Post Production Sound – Film Style Mixing

In the world of independent film it is often overlooked just how important post production sound is. Post production sound is usually one of the first things that’s cut when post budgets get tight. I can’t stress enough how important a great mix is to your film and how the audience will judge the quality of your film and overall product by the way it sounds. Nothing takes you out of a film quicker than bad sound.[pullquote align=”right”]Tip: It is always more cost effective for a production to have the film editing complete and the picture locked before you start the post production sound.[/pullquote]

So, we are going to dedicate next few articles to post production sound and help you understand just how important this step is to the success of your film. We hope to shed some light on the process of getting great post production sound and will cover each element, why it is important and how it’s done.  These articles will benefit everyone from the beginning film maker to aspiring sound engineer.

Here is what we will be covering:

  • Setting up and room calibration
  • Workflow and organizing your project
  • Syncing sound
  • Production audio
  • Dialog
  • Re-recording dialog or ADR (Automatic Dialog Replacement)
  • Sound design, foley, sound effects and ambience
  • Music and Soundtrack
  • Editing to picture
  • Signal processing, plugins and noise reduction
  • Mixing to picture
  • Deliverables

So before we dive into all the technical aspects of mixing sound for film, we should have an understanding of what post production sound is and the people that are involved.

What is post production sound?

Post production sound is used to describe the various stages a film will go through after the production is complete until the completion of the final deliverables, final mix or master recordings. It involves, ADR, sound design, sound editing, adding additional effects, music and mix all these elements together into a final master. Post Production sound is typically one of the last step the film will go through.

Who’s involved in the post production sound?

There are various jobs that require a lot of time and energy, sometimes on an independent film, a person on the crew may perform several of these jobs or in some case even all of them.

Post-Production Supervisor

The post-production supervisor is a key member of the post-production staff who is in charge of all aspects of the entire post-production of a film. The post-production supervisor works for the producer or production company of the film and they control all the details of post-production and work with the different departments during this phase to ensure they are on time and budget. Post production is one of the most time-intensive phases in the production film, allowing proper time for each stage of the process needs to be carefully considered when budgeting for your film.

Supervising Sound Editor

The sound editor is a key member of the sound crew is the creative authority of the film’s sound. The sound editor works closely with the director, producers, post-production supervisor and picture editor.  The sound editor will carry out the vision of the film’s sound and will be in charge of creating, developing, editing, mixing and overseeing all aspects of the post-production sound. The sound editor is ultimately responsible for designing and creating all aspects of a film’s sound from the dialog, ADR, sound effects to the re-recording mix of the final masters of the film. Depending on the size of the production, the sound editor may also carry out the job duties of the sound designer.

Re-Recording Mixer

The re-recording mixer is a member of the post production sound crew responsible for mixing together all the elements of the soundtrack. Larger films will normally have a crew of two or three re-recording mixers, they will each focus on one element of the mix – dialog, sound effects or music. On indie films there may only be one re-recording mixer, he or she may take multiple passes to automate each of the elements of the mix. The re-recording mixer will work closely with the director and producers to make sure their vision for the film’s sound is achieved.

Sound Designer

The sound designer is a member of the post production sound crew who specializes in creating a unique sound effect. The sound designer works closely with the supervising sound editor to help create, acquire and manipulate the sound elements within the film.

Dialog Editor

[pullquote align=”right”]Tip: Poorly edited dialog is one of the biggest problems with independent films sound.[/pullquote]The dialog editor is a member of the sound crew who specializes in editing dialog for the film. A dialog editor will receive the finished cut of the film and organize, edit and clean up the dialog tracks. The main goal of the dialog editor is to seamlessly edit the dialog to help smooth out the transitions between takes, scenes and locations. It is normal for the dialog editor to be involved in the ADR process.

Sound Effects Editor

The sound effects editor is a member of the post production sound crew who specializes in editing the sound effects for the film. The sound effects editor will create and edit any sound effects that are not considered foley.

Foley Supervisor

The Foley Supervisor is a member of the post production sound crew who oversees the foley process and/or specializes in editing the sounds created by a foley artist. Depending on the project some foley supervisors also act as the foley artist.

Foley Artist

post-production-sound-img4The foley artist is a member of the post production sound crew who specializes in creating foley sound effects (incidental sounds) that are in synced with the picture and enhance the overall soundtrack – such as; footsteps, clothing noise and other objects that are handled or come into contact with the actors.

Music Supervisor

The music supervisor is a member of the crew that oversees, coordinates the work of the composer, the editor, and sound mixers. The music supervisor may also handle researching, obtaining and clearing rights of commercial songs for a film.

Music Editor

The music editor is a member of the post production sound crew that works in conjunction with the music supervisor and composer to edit the score, commercial songs and other music in the film.[pullquote align=”right”] Tips: Lower budget Independent films that can’t afford an orchestra will typically have the composer use computer software to create the musical score.[/pullquote]


The composer is the artist or musician who works with the director, producers, sound team, and musicians to create the musical score for a film. The composer must understand the tone and mood to help build the story and enhance the emotional or dramatic tension of a film. A composer may oversee the hiring of orchestra musicians and even conduct recording sessions.

Now that we have an understanding of the various roles in the post production sound crew lets look at the process in more depth… >>>>READ THE NEXT POST PRODUCTION SOUND – FILM STYLE MIXING ARTICLE. (Coming Soon)

Categories: Post-Production