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Sound in a Supporting Role

04-07-2013 · Juliana Rueda

It’s weird to see this, right? The pictures are good but there is something very important missing- our often forgotten, supporting star; sound. This is where I come in, helping to create the audio that gives depth and credibility to the vision.

Most people don’t stop to think about the myriad steps needed to achieve a well balanced video production so I’m going to show you, step by step, how to do it. Good sound makes the pictures come alive; bad sound can destroy an otherwise good video.

First the video editor gives me an OMF files with all the relevant edit points in the piece. This allows us to hear separately dialogue, music, and ambient tracks, such as street noise, or restaurant noise.

OMF file

The Dialogues

The dialogues can come from a single radio or lapel microphone, or from the boom microphone or camera microphone. I usually pick the one that sounds the best, but if two or more people are talking then the mix of both mics usually gives a better result.

Then I review the “wild tracks” that Craig and Iago film and if they’re not enough I start creating layers of sound until I get the desired result. I create these layers from digital audio libraries; mixing different types of sounds and sound effects until I match the ambient noise perfectly.

Limpieza sesión

Then when I’m happy with the background or ambient track, I move on to the music; checking transitions and then I start to mix.

In the mix I compress the voices somewhat, bringing up the volume so that we hear them as best possible; bringing down the ambient noise so it doesn’t interfere with the action.


I play around with the dynamics of the music so that you hear more when there is no dialogue, and bring the music down when they are speaking.

Once all the elements are in place the programme is complete. Being able to work with a team who understand the importance of sound is really great!
Here’s a before and after so you can see the difference for yourselves. Don’t you think our supporting role deserves equal billing? ;-)

Juliana Rueda

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