By Greg Junovich
This can be a simple process but more often than not, it is very time-consuming and resource heavy. When we talk to producers they know the term ‘conforming’, but in general don’t appreciate that although the software takes care of the EDL comparisons, we still have to go through and check every edit and adjust accordingly. On large projects you have huge amounts of automation in the Protools sessions and conforming can often muck with the intricacies of that.
And probably the most glossed over point is that sound often is built up and sculptured over a moment, or even a whole scene. While some of the aspects of sound are frame dependent (foley spots, dialogue), ambiences and sound design are often not. If you have a project that is heavy on sound design, conforming can mean these complex evolving elements need to be rebuilt.
For example, on a recent feature the film was set on a plane. The engine tone was changing in pitch to add tension/drama and hit certain beats in the edit. This sound was built up over each scene and every time we had to conform, the rhythm of this changed and it had to be recreated each time. It’s not always a case of “now this bit goes there”.
The EDL compares shot changes, not audio changes within the shot.
In terms of dialogue – if you are changing out takes, slipping sync or the order of dialogue lines within the shot, then that can quickly become quite complex and time-consuming to manage. Often a conform will come through and we are told, “Oh, it’s only a small cut at this point and that”. It can easily be forgotten that they also added a new offscreen line and swapped a couple of takes out.
It would be ideal if new dialogue (or anything new) is put on a completely new track in the edit timeline for the delivery. That way it is easily tracked when the updated AAF comes through.
Another useful habit, for instance when dealing with archive heavy documentaries where archive is being replaced after lock, is to make sure that the sync interviews are always kept on the same audio tracks – it makes tracking picture and audio changes that much simpler.
Page last updated on 23 August 2022
Top Image: Sound Supervisor Greg Junovich (Courtesy of Native Audio Ltd)
Lower Image: Skycraft Studios on Unsplash
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