Film & TV Audio Post Production FAQ

Some of our Frequently Asked Questions & Answers about Audio Post Production and QC. You can find out more detaled information at our specific FAQ pages.

Q: I need to have a Music & Effects (M&E) track to my show, what is that?

A: An M&E track contains all the same audio excepting dialogue that exists in a full stereo mix. When you watch an M&E track you will see the lips moving when characters speak but no dialogue coming out. This is done for the purpose of dubbing the movie into other languages. The new language is added to the overall mix and the file is then re-exported to contain the new dialogue track.

Q: My M&E tracks were rejected for missing effects, what do I do?

A: This means that some of the sound effects that were present in the original mix are not in the M&E mix. This includes everything from footsteps, hand taps, doors opening and closing, etc. Missing effects will occur if during filming the effects picked up by microphones are the only effects in the mix (not in other tracks) as the dialogue is removed from M&E those effects will also be removed and must be re-added. Often a Foley studio will be needed to add effects that cannot be added from a stereo mix track. We have experience at adding missing effects to M&E tracks even without any source material.

Q: I need to deliver a 5.1 mix with my movie, how is this done?

A: There are many types of audio configuration that a distributor, sales agent, or network may require, aside from stereo mix and stereo Music &effects track (described above) the next most likely audio set you will need is a 5.1 mix, this is for surround sound home audio systems. 5.1 It must contain 6 separate tracks with 2 sets of stereo pairs, and 2 mono tracks. The first 2 tracks are called 5.1 Left, and 5.1 Right, these correspond to the 2 speakers in a 5.1 mix that would be in the front on the left and right sides. in a "true" 5.1 mix these tracks would have all music and effects, minus dialogue, the left/right tracks are a stero pair, and must be in stereo for the mix to be correct. The third track is a mono dialogue only track called "Center" which is of course the center front speaker in a 5.1 mix. The forth track is also mono and is called LFE, (Low Frequency Effects) and contains the bass sounds the LFE speaker is essentially a sub-woofer, and is usually in front and down below the other speakers. The Final 2 tracks (numbers 5&6) are called Left Surround / Right Surround, these are the speakers in the back of the room giving the "surround" effect. They are a stereo pair and often contain the same tracks as the Left / Right pair at a lower volume level. All 6 tracks must be in sync.

Q: How do I go about making a Music & Effects track (M&E) and a 5.1 mix as well.

A: Qualified audio personnel can make audio mixes needed from your original stems, known as DM&E stems i.e. Dialogue, Music & Effects stems. These are the individiual audio files that went into the mix for the stereo tracks. If these files were made correctly with the dialogue isolated to an individual track it can be removed and a new mix made without it.
Often however no pure dialouge track exists as the effects that were reccorded through the microphones (footsteps, touchging, wind etc.) are contained only on the dialogue track, no additional foley editing was done. In these cases we can make a new M&E track for you from scratch. In order to do this we would have to re-create some of the effects that are on the strereo mix track on an audio program. The stereo mix and stereo M&E track should match exactly with the exception of the presence of dialogue.
We can also use sound editing techniques to creatre a 5.1 mix including an LFE track which is low freqency effects only such as would emanante form a sub-woofer. We can also re-ouput all the files as a new completed master file.

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