Sound editor (filmmaking)

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The role of a sound editor is that of a creative professional responsible for selecting and assembling sound recordings in preparation for the final sound mixing or mastering of a television programme or motion picture. A sound editor can also work on video games and other productions that use recorded or synthesised sounds. Early talkies had fragmentary, undramatic, or technically inferior sound recordings, which necessitated the development of sound editing. Over the years, sound editing has evolved into a recognised filmmaking profession, with sound editors executing the aesthetic objectives of motion picture sound design.

By awarding the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honours the creative contribution of outstanding sound editing.

As a general rule, the three major categories of sound that are mixed to produce a final mix are: conversation, sound effects, and music. In bigger markets such as New York and Los Angeles, sound editors often specialise in just one of these areas, resulting in a programme having distinct dialogue, effects, and music editors, among other things, The expectation is that, in smaller markets, sound editors are well-versed in all aspects of the job, and that they will often cross over into the mixing world. Creating the sound world from start is analogous to editing effects, while correcting the sonic world once it has already been created is analogous to dialogue editing. Dialogue editing is more accurately referred to as "production sound editing," in which the editor takes the original sound recorded on the set and, using a variety of techniques, makes the dialogue more understandable as well as smoother, so that the listener does not hear the transitions from shot to shot when the film is being edited (often the background sounds underneath the words change dramatically from take to take). Making convincing sound effects for what you see on screen is one of the many difficulties that effects editors must overcome, as is remembering their sound effects library, which they must do in order to be successful.