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Pro Audio Service

A complete list of services offered by Blake Sound.

This extensive list labels independent assignments commonly assigned to individuals who focus on that one specific skill.  More often than usual, Blake covers over 50% of the unified tasks on smaller projects such as commercial advertisements, indie films, and games. 

Pre-Production

Although it is uncommon to have an audio professional involved in pre-production, major studios like Marvel, Universal, and Sony wouldn't have it otherwise.  The truth is, it's the secret recipe to a smooth production, all the way to post-production.  

Audio Consultant

It's always good to get an idea of time and costs.  With an extensive knowledge of the pro audio pipeline, having a list of options available that focus on time constraints and budget are prime. 

Sound Manager

Making sure schedules are kept, quality is consistent, and organization remains undisturbed.  Precise attention to detail

Production

The need to have a sound specialist on set is as important as having the camera itself.  With every aspect of audio being cared for, the chances of having a successful project are higher. 

Production Sound Mixer

Dedicated to acquiring high-quality audio recordings.  A bit of perfectionism can go a long way, as options for fixing unusable audio in post-production are limited and expensive.  Calm, communicative, and capable of providing clear professional direction to talent and crew while fully incorporating instructions from the director in the midst of a stressful, expensive, and time-sensitive shoot. Creativity and resourcefulness are also important qualities as the sound mixer is solely responsible for leading the team through any technical errors and sound problems that may arise.  Leveling, monitoring and recording of audio during production with a precise attention to detail and excellent aural skills. Deciding which microphones to use as well as placements of the microphones is a big factor as well, and mixing the various tracks and audio signals in real time.  Direction is made to the boom operator and/or sound utility person.  Ability to make decisions under pressure, including the ability to give and accept direction.  Not to mention, diplomatic and tactful.  Not to mention, includes knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures.

Boom Operator

Assistant to the sound mixer.  Maintains proper positioning of the boom mic during actual filming. Many times, required to hold the boom for several minutes at a time, which can be physically demanding. Patience, flexibility and reliability combined with physical stamina, dexterity and agility.  Good timing is important, as to be able to follow the actors movements while staying clear of the camera and lights. This makes it a challenging job for achieving the best possible audio.  Dexterity, agility, and the ability to anticipate.

Sound Utility

Assisting in setting up, operating and maintaining the running order of equipment, often acting as a second boom operator, or even second mixer, and also repairing and servicing equipment such as cables and hardware as necessary. As both mixer and boom operator(s) may be busy with their tasks at any given time, the utility may also apply or adjust personal microphones or actors' wireless transmitters, may move microphones or assist in running cables, and may liaise with other departments on issues such as noise minimization and set lockdown.

 
 

Post-Production

Over 40 people are credited in the sound department alone for the 2018 Oscar-winning film for Best Sound Mixing and Editing, Dunkirk. This doesn’t even include the many technicians, engineers and musicians who worked on the score written by Hans Zimmer.  Understanding the process of post-production and the tasks needed for each role that applies, can only reinforce the consistent quality of a project.

Sound Supervisor

Perhaps the most important role in Post-Production Audio, overseeing virtually every other member of the sound team on the entire production. This includes managing budgets, ensuring that the crew is completing their work correctly and on-time, and regularly communicating with Producers and Directors regarding the progress of the sound team.  The Sound Supervisor (also known as the Supervising Sound Editor) may wear many hats depending on the size of the production, and is often involved in the recording of sound effects libraries for productions, handling some sound design duties, and working closely with the Foley, Dialog Editing, ADR, Music, and Re-Recording mixing teams.
 

Many Sound Supervisor's are veteran engineers that have already served on several other roles for alternative sound teams earlier in their career.  The ability to multitask, stay organized, provide leadership and guidance, and work well with others are important skills for a Sound Supervisor to have.

