Thanks to @rynde and @joecavers for suggesting I write about Workflows. Workflows are very important in the world of post-production sound, especially in TV where there’s never enough time before the work has to be delivered. For me, I think that working efficiently is the key to this, the knock on effect being one is far less stressed than other people under similar pressure. Here’s two parts of how I organise my workflows that are evolving to make my work more efficient.
The key to efficiency is organisation. To start with all my work is neatly organised on the HDD. A clear and easily remembered folder structure makes searching for files and folders incredibly quick.
This is important not only while I’m working but as happens in the world of TV I might be called upon to go back to an episode to make changes beyond broadcast (like a different version of a mix to suit a different broadcast specification). Being able to find the work you did 2 years ago goes a long way to making one look slick and professional in my opinion.
My ProTools sessions themselves are always neatly organised too. Most of the time I use a specific template for any TV work as it has all the tracks, plugins and routing already there for large and complex programmes. I inherited the session from my predecessor in Telegael, apart from the input/output routing it’s now rather different from when I first used it. It is also a structure I follow even if I create a session from scratch.
Here is a chart outlining the rough signal flow.
Obviously this is rather simplified but it does show a clear logic of how my sessions get setup. From the audio tracks I can quickly re-record my stems within ProTools, allowing me to select sections and destructively drop in any fixes at a later date. It also means I can easily export different file types (mp3s for reviews and WAVS for delivery) of the same mix without having to sit through the show again in real time. This signal flow applies to all the different elements of a mix; dialogue, foley, sfx, footsteps, atmos and music. It means I can generate all my different deliverables (full mix, m&e, music only, sfx only, dialogue only) all at the same time within ProTools. It is this form of session organisation that can save an awful lot of time when in the delivery stage of TV post production.