M&E edit workflow??

I just received a project I have to deliver as M&E mix as well . So before I start I’d like to know the best way to edit it. Never had to do it so time to learn it properly.
How do you guys edit the PFX and DX tracks for M&E : if the is dialogue track with a lot of body movement, footsteps and so on, (and in this short there is almost always) when you mute the dx track(s) there will be a hole. So, do I have to constantly run a room tone with some body movement underneath the dia or does the other (foreign) company ad foley, footseps a.s.o…
Specially if the talent is walking and talking. do I have to do foley extra for the M&E?.

Thank you in advance

The answer is as simple as it is complicated.
When muting the DX track, your should hear everything except for the dialog.

Everything = footsteps, cloth movements, hands, foley, Background, Room Tone, think_of_something.

You can “steal” stuff from the original DX track (PFX), as much as you want, but it needs to be integrated perfectly within the new “environment”. Which means it is sometimes it is less work to rebuild everything than to try to “match” the original.


Room hum and foley is your answer to fill the holes.
And build the whole project with stem masters.
Just mute Dialog and deliver…

Bye / Tumppi

Thank you guys!. Wow, a lot of work for a little money :slight_smile:. But a lot of fun…
One more. The mix is going to be L/R only for local market, but should I edit in LCR for the M&E?. from the specs:
HD CAM SR Videomaster
16 x 9 LB (OAR) - Texted with English Subtitles
16 x 9 LB (OAR) - Textless
4:4:4, RGB
1920 X 1080 23, 98 Psf
8 Track audio 5,1 LT / RT (or 2 track if 5.1 not available)

16 x 9 LB (OAR) - Texted with English subs
Stereo Mix

16 x 9 LB (OAR)
1920 x 1080, 23.98
Rec 709
Square Pixels
Stereo Mix

the specs depend entirely on the sound set up of individual film

Pro-Tools Session on DVD-R
broadcast wave files (.bwav)





all source and score music used in the picture
no dips or fadeouts (complete original compositions)
playable CD (16 bit/44.1 khz)




Just to be on the safe side.
They say the sound depends on the film setup, so it means I can edit from the very beginning in L/R? Or LCR just in case?
Sorry, never had to do it before :blush:
Thank you for your help


If you deliver L/R stereo should the whole project be done in stereo L/R.

Why would you want to do LCR anyway for stereo?

Bye / Tumppi

Thank you Tumppi.!

this is taken from an email fredo sent me ages ago. it’s very clear:

We just use the groups as stems. (BG’s, Dialog, Music, SFX & Foley)

Whenever split stems are required, then we just export each individual group or re-record it into Nuendo4. Mind you that we never “mix” on a stage that is not ours, except for 35 mm mastering. But even then -worse case scenario- we go to that stage with full mixed group-stems as explained above.

In the case an International version is required, we just mute the dialog track and export everything. If there is any layback involved, DD or DTS encoding, then mostly I create a new project with the ( interleaved ) stems (groups) or final mix files. That makes it much easier to match levels, or do any fancy things like Pulldowns.

You’ll get OMFs with (at most) a few tracks of edited location sound. But in these tracks, the dialog and the SFX are not separated.

Man 1: Hello Jim, you look stupid today.
Man 2: Clear Off.
SFX: Man 2 hits Jim in the face and Jim falls on table. Table breaks and bottles fall off.
Man 1: aaaahhhhh … Jim … nooo … Umpf … (While falling)

In this case, the sound of the breaking table/bottles/whatever needs to be isolated from the dialog. Whatever SFX that are present in that location track (and you want those to serve as basis for your other added SFX), they should be moved to the SFX group.

So, when you mute the dialog track (for the Intl. version - or M&E) you don’t lose any SFX.

*** There is that case of a very succesful Belgian Fiction series :

They took a shortcut (due to budget reasons) and kept the entire location recording tracks as basis for the production. So they just “added” whatever that was missing to that location track. Surprise-surprise !!! The series was sold to another country and they needed an M&E track. Rumour goes that they spend the enitre budget (of what they got from out that sale) into creating the M&E track. They had to start the production all over from scratch; walking footsteps, creating BGs, adding SFX and all that kind of stuff.

I think you should ask for a clarification of what they really expect. I’ve done low-budget projects where I’ve stated up front that there’s no way they can receive a “true” M&E on the budget they have (i.e. pay me more and you can have it). They’ve usually not comprehended the difference really. You basically often have to educate the clients on lower-budget projects. And once they understand a lot of times they will simply bite the bullet and not get a “complete” M&E.

I should emphasize that the above isn’t about “right” or “wrong”, simply the conflict of you being paid little money for a lot of work, and that either you or your client has to “suffer” because of that. I’ve suffered enough to do that moving forward. They want everything? They pay for it. So you could ask them if it seems like a lot of work. See what they say.

That said, if you’re starting out there may be other “values” to doing it for little money; like getting a foot in the door, learning technology and techniques etc…

One more thing; I looked at your specs, and it seems to say Lt/Rt, NOT LoRo. The two are NOT the same. I think you should get that clarified as well (unless you already have of course).

Good luck with your project!

I’ve made a small video of a typical M&E project, you might get some good info from looking at the project setup.
This comes from a Police/action Tv series for which we created the M&E after the episodes have been aired.
You will notice that SFX, PFX, MX, and BG’s are already present in stems, so we didn’t have to redo that.
All the extra foley you see is to fill “the gaps” when the DX is muted.
M&E project.mov (8.04 MB)

In response to Max’ post …

There is a significant difference between how M&E is handled in Europe vs. the US.
Pretty much any US product is destinated to be dubbed somewhere in the world, while in Europe, this is not so common. So any “quality” US series or movie will be approached with the knowledge that an M&E is needed. In other words, Dialog editing is a big job in the US, and per definition almost anything that can be cut out of the dialog will be replaced with Foley of SFX.

