Cookbook

Here is what you need to provide in order to proceed to audio post

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The Basics

Please Submit a Quicktime video file of your complete film along with a separate audio export of audio files and EDL, specifically called an AAF or OMF type export. Please have the Video file and AAF/OMF start at the same place in the video edit time line.
The specifics of these exports are detailed below.

Larger Projects

If your project has a planned theatrical release intended for domestic and foreign sales release please submit the items below and attach a complete inventory list of all individual items being submitted.
Copy of the Locked Video
Copy of the Audio OMF or AAF export
Original production audio elements with sound reports
Its best if paper sound reports are scanned to electronic form
Copy of Lined Script, electronic
Copy of the Post Production Schedule

Video Specifications

File Format
Standard Definition h.264 QuickTime .mov file if possible.

The video should be delivered as a single file without cuts unless the project was edited in split reels or acts with broadcast breaks. It is always best to deliver video to match the joined delivery master.

A standard definition h.264 QuickTime movie creates a smaller more manageable file for turnover to sound editorial. This file type maintains resolution and is compatible to our workflow.

This usually entails a specific output of a down conversion from the video project to standard definition Quicktime .mov.

ALWAYS include the audio created by the video edit in the video as a sync
guide track.

Aspect Ratio
Aspect Ratio 4:3 or 16:9 non letterbox. Letterbox is preferred for 2.39:1 and wider anamorphic style ratios.

Frame Rate
Please specify your project frame rate, 23.98, 29.97, 29.97drop and 24, 25 or 30. Most importantly know if your project is NTSC or True 24 to avoid .1% sync drift.

Your video file frame rate should match the frame rate of the audio OMF export.

Timecode
The video should have the program timecode "burn in window" with contiguous count (no breaks or duplications in timecode) that matches the picture edit.
It is extremely helpful that all parties working on the project have the same video with the same burn in window to aid in spotting and note updates. Parties include the sound editor, picture editor, music composer and director.

It is helpful to have the burn window upper right or left to avoid blocking hard sync video images.

It is required to have a TC window for ADR spotting and recording along with an audio ch1 production only and Ch2 ME

Use the standard 1 hour roll over at FFAO (first frame of action) and 2 pop 00:59:58:00 if you are unsure.

Multi-reel films could be 2 hr for R2, 3hr for R3 etc. (Film standard 1hr at Academy start along with dual 35 footage is much less common)
Avoid zero hour projects if possible and note all zero hour starts will be shifted to 1hr FFOA*

Leaders
It is preferred to have a SMPTE standard Academy Leader with a single frame pop on “2” two seconds before FFOA (first frame of action) and a single frame pop “2” two seconds after the LFOA (Last Frame of Action). Each network may have a specific head leader that will sometimes vary from the academy leader standard. Please submit your projects current network delivery specification, if this is the case. It is preferred to have a SMPTE standard timecode alignment so that the roll over to 1hr is on the FFOA. The standard academy leader would start at the "picture start mark" at 00:59:52;00 the “2” pop at 00:59:58:00 and the FFOA at 01:00:00;00.

Guide Track
The video should have an audio guide track created in the video edit system. The guide track should be in sync and have the mix balance created by the picture editor. The video guide track should include the head and tail sync pop.

Multiple Film Reels
If your project is split into AB reels please include a LFOA list. The LFOA (Last Frame of Action) is distinguished from the First Frame of Black on the tail leader. This list is needed if the multiple reels need to be joined in the sound edit and mix and avoid sync slip at each reel splice.

Audio Specifications

Audio AAF/OMF
Audio should be turned over as an intermediary EDL and group of linked audio files. The current workable solution is known as an AAF and/or OMF audio export.

AAF and OMF export works from these common video editing systems:
Premier
Avid
Final Cut X
-Requires extra software X2Pro
Final Cut Pro version 7 see below

Added Instructions for Final Cut 7
Final Cut 7 OMF export creates one large file with media and EDL info embedded in one file. Please note that the embedded OMF export from Final Cut 7 must be limited to under 2 gigabytes in size. This will require a large project to be split into manageable divisions before export. For example one export will include just audio track 1 and 2 a second export will include audio track 3 and 4 and so on until all tracks are exported.

These tracks will then be grouped together again in one session after import to the sound edit system.

The video does not need to be split into sections if the AAF/OMF is split due to size restrictions. There is no file size restriction on video. Though it is best reduce the size of a video file for internet transfer workflow.
Each split AAF/OMF section should start in the same spot in the time line so that it is in sync with the final complete video and matches the original timecode. Placing a single frame 2 pop on each track is a sensible sync check reference.

Please note that there are other options for exporting from edit systems that are not listed here.

