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The Tale of Two Clients

5 min read

4 days ago

The tale of two clients, Jordan and Taylor. One went to Smart Post Sound, and one did not.

Jordan has a show that needs a proper soundtrack. She hasn’t tried Smart Post Sound before but has heard of us. She checks out our website, and sends us a message. If she desired, she could then stop worrying about the sound for her movie, as Smart Post prides itself as a “one phone call” type of business.

Taylor goes back to where he's always gone for his sound, even though the experiences in the past weren't always that good. He makes the phone call and begins to worry if the same bad things that happened on past shows will happen again.

Jordan reviews our bid and is happy to see that it's the lowest, and most fair. She selects her supervisors, mixers, and dub dates. She has her choice to mix in Burbank, Santa Monica, Atlanta, Vancouver, or any of our affiliate studios around the world. She then turns her attention to other matters as the trust she puts in our company is something no one at Smart Post takes for granted, and she'll receive the service she expects.

Taylor calls and reviews the bid. Too expensive for sure, but a lot of money means a good job, right?

man confused about sound post production package

He makes his choice and worries more, “Have I made a mistake again?” He picks his supervisors, mixers, and dub dates. He doesn’t know this now, but none of these choices will be available by the time his show mixes.

Jordan schedules the “spotting session” with her producers and her Smart Post sound supervisors. This session is where the producers work with the sound supervisors and essentially plan out how the movie will be handled sound-wise. The session is handled remotely with the picture editor and the producers monitoring from their various locations. Many creative ideas are discussed and, after the spotting is concluded, a precise plan for the soundtrack is made.

Spotting session remote collaboration for audio post-production at Smart Post Sound

Turnover begins shortly after the spotting session. The EDL is delivered to Smart Post along with the production dailies. Next, an audio assembly is created which then goes to the Dialogue editor and the production audio is prepped for the mix stage. The editor will listen to each microphone and determine which one is the proper one to use for each scene. Any problems that may occur with turnover are quickly handled by the assistant sound editors at Smart Post, who deal directly with the picture assistants.

At this point, the sound editorial shifts into high gear. The sound effect editors begin to prep their sessions, creating background ambiences and sound design based on the notes taken at the spotting session. Foley also begins, with the foley team covering all the footsteps and props needed to create the foreign versions that will be created after the mix is completed.

Foley stage at Smart Post Sound in Burbank, California

Jordan begins to schedule ADR. She is very happy that Smart Post handles all the scheduling of ADR stages as well as the deliveries of the video clips and cue sheets to stages worldwide. This is a huge weight off her shoulders and again she can spend time on all the other tasks at hand to finish her show.

Woman happy with results at Smart Post Sound


Man confused that his project wasn't mixed at Smart Post Sound

Taylor begins to schedule ADR. He calls various ADR stages looking for time. Many of these stages he's never spoken to before and it's again a very long and frustrating process. He has to call agents, actors, and producers and juggle all the various schedules. Finally, he has an ADR schedule in place, sort of…

Dean St. John mixing ADR at Smart Post Sound in Burbank, California

Jordan breezes through the ADR process, mostly she and the producers monitor remotely and are amazed at how smoothly it all goes. All the deliveries to and from the ADR stages are handled by Smart Post and any problems that come up are quickly handled by her team at Smart Post.

Taylor gets a phone call that the facility's ADR stage is not available when he needs it and can he please reschedule a new ADR stage (somewhere?) as well as reschedule the actors and all the producers. This, of course, throws a wrench into the process and is the last thing he needs. They get by and all the ADR is recorded, but not without a couple of headaches.

On the first day of mix, Jordan shows up and finds her mixers already at work. They have even gone through the first few scenes of the show already! She is very happy to see the mixers she chose are mixing as well as her supervisors hard at work. They show her the first few scenes and again everything is just as it was requested in the spotting. She relaxes and leaves the mix stage, going back to the office to put out some other fires. “These guys are great, they have this handled.”

Re-recording mixer mixing at Smart Post Sound stages

On the first day of his mix, Taylor arrives to find out that his mixers and supervisor were “not available.” The new crew has never seen the show and have no idea what is needed. He calls his office and says, “I am going to be here all day.” He works with the mixers and eventually gets the mix to a good place. But nothing comes easy. Meanwhile, his work at the office is stacking up.

Last day of the mix, Jordan’s producers come in to review the mix. They have a few notes, but these are all handled quickly and efficiently by the team at Smart Post. The mixers and supervisors have a lot of good ideas and work well with the producers achieving an awesome soundtrack. Jordan is happy to see her producers enjoying the process and getting all their creative notes addressed.

Last day of the mix, Taylor’s producers come in to review the mix. They are generally happy but something seems off, missing. No one on the stage knows what to do and this is very frustrating for his producers. Another day to finish is scheduled, but tomorrow isn’t available, but they can finish next week, they're told, “The same mixers will not be here however...”

Jordan finishes up the mix, (early) and heads to layback. There she gets another chance to hear the mix and is happy to find out that any additional fixes she'd like to make can be made right there in layback. She does a few small things to get it in spec and appreciates the opportunity to get a final pass.

Post-production audio layback and QC at Smart Post Sound with Ben Broer

When Taylor's mix is finally finished, he also heads over to layback. There he finds that there are a few simple fixes he'd like to make but is told, “Sorry, you'll have to go back to the mix stage to make these updates.” Again, his delivery is delayed, and he needs to reschedule the mix again, paying for a full day even though these fixes will take just a half day.

Jordan sends her movie out for QC. Once she gets the report she's happy to only see a few simple fixes, none of which are needed, but again, Smart Post to the rescue - she's happy to find out that all the QC fixes will be handled by the Smart Post deliverable department, along with all the required final deliveries.

Color meters moving in QC animation

Taylor also goes through QC but this doesn't go as smoothly. He gets a lengthy report and again finds that he needs to schedule yet another day on the mix stage to fix everything and again, he sees mixers he's never seen before.

As Jordan says goodbye to her mixers and supervisors, she can’t help but think about a few things she learned during her time at Smart Post.

Group of people high-fiving in happiness

The mix was the best experience she had with the show.

Coffee and snacks in post production studio at Smart Post Sound

Smart Post had better snacks and better coffee.

Assigned parking spot at Smart Post Sound in Burbank California

She even liked the font they used for her reserved parking spot.

She leaves very happy, telling her friends and colleagues she enjoyed the entire process, and can’t wait to work with her team at Smart Post again.

Man happy calling Smart Post Sound to complete his sound post-production

Taylor is calling Smart Post.

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