What do Re-Recording Mixers do?Re-Recording Mixers, formerly known as Dubbing Mixers, work with all the sound elements (dialogue, automated dialogue replacement, foley, sound effects, atmospheres, and music), and mix them together to create the final soundtrack for a film or television production. They are primarily responsible for ensuring that film sound is correct both technically and stylistically. Setting the relative volume levels and positioning these sounds is an art form in its own right, requiring the skill and aesthetic judgement provided by experienced Re-Recording Mixers. Because of changes in technology, many jobs in sound post production are less easily defined, e.g., on some small to medium budget films, Re-Recording Mixers may also work as sound designers. Although they are usually employed by audio post production houses, Re-Recording Mixers may also work on a freelance basis. They work extremely long hours under considerable pressure, and usually work on both film and television drama productions.
Re-Recording Mixers' first task on films is usually mixing the soundtrack for audience previews. Typically, this involves an intense period of time (up to three days) spent in the dubbing studio, where the they work at large mixing consoles, mixing and smoothing out (cross fading) the sound, often adding a temporary music soundtrack prepared by the music editor. Re-Recording Mixers must work quickly, to extremely high standards. After audience previews, the producer(s) and financiers usually require films to be re-cut and further mixes to be undertaken by Re-Recording Mixers. When picture lock has been achieved (the director and/or executive producer have given final approval of the picture edit), Re-Recording Mixers pre-mix the sound, reducing the number of tracks, so that the final mix can be accomplished with fewer technical complications.
In the final mix, the soundtrack is further refined in consultation with the director, and mixed to a 5.1 Surround Sound industry standard. This process can take between 2 to 12 weeks depending on each film's scale and budget. Re-Recording Mixers finish work on films on the last day of the final mix. No matter how highly qualified they are, the majority of Re-Recording Mixers start their careers at junior levels (usually as runners) working for one of the audio post production houses. Experienced Re-Recording Mixers look out for those who show talent and a cooperative attitude and bring them into the mixing studio to train as assistant Re-Recording Mixers, providing general studio support, recording foleys, etc. After several years, post production houses usually promote the most competent assistants to become Re-Recording Mixers.
Re-Recording Mixers must have an excellent knowledge of acoustics, sound recording and post production processes (analog and digital) and all the relevant technical knowledge of sound mixing for feature films.
Key Skills include:
Ability to manipulate and work sound for the moving image
Excellent aural skills
Ability to work efficiently under pressure
Excellent communication skills
Good organizational skills
Ability to work to strict deadlines
Knowledge of the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures
Job description sources include (but are not limited to) imdb.com, skillset.org and wikipedia.