applies to any editing program. You should save your project/ sequence with the date EVERY day that you work on your film. A lot of editors for some reason don't do this. If you don't do this you have no history. You also can't generate change notes for others who are working on the same project. And you have no way to back to yesterdays edit that was much better than your new cut done with too little sleep in the middle of the night because you couldn't sleep.
    You can really shoot yourself in the foot if you don't keep your old versions safe in this way.
  • If you're asking you probably don't have one, darn. A sound log (or Sound Report) is the place where the person recording the sound marked down what is where on the tape or file and the problems were (if any) with each take. And possibly what take the director liked. It is very useful for audio post when a line is trashed by some noise to be able to go to other recordings of the same scene and see if there is a reading of the same word that can get cut in to replace the trashed one. Good notes can save you a lot of money that might have to be spent on ADR if the unused takes can't be found.
  • Locked picture (see What is locked picture).
    An OMF or AAF of the audio tracks with 4 sec. handles (see what is an OMF/AAF).
    A XML of the edit (see what is a XML and why do you need it).
    Production tapes or the audio from clips that are not in the edit (optional depending on the project).
    The sound log. (see what is a sound log).
  • It is the finished picture edit, the final no more changes version of your film. It means that NOTHING will change. It means you can't add cut or change a single frame. I'm being a little redundant because there I have heard "locked, well except for a few tweaks" WAY too many times. A film is either locked or it isn't. It doesn't matter if you make 10,000 changes or just one frame, if you change anything it isn't locked.
  • BEFORE you shoot a frame of film. Talk to a post sound person. Hire them if possible but at least have them go over what you should do and not do while shooting. And decide on formats, sample rates , etc., with them. A lot of production folks don't work in post so their choices may not be what's best for post. This is very important if your project is from film to video or visa versa.
  • As a rule of thumb figure editorial (not counting the mix or music creation) will take 10 - 15 man-hours (could be woman-hours, I just can't bring myself to type "people-hours") per screen minute. So if you have a one person post crew your 100 minute film is going to take 1,000 - 1,500 hours to edit, that's in the ballpark of six months. So the two weeks you have allowed till the Sundance deadline isn't really going to work.
    If you're doing a documentary, what is acceptable is a lot different and the time requirements are probably going to be a lot less.
  • Figure an experienced actor can do 8 - 15 lines an hour. A line is less than 10 words. An inexperienced actor will probably go slower, an inexperienced director can slow the process down also.
    SO talk it over with your editor recordist etc ahead of time and have a plan. ADR is hard to do outside of a studio and studios cost money.
    And don't EVER listen to that voice that says "we can just ADR it in post" again. Unless you have a good sized paid crew it is NOT cheaper to ADR it in post.
  • No.
    WOW that from a sound guy?

    People are VERY visually oriented. Films without sound are silent films, films without picture are radio.

    I figure sound is about 1/4 of the film experience (not counting dialog), but it is also about 1/3 of the visual experience. Star Wars would look pretty lame if all the ships sounded like wooden sets and all you heard as the big space ships came by was the sound of the camera. These things LOOK real because they SOUND real. So when you do the math it does end up being about 50% of the experience (you knew I was going to get there somehow), but 1/2 of that people don't realize is sound.
  • You can.

    But the real question is Why can't I do sound post WELL myself.

    Experience, equipment, experience, sound libraries, experience, sound knowledge, experience, time and of course EXPERIENCE.

    There is a theme to the above and it's because it's an important point. Sound is both an art and a craft. It's hard to create the art if you don't know the craft. If you know how you want your car to run but you don't know one end of a screwdriver from the other it's a bad idea to work on your own car. If you go to a few film festivals and listen to people you don't knows films you will come away understanding why you need sound post done by someone who knows what they are doing.

    It's very hard to do the same to your own work because you have an image in your head and you know what you were trying to do. You can fill in the blanks without knowing it. Your audience doesn't have that advantage.
    The ideal is that you bring your ideas to the post and you and your editor/designer et al and you collectively evolve those ideas into an effective reality that improves the film.
  • There is no sure answer for that. Look at how long it's going to take and you'll have an idea. But most shows are done by bid. You ask a post production facility what they will charge and they will look at the length, amount of ADR, how FX heavy it is etc and give you a bid. You can also go to them with your budget and see what they can do. Deals are struck all the time. A lot depends on what your needs are what your timeline is and what kind of mix you need.

    BIG budget films spend ~~2-5% of the budget on post sound. So a 30M film should budget $750,000 to $1,500,000. The smaller the overall budget the higher the sound post should be (percentage-wise). A no-budget film needs to think creatively. You don't have enough money to "pay" someone to do your sound so what can you offer. A hint, "copy and a credit" is probably not going to do it. Maybe your hook is that your film looks great and has some reel potential for your up and coming sound editor. But to make that one work your film needs to REALY look good AND there has to be a chance to do some interesting sound. Maybe your hook is a GREAT script or points (deferred isn't very attractive since it's mostly vaporware). Maybe it's a friendship. But even with creativity the rent still comes due so you should have some money to help your sound editor live through your post and realize that they will have to do some paying work to support working on your film. That will add more time to your post schedule. SEE HOW LONG DOES POST SOUND TAKE.

