Picture changes, almost on a daily basis, have become the norm inHollywood, and not just for heavy visual effects films. Sound editorsand mixers, therefore, must keep track of massive amounts of units andstay up to the minute in order to feed first the temp mixes, then thepredubs and then the final mix. At Ear Candy, an independenteditorial/mix facility in Burbank, Calif., they’ve worked out a fewshortcuts in Pro Tools.
“The way schedules are these days, we have roughly two to threeweeks to get ready for the first temp mix, then it becomes mostlykeeping up with picture changes,” says Perry Robertson, a Texas nativewho, after seven years as an editor with Soundelux, teamed up withsupervising sound editor Barney Cabral to co-found Ear Candy. “One ofour favorite things about Pro Tools these days is that we can come inand make 5-channel predubs here in our facility, then take them for thetemp and through to predubs. Later, with all the changes, we canunravel for the final because we’ve kept the tracks separate.”
“Changes are nonstop these days, and the physical act of makingchanges is tedious,” says sound designer Scott Sanders. “There areprograms that do it automatically, but most people still do it by hand.Most editors are working with digital picture and one or more videoguide tracks. One thing I suggest while making changes in Pro Tools isto always include the old version’s video guide track with the materialyou are conforming. This way, you can always check sync by comparingthe conformed video guide to the new video guide, making sure theyphase.
“If the change notes are messy or there are reel re-balances, I willuse the change notes as a rough guide and conform by comparing the newvideo to the old,” he continues. “I do this by first setting up myconform session with a blank track layout that matches the track layoutof the material I will be conforming. Then, I import all the materialto be conformed. Lets say I’m conforming reel 1 and the new version ofreel 1 includes parts of reel 2. In my conform session, I will importall of the old reel 1 material — which will start at 01:00:00:00 in mytimeline — and all of the old reel 2 material, which will start at02:00:00:00 in my timeline, etc. Then I create some ‘video-only’ ProTools sessions: one for old reel 1 video, one for old reel 2 video andone for new reel 1 video. These sessions contain only the video fortheir respective reels in sync. Now I can open my conform session anduse the Import Track function to import any in-sync video from my’video-only’ sessions and reference the material I need to find for myconform. If I need material from reel 2, I import my video track frommy reel 2 ‘video-only’ session and presto — reel 2’s audio and videoare in sync at 02:00:00:00 and in my timeline. I find what I need, copyit, import new reel 1 video from my new reel 1 ‘video-only’ session,find where the old reel 2 material needs to be and paste into my blanktracks.”
Ear Candy, which opened in November 2002 with the onset of editorialfor the feature film Open Range, houses six Pro Tools MIXPlusand HD systems, networked through Mac Ethernet server software andsupplied by RSPE. “When we opened, three or four of us were out buyingequipment when we hooked up with Dan Flaherty at RSPE,” says Robertson.”Their support and delivery has just been amazing. They drive gear overthe day it becomes available. Dan even hooked us up with a 21-inchflat-screen monitor that he heard someone else wanted to sellcheap!”
Other equipment at Ear Candy includes Digidesign Control 24 controlsurfaces and Genelec 1030 surround monitoring, with two Genelec subs.The company’s extensive sound effects collection reside on mirror-image720-gig SANcube units, so that one can be easily transported to thefinal mix.
Ear Candy is currently at work on Love Don’t Cost a Thingfor 2004 release. For more, visit www.earcandypost.com.