Category Archives: Mixing


Here is a short film by called Erase that I did set and post sound for:

Written, Directed and Acted by the talented Gianluigi Carelli



Push & Pull

push & pull

I’ve been experimenting with a technique in Surround Sound mixing I’ll call “Push & Pull.” In the picture example above, I created two MIDI generated tones in XPand2 called “Low Smoke.” It is a low-end pulse with an added high-end steam effect that helps create the mood I need for my Industrial landscape.

The first “Low Smoke” is placed in the back Left/Right surrounds at a volume of -28.8 (higher) and the front “Low Smoke” is placed in the front Left/Right surrounds and dropped to -44.2 (lower). The two tones combine to create one sound, but because the back end tone is slightly louder then the front, it starts to push the viewers focal point deeper into the scene/images and the quieter front tone pulls them in even further.
A lot of times when mixing you might think of only mixing different sounds against each other, like a footstep against a dog bark, but interesting directionality points can be created when you duplicate identical sounds and start mixing them in surround placement and volume. This is a great way of subtly creating depth with the moving image.
– John

Dolby Laboratory Training Notebook

Dolby Laboratory Training Notebook

I’m midway through a training session with Dolby Laboratories rep Matt Kanau. Matt has tuned close to 3,000 theaters and has worked for Skywalker and Lucasfilm for 9 years. He is now the full time Dolby rep for West Coast Canada.

Matt has been going over in detail:
Room Acoustics:
*RT 60 Design Specifications
*Dialogue Intelligibility
*Acoustical Model normalized for 500Hz

Reverberant Characteristics
* Smooth Decay

Room Volume
*How the 500Hz Decay time is determined

How RT 60 is measured
*Multiple Mic Locations
*Steady Pink Noise
*High Spls from 31Hz to 8kHz

Background Noise
*Must be low to avoid mashing quiet sound effects.
*NC-30 highs acceptable

Translation of Dubbing stage to Playback environment
*Room Acoustics
*Low Background Noise
*45 degree Monitor at Mix
*High Quality Sound components
*System setup and calibration/Alignment
How Background Noise is Measured

NC Standards
*Cinemas – 25
*Dub – 20
*Foley – 5 to 10

Monitoring Angles
*45 degrees

Isolation from Noise Sources

Sound System Components

*Other processing
*Perforated screens Screen
Sound System Calibration

Equalization Standards
*How do we decide what EQ to apply to all speakers
*Study room, look for patterns
*Let Reverberation play a role
*Consider room size
*Using the ear

-The X-Curve-

-Beginning Training on the 3Ds:

Dolby Digital – VBR – Variable Bit Rate – AC3 – 12:1 Compression

Basic Data Streams: The 3Ds:
Dialog Normalization – A measurement of all peaks of Dialog in the Mix. Dolby decided that -31dbfs is the standard playback of AC3 files.
Dynamic Range Control – Presets in Metadata – Line Mode Compression – RF Mode Compression:
Listening to 5.1 Mix
Modulates Frequencies
Stereo Compressor
Down Mixing: AC3 down mixed to Stereo means the removal of the LFE. ALl discrete LFE information is stripped from the mix.
6 Down mixing presets:
1) Film Light
2) Film Standard
3) Music Light
5) Music Standard
6) Speech

– John

Sound Design with Pro Tools HD 8 and ICON

Avid Icon console

The following Instructional webinar from Avid takes you through Feature Film Sound Design with Pro Tools HD 8 and ICON.

The topics include:

* Intro
* Creative Sound Editing to Picture
* Sound Design with Microtrack II and Structure
* Sound Design with Plug-ins & advanced ICON automation features
* Final Mix and Stem Record

Feature Film Sound Design with Pro Tools HD 8 and ICON

This webinar is one of the best I’ve seen for working with the Icon system.

– John