Dialogue Signal Processing for Film Tutorial

Learn how to use signal processing chains and plug-ins as tools for a consistent and clean dialogue edit.

Sound artist Matt Yocum (Pet Sematary, The Cloverfield Paradox) joins us for an exclusive followup to his dialogue mixing tutorial – this time focusing on the signal processing chain, plug-in layout, and noise reduction techniques. Matt demonstrates his workflow on a clip from How to Deter a Robber, using tools like iZotope RX, Waves WNS, and more.

It is important to note, however, that there are dozens of different processes and workflows, and you do not have to use the same exact plug-ins as the ones utilized in this tutorial to accomplish the same result. It is far more important to understand how the plug-ins work, and why, in order to apply them in your own editing work. 

Content:

  • 00:00 - Intro
  • 11:26 - Plug-in Processing Chain
  • 12:48 - WNS Noise Suppression
  • 20:11 - EQ
  • 28:05 - Soothe2 
  • 30:55 - De-Ess
  • 32:20 - Compressing
  • 35:10 - Final Thoughts

Tips to Keep in Mind:

As you listen to your dialogue for the first time, keep an ear out for extra hiss, movement, and noise. Remember to never over-sanitize or over-extract the noise from your dialogue. Some of that movement and background noise helps make your film feel alive with warmth and the naturally occurring nuance of the performance. Therefore a rule of thumb; not all noise is your enemy!

It's good practice is to have the same plug-in inserts, in the same order, on each dialogue track. This way you can edit and move clips around tracks freely without the worry of losing any previous automation. 

Closing Thoughts:

Dialogue is the most integral part of a film's soundtrack so it is imperative to achieve clarity and consistency throughout. This can be achieved through using noise reduction, compression, and EQ plug-ins, but it is more important to understand how these plug-ins work in order to utilize them efficiently within your signal processing chain. And as always, listen back to your work with fresh ears.


matt-yocum-headshot-2020



Matt Yocum is a freelance sound designer based out of Los Angeles.

Follow Matt:
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