    In short if you're trying to get post done cheap for "An Inconvenient Truth" and you have a 6-9 month window you probably will have better results than if you're trying to get post done on your indi remake of "Water World" that needs to be done in a week to meet the (name your favorite film festival) submission deadline.
  • So she won't end up owning your film, house , etc. Or in Canada so you won't do time, they are a bit stricter about such things. You don't need her anyway. Go get a composer. And if that's not in the cards then there is a LOT of music that is licensed under Creative Commons. There is also a HUGE amount of Royalty Free music available (you pay a fee up front but no on going royalties). Local bands are also a good bet and local musicians playing Classical music (pre 1900 classical music) are also a good option.
    You might also be able to strike a deal with the BIG name, but without a personal connection it's a very long shot.
  • Actually a good question. My general answer is that if you're not mixing on a proper stage and you're not doing a game you should stay away from surround. There just isn't much reason to do a surround mix and it takes a LOT more time and money. The pressure is high to do your film in surround because EVERYBODY is and the manufacturers (or rather their marketing departments) are pushing it like mad. But really stop and think, why? What does it get you? Most films spend very little effort on surround because most films get little benefit from it. MANY theatres won't play it in surround anyway (even if it's billed as a Dolby Digital theatre). It's not easy to mix for the big screen without mixing in a big screen room. It's VERY difficult to mix surround to a small screen and have it sound good on a big screen. Little rooms just don't sound anything like big rooms. An experienced editor/mixer can usually translate and get a stereo mix that works pretty well but surround is a very different beast. And if you're not playing your film back off a DVD how are you going to get that surround mix out to the audience? There are a few options but pretty much all of them are going to cost you. There are a few ways to cheat your way in but why?
    OK you're only going to sell DVD's so surround is no problem right? Wrong. A lot of your viewers are not going to play back on a surround system and VERY few are going to play on a system that is properly set up. So like the theatre you have to assume stereo is all that folks are going to hear.
    So your stereo mix is still king and you can't put anything in the other speakers that you can't afford to loose.
    But BIG films are in surround. Yes, they are. Well, not all of them. Woody Allen for one doesn't even like stereo. Unless he's been convinced in the last year or two all of his films are in mono. But back to you. BIG films spend a lot on sound and mix on proper mix stages. They also do separate stereo mixes for when the surround doesn't play (for whatever reason). Those DVD's are also mastered separately with a VIDEO mix designed for the smaller screen. If you have 30 million then go for it, but reading this FAQ so I'm thinking your in a different budget range.
  • Well, actually you should but unless you're mixing on a Dolby certified stage and have twelve grand or so in the budget for a license then you're not going to get it. If you're reading this you probably don't have the fee in your budget so time to change your expectations.
  • 0 dB is the great pumpkin of audio...well thats a little extreme but 0 is where you set it. Db is "relative" scale so for instance film uses 0 dB "referenced to" -18 and for us -18 is zero other folks use other references. The big confusion came with digital because a digital scale is referenced to "Digital Full Scale" the place beyond which there is no more. People were used to crossing over 0 and then with digital it became impossible but its all smoke and mirrors. In the analog world you set zero low enough so that you had X amount of "head room" before it sounded bad (a very subjective standard) in digital people got told of a non subjective standard and it confused everyone.
    Most of are now in the digital world and your 0 dB is FS (full scale). Anything that goes over 0 dBfs is going to clip and sound VERY bad. There is a good argument that nothing should be over -3 dB because of the way digital to analog converters work there is a "crest factor" that could put what appears to be a 0 dB digital signal at +3dB on the analog side.
  • Film runs @ 24 Fr / sec, Video runs @ 29.97 Fr /sec. (or more accurately it runs @ 60 fields (1/2 frames) per nominal second, and the clock is actually running .1% slow. hence the need for "Drop Frame Time Code")
    24 doesn't divide in to 29.97 well so in film transfers the nominal speed of 30 is used.

    In film to Video transfers the film FRAME is printed to 2 video FIELDS (1 Video Frame) the next film FRAME is printed to 3 video FIELDS (1 1/2 video Frames) and this pattern repeats until the film is done. The proses adds 6 video Frames per second and makes every one happy...almost.
    For technical & political reasons when color TV came in the frame rate was slowed down from 30 (old B&W TV was broadcast @ 30 Frames/sec.) to 29.97. So the film to tape transfer was done @ 30 BUT it will be played back @ 29.97, in other words it will be slowed down by .1%.

    In post work where the final destination is back to film you have to take into account that when you go from syncing to video to syncing to film everything will speed up by .1%.

    There are various ways around this issue and it's not really a problem. But it is something to keep in mind. If you are staying in video you never have to worry about syncing back to film, but if the need ever comes up its doable.

    Where this can be a problem is that the sound transferred in sync to the FILM portion of a project will be slowed down .1% relative to the sound on the DAT that it came from. So if sync sound needs to be taken from those DATs it needs to be digitized at a pulldown compensating sample rate so that it plays back in sync.

    Some digital recorders can record at a rate that will do this automatically.
  • There really isn't a 30 df — there would be no need. Part of the general confusion revolves around various people/companies that over the years have used 30 and 29.97 interchangeably, so that for instance there were TC boxes that said 30df (when they should have been marked 29.97df). I thin they thought they were making it simple for non "pros" but it has lead to great confusion.

    The counting for 30ndf is exactly the same as 29.97ndf, it's the time base that has changed. 29.97df on the other hand is a diferent counting system with the same timebase as 29.97ndf. What you realy have is one parent TC (30ndf) with two erant children. The first child (29.97ndf) just runs a little slow (we all know people like that), the second child (29.97df) also runs slow but she's a bit smarter than her brother and tries to hide the fact by lying about her time so she apeares to be on time.
    30ndf is used for music a lot and for sync to film (both prmaraly because the math is easier).

    29.97ndf is used for syncing to video where the TC doesn't have to acuratly reflect real world clock time (remember its running slow )

    29.97df is used for syncing to video where the TC does have to acuratly reflect real world clock time, ie broadcast.

    30df you would have to use 29.97df generator clocked to a pulled up clock. You would end up with TC that didn't reflect real world clock time, you'ld have complicated math and you wouldn't be able to sync to any thing.....sounds like a new standard lets propose it.