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Old 08-05-2017, 01:35 PM   #1
aus
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Questions to ask Post-Sound Mixer

Hey Everyone,

Awesome indie sound people are really hard to find, here, in Australia. I'm seriously considering sourcing it out to the States, as indie films (even no budget films) over there seem to have far better sound. Finding emerging talent over here who can competently do the job is damn hard.

I've found a guy for my next film who works audio for corporate vids, and says he can record sound on set, and also do the post sound design/mix/edit.

Can anyone recommend me some basic questions to ask him that will successfully suss out if he's at a decent level/knowledgeable? His prior work/s are collaborations, so I haven't actually seen anything he has done solo.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Aus
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Old 08-05-2017, 01:40 PM   #2
indietalk
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Ask to hear some film/video work. Ask for an equipment list, of his owned gear. Ask rate, and if there are any anticipated additional costs, or if you will need to rent anything for your particular shoot that he does not own.

1) This will let you hear work, even if it has been sweetened, you can't sweeten crap work, so if it sounds good, he did his job.
2) A gear list will let you figure out how he works/can work and also let you research and ask others about the actual equipment w/o nagging him about it.
3) Rate = self explanatory.



You can ask for references but honestly, I never check them.
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:04 PM   #3
mlesemann
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Rather than references, I do ask colleagues for recommendations.

We had a tough time finding a good but affordable post-prod sound person for my recent feature Detours. A friend and I went to see a screening of a movie that she'd worked on - she warned me in advance that it wasn't a very good movie (bad script, lousy actors) but I wasn't busy so I tagged along. Movie was indeed crap, but the sound quality was excellent and I noted that it had a lot of outdoor scenes with issues similar to ours. My friend connected me to the producer who connected me to the sound guy....And the rest, as they say, is history.

I know that's a long answer, but my point is that I find recommendations to be the best way to hire, as long as people have a sense of your budget limitations.
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:09 PM   #4
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Absolutely! The indie world is built like that, you can hire a whole crew by starting with one person and asking for recs, and keep asking as you hire. Often times you'll get a crew that all know each other, and this helps work ethic and moral as well. (Well in NYC that's possible)

That's like a reverse reference. As far as asking for references, you never know if they are cousins or friends.
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Old 08-05-2017, 03:31 PM   #5
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Thanks heaps for the advice, guys.

Will ask for what you've suggested, and let you know what comes back.

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Old 08-05-2017, 03:32 PM   #6
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Old 08-06-2017, 10:39 AM   #7
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For post, I'm looking at outsourcing to China. There is some incredible talent out there and as long as they are guided to do things in a 'Western' way, I think it'll be OK and prices are incredible.

Of course, I'm Chinese so we can talk to each other. Might be harder if you don't actually speak the language...
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Old 08-06-2017, 01:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
originally posted by gorillaonabike: Of course, I'm Chinese so we can talk to each other. Might be harder if you don't actually speak the language...
Probably! But (a) I'm very interested to know how that works out for you and (b) that could offer a consulting opportunity for you going forward.
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Old 11-08-2017, 08:53 AM   #9
BazTheHat
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Post-production sound can be really hard for some people. As software becomes cheap and the internet opens doors across the world, anyone with a cheap laptop and a free bit of software can claim to do post-production sound. But without skill, investment, business sense, creative sense, communication skills and so on, unfortunately they just become a disappointment to their clients.

I can say this as, amongst other things, I teach post-production sound on a Foundation Degree, as well as doing freelance work. It still amazes me how many students can make music to various degrees of success, but get them into foley, sfx, composing for film or, dare I say it, dubbing to technical specifications...it's a real challenge for them.
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Old 11-08-2017, 06:46 PM   #10
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There are heaps of talented sound people in AU.

Quote:
Finding emerging talent over here who can competently do the job is damn hard
Is this a euphemism for you're finding it hard to get good people to work for free/cheap?
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Old 11-08-2017, 07:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BazTheHat View Post
As software becomes cheap and the internet opens doors across the world, anyone with a cheap laptop and a free bit of software can claim to do post-production sound. But without skill, investment, business sense, creative sense, communication skills and so on, unfortunately they just become a disappointment to their clients.

I can say this as, amongst other things, I teach post-production sound on a Foundation Degree, as well as doing freelance work. It still amazes me how many students can make music to various degrees of success, but get them into foley, sfx, composing for film or, dare I say it, dubbing to technical specifications...it's a real challenge for them.
Exactly this. There's a lot more to making a film sound 'right' than meets the eye (or ear). Not to mention very specific technical specifications, and then there's the whole creative side to it as well.

Relating it to camera (my field of expertise, though I did work in audio briefly many moons ago), everyone and his dog has a camera - even if it's just on their phone. But not everyone and their dog has the knowledge, training, investment, creativity and experience to shoot a movie that looks like a movie. And it gets harder to find those who are appropriate, as the market becomes crowded with people who have cameras but none of the other stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
There are heaps of talented sound people in AU. [...]
Is this a euphemism for you're finding it hard to get good people to work for free/cheap?
This. There's heaps of world-class sound people in Australia. Finding some who'll work for free is harder unless your project is very special. There are some who'll work cheaply, but 'cheap' is a sliding scale, and without due diligence you tend to get what you pay for.
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