AAF/OMF Parameters
  • 16 or 24 bit, whatever matches the current picture edit
  • 48khz sampling rate (Please advise if you are using Pull Down audio rate of 47.952 to perform some sync tests.)
  • Handle length of 10 seconds
  • Include Crossfade Transitions
  • Include Levels
  • Include Pan

Leaders
The audio tracks in the AAF/OMF should contain the audio pop that matches the head leader. Placing a single frame 2 pop on each track is a sensible sync check reference. The sync pop is a 1khz (1000hz) tone that is 1 frame in duration. Recommended 2 pop level is -30db. Watch your ears if all tracks have full level 2 pop!

Edited Production Audio
The OMF/AAF export should include all usable production microphones. It is hugely beneficial that the audio tracks are organized so that the production mix track and split boom mic and isolated lav mics remain consistent through out a scene. For example: the top track is the mix track and the isolated lav mics per character are below with the boom options on the bottom. Arrangements may vary as long as they are consistent.


As a rule, a good boom track is better sounding than isolated lavs, but every project is different.

Larger projects that are afforded the time to complete a dialog edit
  • Please submit all the raw original production audio with sound reports.
We prefer to receive audio as audio files, if there was not a secondary sound system, as in audio direct to camera. We prefer not to receive any of the original video from production.

Edited Music and Effects

The basic rule is to group like sounds together on their own tracks. If possible organize the video edit audio tracks so that there are separate audio tracks keeping dialog, music and effects split in their own groups of tracks. Do the best you can here but if its not perfect its not a problem if few things overlap.

Getting Media to Audio Kitchen Post

Using our FTP Site for Posting and Retrieving Media Files
You can upload and download picture and audio files to our ftp site by using a ftp browser program like
Fetch or Cyberduck. A ftp browser program is slightly different from a regular internet browser but this is the way to go to successfully upload or download media files.  Our ftp site info will be sent to you upon request from alex@audiokitchenpost.com

Other options allow transfer of media over the internet.
Vimeo allows clients to view and download video files if it is enabled.

Other options for moving large media files over the internet venture into consumer options, and with that there is the added barrage of commercial clutter. These include
Dropbox and Hightail.

There is the option to “sneaker net” the media as well.
Put everything on a drive and physically send it. This is still the best option for very large files that are too impractical to send through the internet. Media can bulk up if your AAF audio export links to the complete audio file rather than using handles. In addition the raw production audio requires it be sent on a physical drive.

Lastly video files if not managed to a small size are better off being sent on a drive.


Music Submissions for Composers

We prefer music to be submitted as 24bit 48khz .wav files. The music should be of the highest quality possible. Compressed Mp3 or AAC files used for your iPod are not generally suitable for video and film final mixing.

We prefer music files for final mixing to be labeled as they will appear on the final music Cue sheet list used for the films distribution.

The final mix for the music should be in the stereo format of the final film, either Left Right Stereo or 5.1 Surround. It is always a preferred option to have split instrumentation of each cue along with the final mixed version. In that case, each file split element and master mix should have the same start point and be of equal running time.

We prefer to have the start timecode in the music cue file name. This would be the timeline timecode that matches the placement of the file. This facilitates the correct positioning of the file in the time line even if the file time stamp is incorrect or non-existent.

A file name example would be: M25v2 Love theme 1-20-13-05.wav. This file would be Cue25 version2, titled Love theme, and the head of the file is placed at timecode 01:20:13;05. It is important to distinguish the head of the audio file from the head of the music cue. A fade up in the music cue negates the use of the head of the music cue for timecode placement, so we use the head of the audio file to spot the music cue accurately


Audio Levels and Quality Control Standards

The QC (quality control) restrictions for audio levels are very important for each delivery format. If levels are off scale, then the program will fail the QC process, so it is very important to use the correct tools to adjust and balance your final audio.

The dialog loudness meter LM100 and Media Meter created by Dolby Laboratories has developed meter ballistics into level scores. This has been developed further as part of on going research for an agreeable loudness-measuring model.

The current standard agreed upon is the ITU-R BS 1770 model that is used by audio level meters such as Dolby’s Media Meter 2 and Izotopes Insight. Audio levels are given a specific score that only specialized audio meters can read. These meters will give a specific number for short term duration and the full program length duration. These audio scores are what will be included in the “Audio Section” of network specification sheets given to producers by broadcasters.

This audio score, along with minimum and maximum level restrictions, improve the mixed sound. Audio levels are intended to be consistent between different programs and insures a higher production value of broadcast content. Overall, this is a very good thing. One downside is that it is forcing more producers into the audio post process who are not accustomed to the audio post budget expense. This is of most concern to smaller independent filmmakers and television producers, since it is very difficult to final mix a project in Premier, Avid or Final Cut and have it pass the QC process. While video editing systems have some audio tools they cannot exercise the detail available in audio editing and mixing systems.

Audio Kitchen Post mixes with the quality control process in mind. This insures that the audio has the correct audio specification and will sound great whether you release is for broadcast television, film festival or internet presentation.

Rates

Please contact Alex directly for all price quotes and policies