mix on these shows is pretty easy because we are working
on it all along and there is no one who comes in right at
the end to try to second guess the process. The main challenge
is to make sure the dialogue and narration can still be
heard by a first time listener. As you work on the project
you may hear each scene several hundred times. Soon you
have all the lines memorized. Once you have them memorized
you could pick out what those characters were saying while
sitting on the runway of an airport. I always try to get
some first time listeners to comment on the mix and whether
they can hear the dialogue but I also shy away from mixing
the effects so far down that they have no more emotional
impact. In real life we direct our hearing, we "mix"
what we hear with our attention. In a movie or radio show
the director/editor/mixer has to do that for the audience
both to make it feel real and to help tell the story. If
the effects are to are too far down the story starts to
feel too safe, or even remote.
Mastering is a process
where minute corrections are made in volume and EQ, track
numbers are added, and the program is adjusted so that it
sounds the best on both CD and cassette.
In addition the
mastering engineer makes sure that the show is a consistent
level from one end to the other so that the listeners are
not having to constantly adjust their volume controls.
We chose to have "Son of
a Wanted Man" mastered by Bob Katz, an extremely well
respected expert whose articles we had read in a variety
of Audio related magazines (MIX Magazine, et al). We figured
that if Bob could put complex technical issues into plain
English the way he did, he must really know what he is doing.
and his company, Digital
Domain, are located in Florida near Orlando. This never
seemed like it would be an issue as the modern wonders of
FTP and FEDEX never puts you more than 24 hours away from
anyone and anything. What we didn't realize was that we
began the mastering process in the heart of Hurricane season.
We sent some sample material off to Bob to make sure that
he could work with the hard drives and file formats we use.
In addition he was going to master a small sample section
of the show so that we could get a feel for his work. We
needed do this relatively quickly so we could finalize our
schedules and set a date for the mastering session that
would meet Random House's deadline for delivery. And that
is when Hurricane Charlie hit! Thankfully everyone there
survived and we were only delayed for a couple of days. As we were preparing to ship off the hard drives
with the entire show on it we realized that Hurricane Frances
was impacting. As
it stands we had to sneak delivery and mastering sessions
in between hurricanes Frances and Ivan.
Ultimately everything worked out
and we got a great set of masters for both CD and Cassette!