Naturalistic sound effects and believable dialogue are the basis for creating a realistic film. How far should the editor proceed to achieve this goal? The answer to this question is as important as the editor's understanding of the narrative point and emotional character of a scene.
In the rough cut, the editor must begin to catalogue a series of sounds that will support the realism of a scene. These sounds can be the underpinnings to the narrative and dramatic center of the scene, or they can be deeper background sounds that support the film's sense of realism. It's likely that the sounds captured on location during filming are not pronounced enough to be dramatically useful because they are lost in the delivery of the dialogue. These sounds will have to be recaptured or re-created for the film's sound track. The first step is to catalogue the necessary sounds.
After the sounds have been recorded, they are laid down on one of the numerous effects tracks so that they can be tested with the visual to which they are related. This process is followed for all of the sound effects so that the various effects can always be heard in relation to the scene's visuals. To build up these tracks for maximum flexibility, the sound effects are laid down in such a way that they overlap other sounds. They can thus be faded in or out as needed during the actual sound mix. However, the editor cannot match-cut one sound effect to another as he would do for visuals that flow into one another. The effects must be available to highlight the visuals and make them seem more real, but the effects must be organized for the mix in such a way that one sound does not abruptly end or seque to another sound. This would be disruptive and would draw attention to itself rather than help create the necessary sense of realism.
The same principle applies to dialogue. If the sound of the dialogue seems imperfect, the performance or the position of the microphone undermine the visual. Sometimes a scene can be post-dubbed in a sound studio; more often, though, the scene has to be reshot. The delivery of the dialogue must contribute to the film's sense of realism.
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