Sound Gun Ep#4: SOUND MIXING - Official Discussion


Windows 8, HP Pavilion g6. I’m using WinRAR, but the problems seem to go beyond that–it’s Windows Explorer’s problem. I can actually managed to access the files via VLC media player (woo-hoo VLC!) but if Explorer doesn’t get its butt in gear, it’ll be worthless, since it would be impossible to transfer the files into Cyberlink without Explorer…


Here is my extra credit. I just kept it simply nothing extra.


Nice work! I particularly liked your choice with the final explosion; you brought up some of the airy effects more prominently, and it gives it a really kinda spooky quality!

My only note is that there’s some noticeable level drops at the very start; when the fly lands, you have a bass hit layer that takes a few seconds to drop out, but it cuts in and out a bit (I’m pretty sure it’s that layer, not the backgrounds). If this happened to be a side-effect of trying to get clarity from other stems, this is a very common mix challenge - bass can wipe out a mix’s clarity pretty quickly, so it’s always a balancing act.

Also, I elected to omit the final conversation element. While I love that exchange to death and I think it works in the original short, I figured it may not be the best idea to make those specific sound bites available, in isolation, for the whole Internet to remix. The Dean might have gotten a bit surly with me :stuck_out_tongue:

If you don’t mind my asking, I’d love to hear what software you used, and if you used any techniques in addition to volume level adjustment!


Great work! You got a nice punchy quality, and I really liked your choices on making the ghost sounds and whooshes play so prominently, and making the sizzling/cooking effects when Clint melts more of a focus than my version; it worked really well!

If you don’t mind my asking, what software did you use, and did you do use any techniques beyond adjusting volume level?


I’m still unclear if the problem is with unpacking the zip file or not; did WinRAR handle it correctly, and for some reason your computer won’t play back WAV files? Also, have you tried using a program other than WinRAR to unpack the zip file? I’ve occasionally had errors unzipping files that correlated to what program I was using for that function.


I just did everything in iMovie believe it or not and technique wise I just played it by ear and adjusted the levels according to what sounded good or even better sound is really growing on me!


Thanks, I don’t mind at all, I used final cut pro x (It is what I started in and I am in process of learning Adobe Premiere as well) I mainly just worked the levels and had the power of the fade to help.


No problem, it seemed to have fixed itself.


Here’s mine. btw I used Final Cut Pro X


Nicely done! I really like your choices in emphasizing specific elements in the mix, sort of cleaning up or simplifying out of all the raw stems. It definitely emphasizes a couple of the smaller audio jokes in there (like the skeleton xylophone when Clint’s face rips off) that are harder to catch in the original.

To go on a little tangent, this is something to pay attention to when you watch current, big-budget Hollywood action movies, actually! I feel like there’s been an ongoing trend towards simplifying mixes in big action pictures, especially with the really heavy, over-saturated use of CGI - if you hear everything you see, the mix would be a mess, so things are getting stripped down more and more to use sound to help guide the eye across really cluttered frames. The sound design as it is presented in the final mixes of some films is getting really almost “artsy” and “abstract,” in a strange way. If you’re curious to hear more of what I’m talking about, basically any scene from the last Transformers movie is kind of astonishing in how spare the sound mix is when you actually focus on it.

Notes-wise, there’s a few moments of distortion here-and-there; did you ever clip according to FCPX?


Hey i knows its a bit late but please could you let me know what you think of my mix :smile:

Response to Sound Gun EP 4 Sound Mixing Competition


In my opinion Clint’s voice is a little too loud and stands out in the overall mix!

Good work though friend!


Thanks for the reply! when you say it stands out in the overall mix, are you meaning that in a good or bad way :stuck_out_tongue:?
I agree with the dialogue being to loud but my lecturer says "scream dialogue, say music and whisper SFX ", what is your opinion on this?


It doesn’t sound very realistic because the voice is louder than all of the other sounds in the mix


I would say there’s some wisdom to that saying when you’re dealing with “actual” dialogue - if there’s distinct speech (actual words) that’s hard to hear, the audience will find it frustrating (they’ll assume they’re missing something important). However, during moments with big events on-screen that don’t involve dialogue, you’ll typically want to trade that priority off for whatever else deserves focus, be it music, effects, etc. In this instance, the vocalizations are non-dialogue, so you can get away with them being comparatively low. What @Kevin_Nguyen pointed out is that his focus is on other things than Clint’s voice - and therefore, that’s what he wants to hear prioritized as an audience member.

tl;dr, it’s good to have rules and even better to know when to break them. I hope that made sense; let me know if you have any further questions!

*To add a footnote, you might be familiar with some of the backlash Christopher Nolan got on both the Dark Knight Rises IMAX preview, and the final release version of Interstellar, where some people found the dialogue difficult to hear and therefore got frustrated. Nolan felt the emphasis may have been on other things and/or wanted to emphasize a realistic amount of environmental noise, but those are good case examples of when “make the dialogue big” can make sense. For your comparison, here’s the two versions of the Dark Knight Rises scene.

Here’s the best re-assembly of the original preview version I could find:

And here’s the final release version, after people complained (and the lines were also totally re-done for clarity):

If you’re curious about what I thought, I think they really over-compensated for this particular scene. I didn’t see the preview version, but in the theater, I thought Bane’s voice was ridiculously huge and made no sense in this scene. I think there was a happier medium in there (a little clearer than the original version), but they over-compensated due to the bad feedback.


Here’s my mix it took forever cause I couldn’t get Blender to render the audio and video together but I mixed the sound in Audacity and merged the video and audio in avidemux. I’m new to the whole audio scene and still shaky on what to look for in audio issues so criticism would be great.


Nice job! I like the level of presence you have on some of the more detailed effects (the fly landing, the sizzle and poster fall at the end), and it’s free of any unwanted distortion.

In order to make this project accessible to people in a variety of programs, I simplified the sound elements by pre-combining them into stems (instead of handing over the several dozen tracks I originally used, I merged it down to a lower count), so the main difference in your own projects in the future will probably be handling a greater number of elements at any given time, but the method is pretty much the same. Thanks for sharing!


Thank you it was super helpful having them in prebuilt stems like you had it was definitely a bonus to the lesson.


Hey, I know I’m exactly 1020 days late to the party, but hey, who’s counting? I just couldn’t resist attempting the challenge. So, here it is

I’d appreciate any feedback. Thanks


Hey, what’s a thousand days late or whatever? :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for sharing; I really got a kick out of the alteration you made to the last shot, too!

On the technical side, the only thought I have is that there’s a couple cuts that feel abrupt, which is distracting. The reverb on the fly landing cuts out suddenly, and then the higher-pitched electric stuff cuts in midway through the shot at 0:12. If you’re in a situation like this where you’re working with pre-baked stems, you’ll usually want to fade stuff in and out to keep those transitions feeling smooth and invisible.

Once stuff gets crazy, I like the clarity you give to Clint’s voice; I think it works great, and that’s one of those big “stylistic decisions” that always happens during the mix for loud action stuff - how much presence do you give the characters versus the stuff happening around them?

So I really enjoyed the whole alternate ending (I kinda wish I’d thought of that visual gag for the original one!), and retiming the music to match it is pretty funny. I think as-is, there’s some weird dead space where the music cue hangs for a little too long before the fly comes by, but that’s just kind of a limitation of the material you’re working with.

Nice stuff, and thanks for doing the challenge! :stuck_out_tongue: