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Sound for Digital Video


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Table of Contents

Sound for DV
Tomlinson Holman
I. Introduction
Why this work is worth doing, who it is aimed at, general format of the book (case study method); relationship to Sound for Film and Television
Going to art house films shows trailers demonstrate difference between pix and snd: pix usually better, sound often sacrificed
Even on studio pix, pic dominates such as mono The Rules of Attraction
Scope of DV
Not just a tape format
Minimum standards for audio
This book covers from DV to DVCProHD, because audio is similar across all DV-based formats
Digitizing the world
Pros, cons
Digital Video
Basic digital: why?
Four dimensions of a sound track
Frequency range
Dynamic Range
Spatial capability
Digital sound and the four dimensions
Features of DV format tapes
Further distinguishing features among the formats
Single-speed vs. DV's SP and LP modes
Locked vs. unlocked audio sample rate
Time code
User's bits
II. Production Sound, aka Location Sound, Original Sound Recording
A dedicated sound person
Location scouting
Scene coverage: basic technique
What can be done with an on-camera microphone?
How to use the two channels
Items other than voice recorded during production sound
Basic acoustics of sound and microphones
Microphone types by method of transduction
Electrodynamic/electrostatic distinguished
Other, rarer types
Powering mics
Microphone types by polar pattern
Differences among mics due to polar pattern
Short form advice
The radio part of radio mics
Microphone accessories
Shock mounts
Pop suppression
Cries and Whispers (capturing loud and soft sound)
Recording Level parallels to early Cinematography
Cries and Whispers simultaneously
Multiple level controls in the chain
Another kind of overload distortion and how to avoid it
Case studies
Mounting lavs
Radio mic usage
Combining features for best wind performance
Disposable mics
Example from DVD
Boom operator's job
Common problems
Sound kit accessories
III. Sound design
Sound design defined
Sound is constructed, not accidental
Hard Effects
Film sound styles
Stretched reality
What is seen vs. what is heard: on- vs. off-screen
Shifting levels of reality
Sound design as an art
Emotional memory
Low frequencies mean threat
Exaggerating reality
IV. Connecting Up, Reference Levels
Basic work flow with Firewire
Types of audio interconnects: digital
Problems arising on digital interfaces
Types of audio interconnects: analog
Mic/line/speaker level
Line levels: -10/+4
Balanced and unbalanced connections
File transfers
V. Editing
Non-linear editing defined
Random access editing
Non-destructive editing
Visual waveform editing
Edits and fade files
File management
Plug Ins/Processes
Edit processes vs. mix processes
Processes defined
Process environments
Track and channels
Pan pots
Grouping Tracks
Differences between picture and sound editing systems
Picture-sound sync resolution
How to Edit
Block diagram of process
Fine editing of production sound
Where presence is used
Documentary considerations
Fixing bumps
Sound effects
Cutting music
Scene changes
Detailed analysis of scene changes in Love Actually
VI. Mixing
Editing and mixing are different, but converging
The mixing hourglass
Level-related processes
Level controls
Gain staging
Hand compression
Noise gate
Downward expander
Processes related mainly to Frequency
Combinations of level and frequency
Time-baesd devices
Other time based effects: echo, duration change
Other plug ins
Pitch correction
Routing and limitations caused by it
Busses, channels
Delay compensation
Voice limitation
How to mix
Start with dialogue
The dialogue processing chain
VII. Masters and Monitoring
Delivery Master defined
Choice of sound format on Delivery Masters
LtRt matrix surround
5.1 channel discrete surround
Mastering for level
Background on -12 versus -20 dBFS reference level
Level calibration
When you can't calibrate with test signals
Best one-size-fits-all approach
Mastering for DVD, Digital Broadcast, and Digital Satellite Television
Post Production Masters Label
Film versus Video mixes
VII. Sound Basic Video for Audio People
Basic frame rates
Under- and over-cranked camera
Digital Video
Basic digital
Interconnecting video

About the Author

Tomlinson Holman is President of TMH Corporation and one of the prominent figures in audio today. He is widely known for his development of new products and processes in the field of audio and video, including the THX Sound System, Home THX (with his patents licensed to more than 45 companies), and the THX Digital Mastering program developed while he was Corporate Technical Director at Lucasfilm, Ltd. He has won career achievement awards from CAS and the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association. Mr. Holman is a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society, the British Kinematograph Sound and Television Society, and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. He is Co-Chairman of the Audio Engineering Society Task Force on High-Capacity Audio.


"Even if your projects will never reach the complexity of a Hollywood feature, you can learn a lot from this book. It is clearly written, and Holman doesn't hesitate to share his encyclopedic knowledge and experience." - Jay Rose

"Although his focus is bringing professional techniques to budget productions, Holman imparts plenty of useful information to anyone involved in sound for picture." - Electronic Musician

"A good initial guide for the budding AV artist." - DJ magazine

"This is an excellent technical manual, packed with hard practical information....the chapters on sound design, editing, mixing, and monitoring are first class." - BKSTS magazine, May 2006

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