We covered some basic concepts last issue, and now
it’s time for the session. First, make sure that your
setup is correct, so let’s step through the procedure.
For instructive purposes, we will be using a Pro Tools
system with an external video monitor, and a Canopus
ADVC 110 as my video converter. I have taken the
video signal and split it out from the converter box so
that one leg goes into the isolation booth, and one leg
comes back to me at the board. I have a small, flatscreen
TV for my monitor, and I have asked my filmmaker
to give me a copy of the film in QuickTime DV
format. This is important, because Pro Tools will not
send anything out over Firewire that is not in DV format.
This means a .mov file won’t work with an external monitor.
I have my session set up to match the film as
closely as possible. (I do this in my session set up window).
My frame rates are the same (29.97), my Sampling
frequency is the same (48kHz), and even my bit
depth (16 bit—even though this doesn’t actually matter,
I like the uniformity between source and target).
Importing the Video
The next step is to import the video into your session via
the Import menu. Don’t forget to include the audio, as
well! Afterwards, set up a few mono and stereo audio
tracks to have at your disposal for when you need them.
Just for ducks, play that puppy through to the end to
make sure everything is locked and loaded. The video
should play just fine on your computer monitor.
Then, I go to my Options pull-down menu, and
choose Video Out Firewire. This takes the signal and
spits it out to the fire connection and to the converter
box. You should now be seeing and hearing the film in
the studio and iso booth (where the talent is wearing
headphones, of course) on the external monitors.
The last item on this setup list is a critical one.
Because you are now sending the video signal out
through an external routing source, there will be a
delay between the audio and video. Happily, Pro
Tools provides a Video Sync Offset Control. This is
found in the Setup pull-down menu, and we will be
using the QuickTime controls. For my purposes, I usually
have this set to 25. This should be used only
when you are viewing on an external monitor, otherwise
your sync will be off.
“Sync” is probably the most important word of the
day today. When we talk about sync, what we are
really saying is whether the dialog lined up with the
visual. If it’s off by even a few subframes, it will end up
looking like an old Japanese monster movie. Always
check for sync between picture and audio, because
it is very hard to track down once you’ve lost it.
Getting Ready for the Talent
So now you have your iso booth set up with a mic
that will represent the live-production audio sound
closely. You also now have a clear video signal path
to the booth that both you and the talent can see. You
have set up your Pro Tools session to be able to playback
the original audio to the talent as much as they
need to get comfortable with the part and studio.
Now it’s the talent’s turn. You don’t just want them to
read the part, but react to the part. Of course, you
don’t want them to overact the part, either. This is the
fine line, and not crossing it is often the most timeconsuming
element of the process.
In the next and final installment of this series, we
will talk about the actual recording of the dialog and
the treatment of the tracks in postproduction.