Sound Designer

The art and practice of creating sound tracks for a variety of needs. It involves specifying, acquiring or creating auditory elements using audio production techniques and tools. It is employed in a variety of disciplines including filmmaking, television production, video game development, theater, sound recording and reproduction, live performance, sound art, post-production, radio and musical instrument development. Sound design commonly involves performing foley and the editing of previously composed or recorded audio, such as sound effects and dialogue for the purposes of the medium, but it can also involve creating sounds from scratch through synthesizers.

Sound Effects Editor

Among the challenges that effects editors face are creatively adding together various elements to create believable sounds for everything you see on screen, as well as memorizing their sound effects library.

Dialogue Editor

Dialogue editing is more accurately thought of as ‘production sound editing’, where the editor takes the original sound recorded on the set, and using a variety of techniques, makes the dialogue more understandable, as well as smoother, so the listener doesn't hear the transitions from shot to shot (often the background sounds underneath the words change dramatically from take to take). The dialog editor assembles, synchronizes, and edits all the dialogue in a film or television production.  Usually, a dialogue editor will use the production tracks that were recorded on the set.  If any of the production tracks are unusable they can be replaced by either alternate production tracks recorded on set or by ADR.  Large productions may have an ADR editor working under the dialogue editor, but the positions are often combined. The ADR editor or dialogue editor also work with the ‘walla group’ in films which they are required, providing the background chatter noise in scenes with large crowds, such as parties or restaurants.  Once the dialogue editor has completed the dialogue track, the re-recording mixer then mixes it with the music and sound effects tracks to produce the final soundtrack.

Sound Editor

Responsible for selecting and assembling sound recordings in preparation for the final sound mixing or mastering of a television program, motion picture, video game, or any production involving recorded or synthetic sound.  There are primarily three divisions of sound that are combined to create a final mix; dialogue, effects, and music.  In larger markets such as New York and Los Angeles, sound editors often specialize in only one of these areas, thus a show will have separate dialogue, effects, and music editors. In smaller markets, sound editors are expected to know how to handle it all, often crossing over into the mixing realm as well. Editing effects is likened to creating the sonic world from scratch, while dialogue editing is likened to taking the existing sonic world and fixing it.

Foley Artist/Editor

There are many little sound effects that happen within any given scene of a movie. The process of recording them all can be time-consuming.  Foley art can be broken down into three main categories;  feet, moves, and specifics (physical touch, doors opening and closing, and more).  These are all recorded during the post-production process.

Foley Mixer

Foley is an immersive element and is typically mixed at a low volume because it manipulates the human experience and therefor requires subconscious hearing.   In the final mixing stages, it usually fits in with the ambiences of the scene.  Foley always follows dialogue.   A foley mixer carefully sets the audio levels of each foley sound.  The sound level must be right for the distance between the actor and the camera.  Distance to camera mixing is very important. The distance affects not just the volume level of the foley sounds.  In close ups, for example, more bass frequencies and high frequencies are needed. The further away an actor is from the camera, the fewer the bass and high frequencies are needed and are replaced with mid frequencies.  High and low frequencies are brought down so you feel you are in the room with the actors on screen.  A foley mixer should add the foley sounds so quietly they are immersed into the scene. It’s there to make the scene realistic, not to draw audience attention away to the sound.

ADR Recordist

Additional Dialogue Replacement (ADR) can be a confusing and challenging process for actors, and a good ADR recordist will be communicative, empathetic, and level-headed enough to set the talent at ease and coax out a strong performance. At the same time, ADR sessions are notoriously expensive; ADR recordists must make difficult decisions to keep the process moving, recognizing when they've gotten the best take they're likely to get and moving on. In other words, they must compartmentalize: appearing outwardly calm and reassuring while inwardly maneuvering to wrap the session as quickly as possible.

ADR Mixer

Managment of all of the re-recorded audio that is necessary for a clean and clear final product. There are a variety of conditions that can render a film crew unable to cleanly record lines of dialogue or musical accompaniment. Background noise such as crowds, city sounds, or the weather are generally outside of the control of even the most audacious directors.

