5.1 MIX – Delivering the Mix… Don’t forget the documentation.

Delivering the Mix… Don’t forget the documentation.

The 5.1 mix and the various 5.1 stems should be printed such that when the stems are combined, they create the exact same mix as the 5.1 mix. All the stems and the mix should be delivered according to the delivery spec from the client. If the client requirement is SMPTE format then all the stems and the mix should be delivered in SMPTE format. The format is critical when printing to video tape, Digital audio tape,or to other fixed deliverable format. Normally you would delivery the tracks as individual files L, R, C , LFE, Ls, Rs and not as stereo pairs, or as encoded multitrack files. (unless the delivery calls for an encoded file format) If you don’t have specific deliverables stated, then I recommend multi-mono well documented files. The actual number and type of stems are usually M&E (music and effects) and Dialogue only, unless you have agreed in advance or the deliverable requires more breakdowns like individual MUSIC 5.1 , SFX 5.1 and DIAG 5.1

For a film delivery, ie: audio that will be placed on a film, it’s more important to provide adequate documentation that provides all the information concerning the mix and the stems.
The documentation should list project data, dates, producer, mixer data, etc and by REEL, Frame rate, Bit depth, Sample rate, time code of: 2-pop, FFOA, LFOA, tail-pop, and duration of reel for each reel, plus the data concerning format and layout, file types (wav, aif, etc) format type (track layout, the names of all the files, any encoding or noise reduction added, whether it’s 5.1, 5.0, LtRt, LoRo,etc). tones and level data, your contact information for questions that may arise.

you may also need to review deliverables for the head of each reel, Tones, pink noise, 2-pop etc.
for instance DTS requires 1khz tones at -20 dBFS at the head of each reel, SDDS wants pink as well, Dolby likes Dolby SR alignment tones, along with -20.
broadcast companies may want something else, like 1Khz at -18 for Europe, +4 dBu in France.
you may also need to run Dialnorm data for the documentation as well.

here’s an example of a basic delivery Doc.   Additional information should include any encoding, tones provided, etc…