Here’s my workflow when working on all steps of a project, meaning just one post engineer working throughout all the post sessions.
As said before, dialogue is king, so I start by editing dialogue and use clip gain to get the levels the closest I can to 0dbfs, there’s a minus 2 to 4 dbfs headroom that I tend to leave open to later dynamics and restoration, it all depends on the quality of the material and production sound that is sent to me.
Then I start building the sound design, again, only using clip gain and dynamics, or fx, but all with the dialogue as the center piece.
In the end, the score editing with attenuation to at least -4 dbfs, I tend to normalize this step to -4 or -6 because in this step the material has already been mastered and has way more dynamics than the dialogue.
Now I’m ready for mixing and jump on the mixing console using automation on the sound design and score, I never ride dialogue!!! or use the faders until this stage.
Now the “mastering part”, where I use the stereo out or whatever delivery mix I need, to insert dynamics and achieve unity gain.
Now you’re ready to ask your client for the loudness standards, either you reduce the level of the entire mix on the stereo out or let Nuendo do it for you.
I tend to deliver for TV with ebuR128 standards, meaning -23lufs. When I set the stereo out to -10dbfs, I only tend to miss by -1 or + 1 lufs when analyzing the whole mix, meaning something must be right with my workflow, then I’ll correct that minor loudness discrepancy or let Nuendo do it for me.
The reason I edit and mix dialogue close to unity gain is because I have had sessions with over 4 delivery standards, that way I have headroom for all of them just by attenuating the whole mix on the stereo out or surround groups.
-Start by editing and levelling dialogue/ VO ( in this stage I give 1/2 db plus to VO regarding production dialogue), only using clip gain.
-move on to Sound design, working within your dialogue range, again, only using clip gain
-move on to music score, normalize those masters to -4 or -6 dbfs, then Edit. ( If you’re also scoring, mix and master those scores as if they were original pieces, even if you’re scoring to video, then move them to the Post stage).
-move on to the mixing console and start mixing the sound design and the music score with the dialogue, never touch the dialogue levels.
-move on to the mastering stage where you insert (?) another compression or limiter to achieve 0dbfs
-your mix is ready, ask for delivery specs, unless its cinema ( there’s no loudness standard), you should go to the stereo out and enter -10 dbfs or let that stereo out fader untouched and choose loudness settings on Nuendo export menu.
You’re used to music production, audio post doesn’t work that way, you only touch a fader in the mixing stage, when all is already edited, and I highly recommend getting a control surface for that.
And of course, sends and vcas are part of the editing/mixing stage, but the workflow is the same.
Hope this short (?!) answer helps.