Music Composer

Composing for television means being deeply attuned to story and character, and skilled enough to translate emotional and psychological nuances into effective musical soundtracks.  It is important to be cool-headed, productive, and consistent under pressing deadlines. After all, even if the music doesn't always come easily, the show must go on.  Filmmaking is a collaborative art. Unlike composers of stand-alone music, who are beholden only to their own muse, film scorers take inspiration from the creative work of writers, actors, cinematographers, and directors. The ability to engage in an exchange of ideas is vital, as is the humility to ultimately defer and adapt to a director's vision. Film composers must also be enthusiastic consumers of film in order to understand the way music can play with and against the action on screen, and to stay on top of changes and trends in the industry.

Music Editor

Technical, organized, and creative. Similar to a project manager, much of the job revolves around organizing and distributing information. However, there is a fair share of tough creative decisions to be made, whether it's choosing how to cut a cue in order to make it fit a scene or selecting the most effective temp music to underscore an emotional scene. Certainly a fastidious attention to detail, and a passion for storytelling through music.

Music Recording Mixer

Leads the creative project from inception to final delivery.  Adaptive to diverse and changing technology environments.  Determines acoustics of recording studio and adjusts controls to specified levels. Directs installation of microphones amplifiers for use in sound pickup.   Multitrack recording can involve hundreds of tracks, overdubbing, editing, and mixing both live ensemble and electronically produced sources.  A knowledge of complex analog and digital audio systems is vital.  The final key is to obtain balance between music, dialog, and sound effects.

Re-Recording Engineer

Rigorously detail-oriented, organized, and highly focused.  Precise and demanding, requiring the ability to concentrate closely for long hours.  At the same time, it's also important for freelance mixing engineers to be flexible, as work—or work-related requests—can come in at all hours of the day.  While the work is largely solitary, it remains a collaborative art: whether listening closely to the goals and requests of producers and artists, or inferring the intended direction and stylistic aim of a track merely from other elements of its production.   This is a role in which perfectionism is allowed and even encouraged, as long as it doesn’t stand in the way of timeliness.  Incredibly detail-oriented, focused, humble, and speedy—capable of working self-directed for hours at a time.  A listener in both senses of the word: taking direction well and can easily distinguish subtle nuances in sound.  The highest compliment for a re-recording mixer is when the audience doesn’t notice the mix. This is debatable, but it's certainly true that top re-recording mixers excel in creating audio that enhances storytelling without distracting from it.  Sometimes two or more re-recording mixers work together collaboratively or in the presence of a larger creative team, but more often than not, re-recording mixers work alone. Overall, being a re-recording mixer requires extended periods of focused, high-intensity work intermingled with periods of scarcity.

Re-Recording Mixer

The final mix must achieve a desired sonic balance between its various elements, and must match the director's or sound designer's original vision for the project.  For material intended for broadcast, the final mix must also comply with all applicable laws governing sound mixing (CALM Act in United States and EBU R128 loudness protocol in Europe).  The first part of the traditional re-recording process is called the ‘premix’.  In the dialog premix, the re-recording mixer does preliminary processing, including making initial loudness adjustments, cross-fading, and reducing environmental noise or spill that the on-set microphone picked up.  In most instances, audio restoration software may be employed.  During the ‘final mix’ the re-recording/dubbing mixers, guided by the director or producer, must make creative decisions from moment to moment in each scene about how loud each major sound element (dialog, sound effects, laugh track and music) should be relative to each other. Individual sounds may be modified when desired by adjusting their loudness, spectral content and artificial reverberation. Sounds may be inserted into a three-dimensional space of the listening environment for a variety of venues and release formats: movie theaters, home theater systems, etc. that have stereo and multi-channel (5.1, 7.1, etc.) surround sound systems. Today, films may be mixed in 'object-based' audio formats such as Dolby Atmos, which introduces a heightened atmosphere within the sound field with the introduction of ceiling speakers and the elimination of audio channels.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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