Should you mix your Documentary or other Indie film in a Dubstage?

Should you mix your Documentary or other Indie film in a Dubstage?

YES! if you are going to mix for theatrical you must do the mix in a calibrated  facility so that it sounds the same  in the  theatre. The room you mix in needs to be calibrated at -20 dBFS = 85db with the film curve ( x-curve) equalization. When mixing any film for theatrical playback you are mixing to “taste” not to a “spec”. If you mix in an un-calibrated room you are asking for a number of issue to hit your film. level of playback, SFX issues, frequency response, sound positioning, dialogue getting buried, decoding issues, it can get bad. Heck, even if you do everything by the book, it can still be a problem, but much less so.

I advice anyone who wants their film to LOOK good, to make sure it SOUNDS good. The sound for a film, whether doc or drama, will raise the perceived quality or destroy the perceived quality of the picture. Sound is 51% of the movie going experience. DO NOT CUT CORNERS on the mix.

If you are forced to mix in a room that is not a calibrated Dub stage. ( and again DON”T DO THIS! )… set up the room the best you can. If you are dealing with near field monitoring, then set the speakers to 82 DB and not 85 db. calibrate appropriately with pink noise, then insert the X-curve ( film curve ) into the MONITOR CHAIN. DO NOT insert it into the record chain. Once you are monitoring through the equalized speakers, re-calibrate all speakers to 82 db again. note the subwoofer used for the LFE material should be calibrated at +10 above as the mix LFE channel needs to be printed at -10 so it in the right place in volume at the theater. ( the theater b-chain has the subs calibrated at +10db higher than the main channels ) Also, placement of speakers is critical. There is the distance from the mix position, the angle, whether you are mixing with microperf between you and the speakers ( like in the theater ), placement of the sub. making sure everything in IN PHASE, The number of surround speakers / channel you are monitoring through.

if you haven’t mixed a film before don’t try this at home folks, get a trained pro…

Here’s another pice of trivia… The best sound position in a movie theater is 2/3 back dead center from the screen. That’s where most of the big sound houses place their mixing boards and work positions, hence that’s where you’ll get the best sound in the theater.

In theory, the theaters are setup and calibrated the same as the dub-stages. In real life not all theaters maintain proper calibration.

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