News Release

How behind-the-scenes sound mixing makes movie magic #ASA183

Capturing consistent room tones and ambience enhances dialogue and draws the audience in

Reports and Proceedings

Acoustical Society of America

Jeffrey Reed demonstrates the behind-the-scenes audio engineering

image: Jeffrey Reed demonstrates the behind-the-scenes audio engineering required to recreate the acoustics of a movie set. view more 

Credit: Jeffrey Reed

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 7, 2022 – If you've ever watched a movie where the audio is out of sync, it quickly becomes obvious that smooth, consistent sound is critical for movie enjoyment, especially during dialogue. Even slight discrepancies in background noise can disrupt a moviegoer's experience.

At the upcoming meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Jeffrey Reed of Taproot Audio Design will demonstrate the behind-the-scenes audio engineering required to re-create the acoustics of movie sets and locations. During the session, "Modern movie sound: reality and simulated reality," Reed will share short clips of film to compare the original recording to the studio mixed product. The presentation will take place Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. Eastern U.S. in the Summit A room at the Grand Hyatt Nashville Hotel, as part of ASA's 183rd meeting running Dec. 5-9.

"Nearly everything you hear in a film has been added later or enhanced for effect. Consistency in background noise has a major impact, especially on dialogue in a movie," said Reed. "Sometimes every single line of dialogue in a scene can have a different noise profile – the sound in the background varies and makes the sound choppy and disjointed. It's up to us to smooth that out."

Modern movie sound mixing uses techniques like impulse responses to reproduce dialogue and other sounds. These methods are crucial to align what moviegoers see and hear and keep them engaged in the story.

An impulse response is a short recording that allows audio engineers to re-create the acoustics of a room. Sonic qualities are recorded when a sound reverberates off the unique layout of a space. The impulse recording is then applied to the audio mix to digitally re-create the sound of that space and make the resulting scene of a film as believable as possible.

"There are a lot of moving parts to a film mix, from dialogue, effects, and the ever-important musical score," said Reed. "Each and every one is crucial to a film, and the joy of mixing is finding out what needs to be where at the right time. When it's all said done though, dialogue is king in a film mix and everything must carefully revolve around it."


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The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world's leading journal on acoustics), JASA Express Letters, Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. See


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