Mixing day

AUS220 Week 4 This week wraps up our post-production intensive for this semester as we finally bring our project to an end with a mixing session. Before the session, I have spent quite some time spotting all the sound effect in place to make sure we can spend all our precious time solely for mixing. Before this session, none of us have any experience of mixing a film and we basically have no idea about the process at all. Therefore, we have spend our morning with Tristan mostly to learn about the basics of film mixing such as major principles, usual procedures as well as common practices.

The first thing we learn is the common order of mixing in terms of track. On set sounds are what we would usually receive from the filmmakers as they are most important sounds on screen and are usually the requirement for us as set by the filmmakers. Spot sound effects are followed and they also make up the majority of the mix. The final group is the atmospheric sounds or any “silence” track to set the mix in an appropriate environment. As we spend most of our morning familiarising ourselves with the D-command desk and the different mixing procedures, we have only got the afternoon class to mix the session. We have one important things to decide as to whether to put the soundtrack on top of the sounds or to put the gun sounds on top of ever else. We ended up emphasising the gun sounds in the mix but we still have to face the problem of a muddy mix as we have got a big session. To clean up the mix, we identified the background gunshots and rubbles sound as the most problematic tracks in our mix as they are mostly in the mid range so we turned them down in the final mix.

The principles of working fast and only make big and bold moves that we have learnt in the first lesson are evidently useful. Although we managed to finish the mix by the end of the day, we had to work after class without improving the mix too much. Reflecting upon the session I would improve the mix by not allowing the group to get caught up on small flaws. What we could have done instead is to spend more time on mixing creatively and spend more time deciding on the style we want the mix to sound. For example, we had the idea of applying filters during the slow motion scene but we did not apply that mostly because we did not have a solid discussion on the approach and the fact that we did not have much time.

There are definitely things we can improve on the mix but I think we have worked well as a group and we have created something we are proud of. After spending four weeks into the project I grew more and more interested into post-production work and I would really love to pursue a career in this field. The main reason is that I enjoy telling stories with sound and music, which I do not get as much of this satisfaction working for music. I also feel like I do not get as creatively challenged when I am working in a recording studio environment. I am looking forward to creating further projects and mixing more films during my time of study in SAE.


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