Sitting in with one of the “Ops”
Today I was lucky enough to be able to sit in with one of the ops while they were working and shadow them on their project. If you are just doing work experience at Envy then the Head Runner will try to let you sit in as often as possible for the two weeks that you are there, however if you are employed then you must do all your training out of hours. As I am on a 4 week paid internship, all my training should technically fall out of hours, but if it’s a quiet afternoon then I have been able to sit in with some of the Ops a couple of times.
Ideally you will want to sit in with an operator that does the job you’d like to get into; for me this would be Offline Editing or Colour Grading. Offline editing however happens in Envy’s Holden House building and their Foley Street building. They also only have 2 in-house off-line editors and the rest are freelancers hired by production companies for each individual project. This is in some ways makes it impossible to think of working your way up to that position within Envy. Producers and Directors seem to have their own offline editors and it is VFX, graders and audio operators that Envy really provide to clients.
Tom the Audio Man
I had another opportunity to sit in with one of the top operators in Envy again. This time it was Tom who is one of the senior mixers and works with some of the biggest clients they have in.
I sat in with him for about 2 hours as he was mixing the audio for Gold Rush which is an observational documentary (“ob-doc”) on Discovery Channel in the US. Tom told me it was Discovery’s most successful show ever and therefore a very important client.
I asked him what exactly he does and so he explained:
- A tracklayer or editor puts together a base layer of audio which includes music, sound effects and sound from the camera – but it can be very rough and full of gaps or errors.
- It is his job to make sure all the levels are mixed equally, the music fits well, make sure all the sound effects from anything on screen and the video and audio are synced perfectly and put in the voice over if necessary.
- He also has to deal with the clients who will come in to check on the audio mix and make any changes they want.
A word about the Clients …
Tom said he had worked on over 50 episodes of Gold Rush so he found editing the audio quite routine at this stage. It’s a very industrial show, lots of machinery and the bustling of gold mines. I asked him what it was like working with the clients of the show, and he explained how after working for so long with them they had built a strong level of trust and he tended to know what they wanted