And the winner is….

 

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The 2017 Academy Awards are just around the corner—and chances are, you’ve heard that films like “La La Land” and “Manchester by the Sea” will be vying for top honors, along with iconic actors like Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, and Isabelle Huppert.

You’re also probably familiar with the top five awards categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. Cinematography and Costume Design are also hotly contested and eagerly awaited.

But what about the awards that most people only vaguely understand?

Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Film Editing are some of the most misunderstood Oscar categories—and they also just happen to be things our JK video team does every day. Consider this our mini-guide for awards night!

 

Film Editing: Putting it all together

The film editor is responsible for bringing together all the taped footage—which generally includes many, many more hours of film than will ever make it to the big screen—and turning it into the final movie. She works closely with the creative team to select the most unique angles and cuts, add transitions and sound effects, and shape the overall flow and rhythm to tell the story in the most effective way possible. In many ways, she’s one of the unsung heroes of the movie world: if you notice the edits at all, the editor hasn’t done a very good job!

 

Sound Mixing and Sound Editing: Sculpting movie sound

The difference between these two categories is confusing to even seasoned Academy Awards watchers—but each plays its own unique role in the movie-making process.

The sound editor is responsible for creating all of the sounds in the movie (except the music—that’s the music editor’s job). This includes sound effects, dialogue recorded on set, and automated dialogue replacement (aka ADR—the process of re-recording dialogue by the original actor after the filming process, often used when ambient noise on set makes the original recording unusable, or if the script is changed after filming). In fact, this category used to be known as “Sound Effects Editing.”

Bottom line: You can thank the sound editor for every audible footstep, faucet drip, dog bark, gunshot, and creaking door you hear in your favorite Oscar contenders.

The sound mixer, on the other hand, is responsible for taking all that good sound and assembling it into the film’s overall auditory experience. In a nutshell, he “mixes” all the sound elements to deliver the best balance of music, dialogue, sound effects, and other audio. But remember: Without the sound editor, he wouldn’t have anything to work with.

We hope we’ve taken some of the mystery out of the Academy Awards for you … and maybe even helped you win this year’s office Oscar pool!

 

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