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On the average A-picture the first postproduction sound person brought onto the film is the supervising sound editor, who not only directs and coordinates the creative contributions of the postproduction sound staff but also must handle all the related administrative duties like scheduling mixes.
Although the supervising sound editors are usually not consulted during shooting, in the best of all possible worlds they are in touch with the location sound recordist during and after the shoot so that their work can be coordinated. Bochar feels strongly that his work should start early on: "To me the whole adage is that postproduction begins the first day of production."
Like most filmmakers, sound personnel work under extreme time constraints. One way for them to get a headstart is to work on a picture one reel at a time. Thus, if a director and editor are satisfied with reels two and three, they can send them on to the sound editors while they are still solving picture problems on other reels.
Scratch Mixes/Temp Tracks Today the tendency is to bring the supervising editor on earlier and earlier. The main reason is the changing demands for sound in early screenings. According to Kirchberger, this practice has engendered the greatest changes in the logistics of postproduction sound in the last two decades.
As Lottman describes it, "On most A-pictures a sound editor will come on some time before the picture gets locked. You can't put them on too soon; that's too expensive. But you put them on, say, before the first screening. Now there's this big trend towards scratch mixes at screenings. Most directors don't want to screen a picture for anybody unless it has a complete and full soundtrack--a temp track with temporary sounds, temporary music and dialog to give the audience a preview of what the final, polished soundtrack will belike. They'll try to iron out a dialog scene where the sound shifts dramatically from cut to cut. They didn't use to do this at all. Now they do it on any mid- to high budget film. You try to keep it simple: you have just one sound editor and an assistant, perhaps."
Because of demands for scratch mixes the sound editors are under greater time constraints than ever. By the first scratch mix, the editors must have cleaned up noticeable sound-image problems and supplied the major effects. Yet this is also the best time to introduce their most inventive ideas, while directors and producers are still open to experimentation.
One result of scratch mixes is that they become weeding-out processes. During this stage sound editors, given the time, have a certain amount of latitude to present creative options to the
6/24/04 7:55 PM