Making it Sound Good

Sound BoardSince I’ve been sound mixing for the past three days, with three more to go (a double show), I thought it would be appropriate to post some tips on getting the best audio possible from Christian Dwiggins, Master Engineer and owner of Engine Room Studios, a sound production facility.

Here they are, from Christian:

  1. Good sound starts with good ears and a filmmaker who understands its importance.
  2. Don’t make the mistake of having only one sound designer when you can have a team. Four ears are better than two, just as two brains are better than one.
  3. The amount of money you spend on sound in pre-production will save you three times the amount of money in post. Most films don’t have the budget for ADR.
  4. When looking for a sound designer, look for someone talented and hungry – someone fresh.
  5. The best way to find a decent sound designer is at a sound engineer school, through blogs like this and referrals.
  6. In production your sound person should be acutely aware of what’s going on in the environment. Hone in on all the sound. Someone whose present. A bad sound tech won’t notice an airplane who went by and end up costing you a fortune later on. Remember, good sound design starts at the source.
  7. As a filmmaker it’s very important to find a designer who understands your process, your vision and how to work within your budget.
  8. The sound department, whether it’s a single person or a whole group, is an integral part of your crew and should be treated as such.
  9. Your choice in post can make the difference between sounding like a homemade film and sounding a blockbuster. It’s about talent, not about money.

If you’re in the LA area, here’s some more about Engine Room. Many thanks to them and Christian for these tips.

Engine Room Studios is a fresh and edgy, boutique-style full-service sound production facility that brings its down-to-earth vibe to the heart of Hollywood. Musicians, directors and producers alike feel at home with the talented and attentive team of engineers. E.R.S. gives their clients the personal attention that has become lost among the large post house conglomerates. “It’s not the gear that you use, it’s what’s between your ears,” says master engineer and owner Christian Dwiggins. And it’s also what goes into your ears – an experienced and talented team that gets exactly what needs to be done while giving the best audio production the industry has to offer.
Photo by mybloodyself.

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