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Post-production: editing.

When the Lumière Brothers first projected “Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory” on December 28, 1895, they were not aware that they had just begun a new art form, let alone the birth of an industry that would move masses, as for them it was simply a technological advancement that would remain for scientific research, and they never even thought about editing. From its inception, cinema was something entirely astonishing because at that time no one had previously seen a moving image, achieving from the beginning a global expansion, based on the simple recording and projection of fragments, known as “actualities”. However, it did not take long for filmmakers to realize the great expressive potential that cinema has, not only through different shots or special effects, but also through editing and montage. This was born at the hands of Edwin S. Porter in the year 1900, when he realized that by alternating shots of actions, he created tension and dramatization in the viewer. Thus, editing evolved until today, becoming another cinematographic phase, and one that needs to be considered from both the script and the filming process. This cinematographic phase consists of three main operations: selection, combination, and assembly; these three operations aim to achieve, from separate elements at the outset, a whole, which is the film. Editing reconstructs both the time and space of filming, providing continuity.

Stages of Editing

We talk about different stages:

  • Editor’s cut: This initial edit is longer, as it stems from the conjunction of the “rough cuts” that have been made daily.
  • Director’s cut: The editor and producer spend weeks pre-editing the film based on the first version, identifying flaws.
  • Producer’s cut: The producer has more authority than the director to approve the final version, which is why directors sometimes detach themselves from the final product.
  • Final version.

Transitions

When we edit, we use a series of transitions, each with different connotations. We can see them according to the most commonly used:

  • Cut: the first to appear. It maintains the timeline, but the term is now modernizing to signify the passage of time.
  • Fade: implies a passage of time. It’s designed to be noticed by the viewer. If the fade is longer, it plays more with the effect.
  • Wipe: based on the cutting of the frame. It eliminates what’s there and reveals what remains; at some point, both planes are visible at the same time. They were widely used in the 1960s.
  • Action Wipe: no longer in use.
  • Fade to black: disconnects sequences, establishes a sign of separation, as if it were a new paragraph. Its use in the middle of the film signifies a significant passage of time.
  • Fade to white: usually used when there’s a glare.
  • Blur: suggests a return to the past or flashback.
  • Swipe: a very long panorama often used in photojournalism to express a geographical change.

If you want to learn more about editing and montage, be sure to check out our course!

The role of music in audio post-production

The role of music in audio post-production

The role of music in audio post-production can play a very important role in film, almost as much as acting in front of the camera or shooting scenes. It allows the viewer to feel emotions that images and words alone may not always achieve. Furthermore, through post-production, voice and sounds can be modified by modulating them, making them louder or softer, giving them a specific effect to create sensations for the viewer (for example, being underwater, hearing the sound of a room while the camera is focused on another, etc.). All professional recording software offers audio editing functions. What does editing do? Audio editing is a tool that allows audio to be manipulated in many ways. Some may wonder, what is the use of editing audio? One of the common scenarios in post-production is when the execution of several instruments is off time. Since many people starting to record do not have professional session musicians, sometimes musicians who do not do session work are not used to playing with a metronome, so their performances may be off time. This is where the editing process comes in. Editing allows you to cut, move, paste, etc. audio tracks so that they are in time with the other instruments, so that in the end, everything sounds sonically professional. Another advantage offered by editing is:

  • Remove undesirable sounds or silent spaces in a recording, as well as isolate short sections of audio for corrective or creative processes.
  • Create rhythmic loops from a small audio section.
  • Use the same audio section more than once in the same project, perhaps to change the arrangement.
  • Adjust the duration of a sound to fit in a specific space.
  • Change the structure of the song after it was recorded, for example, remove a verse, shorten the introduction, duplicate the chorus, etc.
  • Compile the best parts of different performances of the same material.
  • Create interesting or unusual creative effects.
  • Although this process can be a bit tiresome and tedious at times, it is very important to dedicate the necessary time to it; if not considered, the final product may sound very amateurish.

Audio Mixing

Once you have edited the tracks and have the final performance sounding like a song, you then move on to the mixing process. What is mixing? Audio mixing has an entire profession behind it. These audio engineers are called mix engineers. They are responsible for creating a balanced and unified song that will be subsequently handed over to a mastering engineer. (I will go into detail in the next point.) The mixing process is the combination of audio tracks and adjusting them in the stereo field position, while controlling the frequency content and dynamics of the sound through equalization and compression. It also includes the application of creative effects such as Reverb, Delays, etc., which provide the audience with a better and more enjoyable experience when listening to music. The fact that there is an entire career behind mixing music does not mean that only people who study it can do it. Most audio engineers know how to record and mix music. The only difference that a dedicated mixing engineer brings is: a pair of fresh ears and their creative talent. It is important to note that some people are more creative than others, so these engineers provide a new experience to your song. Nevertheless, it is very important to know how to mix audio, because if you send a session to a mixing engineer that has been previously mixed by you, he will rely on your mix to give the song a certain direction, and then he will determine what elements to add to improve it. Some good programs to use are Adobe Audition, Audacity, or Apowersoft.

Audacity

Imagen Audacity


Adobe Audition

Programa Adobe Audition


Apowersoft

Programa grabación de pantalla Apowersoft

Audio Mastering

Mastering audio is the final process where your stereo mixes are committed to the final delivery medium, which can be a CD ready for duplication, properly encoded audio files, or any other format. In any case, it is the job of the mastering engineer to ensure that the music is equalized and processed in such a way that the mix translates to the widest range of audio playback systems. Mastering requires a lot of experience and hours of practice, so if you are going to mix and master your product, be careful when doing so because, as I mentioned earlier, if mastering is not done well, it can destroy a good mix.

Why Master?

There are numerous reasons to master your audio. Long and tiring mixing sessions mean that some details may go unnoticed. Many mixing rooms do not have the benefit of large-format monitors with high resolution in acoustically treated rooms. This means that there may be sonic inaccuracies that need correction before release. The mastering engineer will be an expert in working with stereo audio files and will have a palate of tools and listening finesse that will add greater value to the song.

Common Mistakes in Mastering

You have to be very careful with mastering because if it is not executed well, it can completely destroy a good mix. Many people sometimes make the mistake of thinking that because they know how to mix, they can also master. This is a complete and resounding NO. Mastering is an art in itself; it requires a different set of skills more geared towards an overall vision of the song. What is NOT Mastering?

  • Mastering is not putting a limit at the end of our Master Fader and turning up the volume until it reaches commercial levels. Although this is part of the mastering process, many people confuse it with being the only required step.
  • Mastering will never be able to make a bad mix sound good. It simply cannot. Perhaps it can improve it a bit, but a bad mix will always be a bad mix.
  • Mastering is not adjusting the frequency balance of certain instruments in the mix; on the contrary, mastering deals with a frequency balance of the entire song.

This stage of post-production, like the previous two, is extremely important to have a final product that sounds of professional quality. As you become more involved in the entire music production process, you will realize that you may prefer one stage over another. It is important to ensure that the time invested in each stage is done with the same care as the others; otherwise, the final product will lack professionalism. If you feel overwhelmed by the entire package, consider collaborating with others; this is where the magic begins. References: https://www.audioproduccion.com/la-post-produccion-musical/