Wow, last weekend thru last night we all worked to get the final mix done. Because the hard drive with all the elements (well most of them) needed to fly with the director to New York for final editing today, I started receiving the elements of some of the scenes from my excellent assistants John White and Nick Wells. They had worked all last week to get me the stems. Stems are individual mixes of dialog, sound effects and music. Because the tracks are separate, the editor, director and myself can then do a final mix.
Starting Friday night, I brought in the stems, added my original music as well as some amazing music from my long-time friend and client, the Atlanta Guitar Trio. Everything started coming together for a final mix session on Saturday afternoon. Fran Burst, the director was scheduled to come to my studio for final approvals and tweaks at 5:00 pm.. Because everything had to be finalized that evening, I started working on the final mix at 8:00 am. Fran and her assistant Laura arrived at 5 ready to listen to the final mix.
We went through the entire film (which is 105 minutes and counting). You need to figure on 2 minutes of review for every 1 minute, so if a scene is 20 minutes long, it takes at least 40 minutes to an hour to get the final mix tweaks right. Fran and Luara left at 10:30 leaving me to finalize some of the stems and final mixes until after midnight.
Because the final hard drive mix was due to be picked up Monday night, I worked all day Sunday to get everything right in the mix. The Pro Tools system I use does a real time render process called bouncing. Bouncing takes the 100 tracks-plus mix and brings it together to a stereo mix. When the director and editor arrive in the edit suite in NY, they can then bring in my mixes for each scene.
Fran had asked me to add some minutes to the scenes to accommodate for last minute tweaks the editor had made. The problem was, we ran out of time. Solution as I rendered out files for the film I uploaded them to a Dropbox folder in the cloud that I shared with Whitney the editor and Fran. I uploaded everything to Dropbox starting last night and this morning when I woke up I checked and everything was there for the team to do final edits. It was a Christmas miracle!
It looks like everything is working out for the submission to TriBeCa. Once we submit to that festival I still have a lot of scoring and other music suggestions, as well as some foley to do, to get a true final mix.
It’s funny, although you can see how many hours went into creating the soundtrack as it now stands, it was still thrilling getting everything finalized and sounding right. It’s this kind of excitement that makes what I do for a living a blast!
I’ll let you know what happens next.
As always, thanks for reading.