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  • Function: To build the location of each scene. 
  • Visibility: Backgrounds consist entirely of elements not seen on screen.
  • Examples: birds, wind, room tone, traffic wash
  • Rules:
    • Backgrounds will always run the entire length of a scene, they consist of elements that could never stop for any reason. Rain is not a background. While it may rain through an entire scene, rain could, at any time, start or stop. 
    • Backgrounds are consistent in nature. A wind background should not have a single dog bark thirty seconds in. It needs to just be wind. This is because when mixing for television we are on a limited timeframe. Background mixing should be a relatively fast process, consisting of leveling and panning that works for the scene from end to end. When elements start or stop or random sounds pop in, the mixer needs to adjust. Backgrounds need to be a ‘set it and forget it’ routine. 
    • Good backgrounds are built in layers. Sure, you may have found the perfect stereo track for an exterior neighborhood scene with wind, birds, and traffic all married together in one file. But when the client says “I love it, can we just take out the birds?” the mixer’s hands are tied. In this case, you need a layer of wind, a layer of birds, and a layer of traffic, all independent from one another.

Attribution: Boom Box Post

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