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Unit 6: Audio Post Production

Audio production has multiple applications, and though popular perception is that it is used primarily for music there are also post-production opportunities in the industry for a variety of media such as film, television, advertising, animation and new media. This often involves collating and combining production audio, library sound effects, music, and dialogue, as well as recording replacement dialogue and sound effects. The overall soundtrack has to be in sync with whatever form of image it is accompanying, and a delicate and objective balance must be struck between these elements so that they stand out where appropriate and, most importantly, so that the message of the holistic media product comes across clearly.

With advances in digital technology, editing and manipulating, audio has become much easier and more effective, meaning that producers are able to construct complex soundtracks consisting of countless elements. Each individual sound component fits into one of three categories: dialogue (the primary method of exposing a message), music, and sound effects. The latter two co-exist and sometimes overlap to support the telling of the story and enhance the sense of time, space and mood. This can be seen in the DVD extras for Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, which, as well as including documentaries on sound effects and the musical score, contain a revealing interactive feature of a fight scene that can be played with isolated music, sound effects, dialogue and production audio.

Throughout this unit, study will be facilitated by the study of ‘real-world’ examples such as the one indicated above. Learners will produce a portfolio of work demonstrating the practical ability to create soundtracks and an awareness of the business, as well as creative decisions taken in the real-life process. Learners will also learn the language and good practice used in audio post-production studios.