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How senior management supports audio post production

Within broadcast production workflows, audio is often an afterthought. But a great soundtrack is one of the least expensive ways to make a film more impactful. While the new generation of audio post tools are invaluable, senior management must also give their audio teams necessary time and space to create their magic on a TV or film project.

In our user community, common work practices often require audio editors and mixers to deliver more minutes of content to a deadline than they have minutes to edit, mix, and deliver the actual content!

Ultimately, this pressure comes from the trend of reality television – and from broadcasters and networks competing to be first to air the next big thing. The challenge becomes even more daunting when you consider the growing group of internet streaming providers who are creating and pushing out original content faster and faster.

At iZotope, we know some really talented and experienced audio editors and mixers who are finding the quality of their work diminishing simply because they don’t have sufficient time to work on the project. As audio post production teams are being downsized, remaining editors are still expected to produce more content than ever at the same level of quality.

Shrinking production times inevitably impact quality, regardless of the capability and experience of the audio post team. Yet the audio team is typically involved at the end of the production chain, so they routinely have the least amount of time.

The expectation to maintain quality standards can be oppressive on the audio team, which can generate a lot of friction within the audio post process. If audio post engineers do their job well, nobody should know they were ever there, further exacerbating the issue.

At IBC, iZotope is showcasing products designed to help audio mixers and editors be more creative and efficient in their day-to-day operations. From advances in the iZotope RX audio repair and editing platform, to RX Loudness Control, and to the new and imaginative RX Final Mix, our technology can empower the creative community in many ways.

However, for these production tools to ensure a real benefit, it requires a certain degree of insight from facility owners and senior management. As important as new time-saving audio production technologies are, they can create a double-edged sword. When a producer sees these new tools enabling greater efficiency within the audio team, it can create greater expectations of increased throughput.

The aim should not always be to increase output and to decrease production time. There has to be a clear focus on quality, which can be easily achievable by talented mixing and editing teams, but not if they are continually pressurised to be faster. Editing and mixing teams are among the most valuable resources – they are the ‘golden goose.’ But, without the time and space they need, the eggs will stop coming.