The opposite is true in most European Countries. We apply (what we call) “damage control”. I.e., we add all sounds which are missing in the DX track, which serves as “master”. Most of the time, they don’t even care about adding the missing footsteps … Which means that when a product is sold to another country to be dubbed, then -and only then- will they consider to create a full M&E. At great extra cost of course. (The project I posted above is such an example)
The product would have been much better if we could have worked all that stuff for the initial broadcast in the native language. The extra cost of investing into a finsihed M&E is too-much-of-a-gamble if it’s uncertain if the product is going to be sold abroad. So damage control is justified, and often very-very good considering the effort that has been put into it.

In just want to say that, when a proper M&E is required (versus damage control), the cost will be 3 to 4 times higher.


What Fredo said.

Wow!. Thank you guys for the responses.

Thats actually what I said to the producer. I explained to her what actually is a real M&E and she just said “wow. s$#%t load of work??!!” So yes, I’ll have to negotiate it again.
Here where I live (Namibia) the film scene is so small. This project is a very 1st one to have an contracted foreign distributor. I wouldn’t say its a big blockbuster project, bu I do approach my work as good as I can, so I will do my best to make the M&E. It is nice to learn new things. Who knows when it pays off.
Fredo. Thank you for the example. So I’ll just export the stems as usual and then feel the missing stuff. It really is true what you wrote about the EU M%E. We have German TV here, I just watched some TV shows. Germany is dubbing temple :slight_smile: by the way, and I noticed that very often the missing stuff isn’t filled back with folley. Footsteps, body movements,a.s.o. Maybe here and there a very important punch or hit but no more.
Fredo, I red somewhere that you use Groove Agent for “finger folley”? Do you also do it for body movements?.
And guys, do you know a good library for that type of work?
Thank you again for all your help

One more thing; I looked at your specs, and it seems to say Lt/Rt, NOT LoRo. The two are NOT the same. I think you should get that clarified as well (unless you already have of course).

That is only if we mix in 5.1? Isnt it a Dolby thing? There is no budget to send this to a dolby dubbing stage so I dont have to worry I gueass :smiley:
Th 2 track they are talking about is stereo, correct?.
Thanks Lydiot

What I meant to say (if I remember correctly) was that you should make sure they’re not going to encode your stereo mix to LT/RT. I know that sometimes people deliver a Lo/Ro and it gets encoded to Lt/Rt by the people authoring the final print/files.

Fredo can probably clarify this better than I.

Wow, tons of respect my friend …
From what I know about that area of the world (my aplogies for putting it that way …) I would never have thought that any form of (pro) audio Post even exists. Really, hats off for someone who tries to do it the “right way”. Not obvious in Africa.

Germany is dubbing temple > :slight_smile: >

Euh … did I misunderstand you , or did you see that show?
In fact, we did that show for the German ProSeben, but the show has been dubbed in a dozen languages, mostly in Eastern Europe and Northern Africa.

Fredo, I red somewhere that you use Groove Agent for “finger folley”? Do you also do it for body movements?.

If I would tell you, I would have to kill you.

We did “walk” some footsteps in Groove Agent One, but we have evolved since then. But I can’t really elaborate on that. But I will try to answer your question. No, you can’t use a sampler for body movements or any other form of foley that needs a “performance”. If you put a lot of work in it, you might be able to build a footsteps sampler and maybe attach cloths movements to it. But the problem is to put down a performance which matches what happens on screen. So even if you would sample a dozen footsteps, it would never be enough to cover soft, hard, running, slowing down, and a few dozen other types of footsteps. Not to mention all the different shoes and surfaces. The first project for wich we used Groove Agent One was Uki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uki_(TV_series), but that was an animation serie. These footsteps need to be simple.

And guys, do you know a good library for that type of work?

Anything will do.
But I suggest you try to record most of the foley in a similar location while preserving the perspective. So if a bottle falls on the ground in a classroom, 10 meters from the camera’s point of view, do the same. Record it in a classroom with your mic 10 meter away. That will give you the perfect match. Don’t worry about noise and other unwanted sounds. It will match much better than recording it in a dry studio and then try to match it with reverbs and EQ.

Let me know if we can help in any way.


Hmmm, I just noticed that the video I have posted is not working.
It only shows the first couple of tracks, while I have recorded the complete project, with all the Foley tracks.
Will re-post tomorrow when I am back in the studio.


[Edit] .mov is online now.

Africa… :smiley: .
To be honest it took us 8 years to convince filmmakers that there is audio post in film :slight_smile:. When we moved to Namibia by choice ( I’m originally from Poland :mrgreen:; we lived and worked for 15 years in Germany ) the soundtrack consisted of an “artist” playing guitar and singing, and this original music isn’t the most original at all; one chord progression in 20 min movie makes you very sleepy…
Is only starting now that the planned budget has got a sound department… Some of the movies we did have been shown on the international festivals so the filmmakers here start to understand how important it is. Whats funny, we don’t even have a screening place here, the 1 cinema is so bad that even the real films coming here sound like crap. So it is a constant fight to get a proper screening. To tell the PA guy to reset his sub woofer and back off the volume, and to use a SPL meter to at least have a sense of calibrated environment (SPL errr what??? :wink: ).
Thank you for all the help guys.

Greets to Namibia.
Been there a few times in the 90’s for work and holidays.

Hey, grab yourself a copy of Melodyne and give them some jazzy versions of the song to choose from…
Lol …

Cheers, Big K

good idea