Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sound Mixing and Sound Editing

You have probably asked yourself what is the difference between these categories. I have. But then I still think a component stereo system is pretty high tech.

I recently received a pair of Dr. Dre Beats headphones but I am still a little week in the technical department.

Back when I was making films....2006 through 2009...I worked in I-Movie 08 and didn't really get too deep into mixing but I guess I did editing. Like I had to synch up dialog if I had cut away from a scene. And you have to be very exact or it looks like bad dubbing or a weird cable feed.

I would guess that mixing is the capturing of the sounds...the helicopters, the shooting, banging and clanging. Editing is putting together the sounds in the movie. Does that sound right?
Here are some of my past favorite award winners. (These will be listed by movies since I don't know who the hell these people are.)


1942Yankee Doodle Dandy - Lots of tap dancing by James Cagney,

1961: West Side Story - Dancing and fighting. Also very tuneful.

1970: Patton - Very little dancing. Just the Russians towards the end of the movie. One landed on the table in front of Georce C. Scott. Patton distrusted the Russians.

1974: Earthquake -This beat out Chinatown  and The Conversation which seems borderline crazy. But it is an arcane award. Earthquake resonates for sentimental reasons. It was the first time I invited Peggy Shearn to go out with the gang. Ah romance. Going to see Earthquake in Northern California.

1979: Apocalypse Now- Another sentimental choice.We saw this movie at the old Varsity Theater in Evanston. It was our first night out after our daughter, novelist Amy Shearn was born. A bloody, complicated disturbing movie about Viet-Nam. That's a good time.

1995 Apollo 13- Those were sounds from space. That is good mixing.

2010: Inception- Those were sounds from dreams. They weren't even real. Lots of imagination.

Sound Editing

I don't understand why but some years like between 1968 and 1974 they did not even give out this aware. What was going on with sound during that time. I think it was political and had to do with unions, the studio system and Nixon.

My favorite sound editing...

1967 The Dirty Dozen: Two words. Trini Lopez.

This picture of Trini Lopez is from the Internet Movie Firearms Data Base which is a web site that indentified weapons from movies, TV and video games. Trini is holding a grease gun.

This year's nominees for Sound Mixing are:

Les Miserables
Life of Pi

I saw them all except Les Miserables. So the question, who made it the best slurry of sound. Tough field. I go with Argo. I love a good Persian bazaar scene.

Sound Editing

Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

I am all over ZDT for this one. Love the opening. The sounds of 9/11. Black screen. Cell phone. The void. Brilliant invocation of the "chase."


  1. Apropos mixing vs. editing, I found the mix of the Dylan/Cash duet in "Silver Linings Playbook" very nice; the video here does not win any editing awards.

  2. Roland, I couldn't open the link. I really like that duet from Nashville Skyline. I especially like the fact that Dylan or Cash can't remember the words. And Dylan's voice has never been better.