Sunday, April 25, 2010

Design and Mixing for Television Commercials

Design and mixing for television commercials refers to the process of deciding what sounds to use to augment the video to create the moods and environment needed by the commercial. You know that music can make you anxious so that you will jump when something happens in a commercial. That is because music has a profound effect on people�s emotions. So if a commercial is about something sad, a good engineer for design and mixing for television commercials will softly play very sad music before the crucial moment to get the audience in the right frame of mind so the commercial has the maximum emotional effect.

Originally there was no design and mixing for television commercials because everything was broadcast live. However, the film industry had been recording sound for movies for many years. They used a system called a vitaphone, which was basically a microphone that was attached to a phonograph that cut a master recording of the sound. Of course that meant that no mixing was possible which limited everything to one-take scenes. Meanwhile, Warner Brothers Studios was experimenting with creating multiple phonograph recordings and intercutting between the master recordings. The first sound mixing console created by Warner Brothers is on display in the Warner Brother�s studio museum. It was used to create the movie �The Jazz Singer� in the 1920s.

Then the sound on film process was developed which allowed the sound to be recorded directly on the film in a linear sequence on a separate track from the video. This made mixing and re-sequencing possible. This invention made design and mixing for television commercials possible. Then they replaced the optical sound recording with magnetic recording which made further adjustments possible. Now the sound engineer could modify different aspects of the sounds as well as mix them together. Magnetic recording also reduced the signal-to noise ration on each recording so more different recordings could be played simultaneously without causing too much distortion.

The design and mixing for television commercials process works like this:
� Individual groups of sounds are recorded on separate tracks. Dialogue, music, background sound, etc will all be separate groups.
� Each group may contain multiple recordings that are mixed into a single group track.
� Group tracks may be mixed in one group at a time. This is called pre-dubbing.
� Then all of the group tracks are then �dubbed� or mixed onto a final sound track.

The design and mixing for television commercials for optical sound tracks was limited to eight tracks, 200 magnetic recording tracks could be mixed together, aided by Dolby noise reduction technology. Over a thousand digital recordings can be mixed together. The design and mixing for television commercials has come a long way since it was first used.

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