November 24, 2016 at 5:16PM


Post production equipment

I have a bit of money set aside for post production of my new short film. Is there any equipment that I should get to help with the post process?

I have a korg nanokontrol 2 for audio mixing, and will be getting some premiere pro keyboard shortcut stickers too.

Other than speakers, and a second monitor, what else would you recommend?


Get studio monitors rather than just speakers (like the KRK RockIt), an audio interface with at least 2 inputs (Focusrite have great ones) and a condenser microphone (like the AKG c414) with a pop filter and some noise pads are good for quick foleys or VO's.
Other things like a high end mouse (like a Razor) or a drawing tablet (like a Wacom Intuos) are useful too to improve your workflow.
At least, is always good to have a color calibrator (like ColorMunki) near for quick screen calibrations.

November 24, 2016 at 7:41PM, Edited November 24, 7:41PM

Alejandro Badillo
Music Producer, Actor, Screenwriter

Ideally, you want your audio monitoring to be within +-2dB from 25Hz to 18KHz (Bell Labs' recommended minimum for people accepting playback as "live"). That means high quality studio monitors with subwoofer. If you want to mix in surround sound, you need five full-range monitors of course. More important than what you pick for your monitors is how you set up your room and monitors. I won't get into the details here, but the room can literally have 20x more influence over how you hear your audio than the speakers. If you can't hear it ACCURATELY, you can't mix it well. I highly recommend reading my article on the subject. I know a film/video production professor that actually made it required reading for his students.
I'll tell you from experience, just putting my monitors on proper stands and setting up my desk to avoid reflections from the monitors INSTANTLY made my mixes better. Another thing worth noting is the need for an alternative environment/speakers. I have admittedly modest monitors/sub in my control room but there's a digital pipeline into my home theater so I can hear it on my good Paradigms in a relatively untreated room. Sometimes, I start a mix in the living room to quickly get things in the ball park and fine tune in my control room.

Calibration is of huge importance as well. The standard is; uncorrelated pink noise at -20dBfs RMS = 85dB SPL C-weighted. So on that note, you'll need an SPL meter. The old (not current) Radio Shack analogue meter is the most accurate of the cheapies. Dialogue is mixed at -31dBfs average (74dB SPL) for theatrical releases and of course, everything else is mixed relative to that. For broadcast TV, dialogue is -23dB LU, DVD is -27dB. If you don't know what all this means, I recommend Bob Katz's "Mastering Audio" book, latest edition. It's geared more towards music, but the principles (with more standards for levels) are the same. Also, check into THX standards because they are of utmost importance. Most indie movie makers mix willy nilly and paint themselves into corners, not to mention irritate a lot of viewers because those movies are 10-20dB hotter than professionally mixed ones. There's a lot to remember, lot of expense and it takes a lot of practice to do audio well. The alternative is to hire somebody to mix for you. A lot of indies on a tight budget will do most of a mix on their own, render "stems" (mono dialogue only mix, stereo/5.1 music only mix, stereo/5.1 effects only mix) and send them to me in separate files for tweaking and leveling.

For your second video monitor, I recommend a TV; plasma or OLED if possible. I can always tell when people color corrected on a computer monitor because the standards on levels are different. It's not as bad now because TVs and computer monitors have become more alike, but there's still distinct differences and you need to know what your project looks like on both. Of course, the monitor needs to be calibrated to industry standards. Note that people tend to watch programs in lower light than people working on computers, so that also influences how people perceive the image.

November 25, 2016 at 8:04AM, Edited November 25, 8:04AM


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