Dialogue Development – The Place Beyond the Pines

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As I covered some of the pre production on The Place Beyond the Pines in my previous blog, I think it’s time to approach some of the production stages.

My role in the production scheme of things was to complete all of the Foley for two bank robbery scenes, complete the ADR, and manage the dialogue recording session in The Audient.

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The Audient:

After allowing ourselves another pre production meeting before getting into our first Audient session, we decided as a group that it would be ideal to not only record the dialogue, but also the Foley at the same time. For the scenes we were doing, this meant the voice actor was required to touch his clothes, move his hands or feet at the right time along with the dialogue. With the video up and visible to our voice actor, this allowed for copycat movement that could all be picked up through the SM7B we used for the recording.

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One issue we had with the dialogue before entering the session was how to create the effect of the speaker having a motorbike helmet on, as this is what we see in the film. Originally, we planned to record the voice actor speaking the dialogue with the helmet on, however, this just cut our signal in half and dulled pronunciation waaaaay too much. It was clear that this was something I was going to have to edit during Post.

Here we have the recorded dialogue we acquired during our Audient session:

And here is the edited result:

To achieve this “muffled” effect, I simply EQ’d with a boost at 2000Hz dB. I found this little tip after researching a little online.

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I then created a reverb for what I thought fit the image of the room he is in throughout the robbery. This was to create and take away space as needed with the camera perspectives.

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I also doubled the dialogue, as it is really the main focus and didn’t want the composition or Foley overpowering it. Naturally, by doing this, it resulted in some pretty crazy peaking levels in some parts. I left all of that until I had finished with the ADR and Foley as I didn’t see any point in mastering half of the scene when we could do all of it together later on.

Mastering

Once the mastering stage came around and everything I was working on had been tidied up and leveled as appropriately as possible, everyone added their files into the master session we had created.

As I had suspected, the dialogue along with the composition created quite a few peaks, and so did the motorbike SFX. This wasn’t the end of the world, obviously we could take care of these issues throughout the mastering process, however, with such high peaks we really needed to be careful not to completely squash our audio! Before adding a limiter to our mix, we played back the full audio quite a few times to make sure nothing was clashing and to pick up anything unwanted that someone else might have missed. There were a few syncing issues with the Foley which needed to be resolved, along with a bit more tidying up of extraneous noise which was simply overloading the piece rather than complimenting it. I also took the opportunity to discuss some of my panning options with my group mates to make sure I was coming from the right angles at the right times. After hearing the same thing over and over, it definitely can mess with your head a bit!

Once everything was tiptop and tidy, we added our much needed limiter on a master track, and outputted our mix to the master for bounce out. We set out ceiling at -0.03dB and threshold at -6.7dB. Once we had our completed .wav we attached it to the film clip and viola!

Here’s the final mastered track:

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