All posts in the category "Sound mixing"


Friday, October 19th, 2012

Given that M/S stereophonic recording theories and practices have existed for over fifty years, many people are still reluctant about its regular use during production or post production, especially during the sound editing and mixing stages. Recent improvements in post-production softwares, along with an increase in computing DSP power, facilitate the integration of this type of recording technique throughout the entire work process.

For some background, the Mid-Side (or M/S) recording technique is a coincident miking technique developed by Alan Blumlein, which captures sound from a fixed point in space using two microphones. It provides a natural stereo image that can be easily adjusted or modified after the recording process. There are several plug-ins that allow you to modify the reproduction of sound in space; amongst them the Waves plug-in S1 (stereo imager) and M/S decoder (MS Matrix), which are commonly used by many studios and professionals. Based on similar matrixing  theories are ambisonic recording techniques, which were popularized by the Soundfield microphones and more recently the Double M/S, proposed by Schoeps, arise from the same mathematical theories about the sphere.

One of the most recognized assets of the M/S technique is its versatility and ease of capture. It can be used as a mono cardioid microphone (M) pointed towards the source. During shooting, it can serve as a primary or secondary boom, and for wild recordings it is suitable for recording sound effects, voices, or even music given the circumstances. For ambience recordings it can give a natural stereo image. Due to the extreme proximity between the two microphones, phase problems are avoided, such as those commonly caused by differences in space and angles between the microphones. One down side of this technique is a less defined stereo separation when compared to other stereophonic recording techniques that have greater spacing between microphones, such as AB or ORTF.

Adding a close M/S pair during a shoot can be used to add detail to busy scenes, or if recorded from a distance, can enhance the atmosphere surrounding the action. These ambience tracks can later be used as a part of your sound library for the project. I benefited from this recently, which I describe in my article about the film War Witch.

During sound editing, we can also dig into the source recordings from alternate takes to boost and enlarge ambiences or crowd atmospheres.

There is often confusion about what to do with the M/S recordings during the editing stage. To clear this up, they should be separated into two categories: dialogue and sound effects. This choice should reflect their expected functions in the final mix. If using your M/S pair as secondary on-location dialogue boom the tracks should be grouped and sorted with the primary dialogue recordings, whereas if your M/S pair is capturing atmospheres (without voices) the tracks should be handled by the sound effects editor, and later treated as a sound effect by the mixer. If used as a sound effect, the M/S tracks will more likely be processed and mixed in stereo, or even surround. Though be sure not to duplicate the sounds into both categories, because if synced by both the dialogue editor and the sound effects editor, phase problems will occur from having duplicate tracks.

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Web Echoes 2: Sound Design, technical challenge, … innovation

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

It is still very hard for me to conciliate sound design and web design at the same time. I finished to work on War Witch at the beginning of February, so I am writing a series of posts that will lead to new collections. Stay tuned! A lot of new ahead!

As an appetizer, here are my Web Echoes…

Steve Papagiannis, a supervising sound editor from the Los Angeles area, started Stavrosound blog about six months ago. So far, his articles are oriented towards dialog editing and it’s particularities like crackles or even more dreaming ideas like this.  Very cool!

One Stop Digital, Excellent technical resource for Pro Tools users, published this post that talks about programs that conform sound to picture.  More possibilities.

Another blog about Sound Design is azimutaudio.  He takes the time to review few SFX libraries.

This post from has an super article about gun recording.

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About the sound of Café de Flore

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Café de Flore is still warm out of the oven, it reaches this week our screens after exciting Premieres in Venice, Toronto, Montreal, Sherbrooke, Québec, Ste-Adèle and others!

2 films in one ::: The two stories of the film evolve independantly which allows for a different sound aesthetic. Then, they tend to bleed in each other, but the emotion persists, the pace is accelerating, the music spins and  the magic works.

Work in progress ::: Personally and passionately edited for more than 10 months by Jean-Marc Vallée, and gradually reaching the sound editorial crew as the version evolved, the film was built to the end… yesterday!  That defined the post production process.  As editor, Jean-Marc was very much involved in sound editing and mix.  Dialogue editor Mireille Morin digged down the sources with numerous additions and alternatives to clear the dialog to a very mediculous level. Sound effects editing was done using mostly original recordings.  We premixed and conformed before final mix, always aiming to improve  to the maximum potential of our sources and our resources, still ready for new ideas and picture changes… before the official deadline, Venice! Music is obviously a very important theme with Jean-Marc Vallée’s films.  Working closely with DJ/sound editor Luc Raymond to tweek and adjust the soundtrack to the end.  The entire sound process was a real and true team work.

The Evolution of technology ::: Work in progress needs control of all the elements to the end, not always easy to follow with picture changes. I discovered new applications and web tools during Café de Flore that helped to deal with the situations : DropBox, SoundCloud, WordPress, Google Apps, Evernote, and other sound related applications Edimarker, Edicue,Pro Remote, idisplay, Lockstep!  These apps are very promissing to help us achieve the tasks of film sound.  There are new solutions close at hand. First, should we adopt them collectively.

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