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Fun Friday: What even is a layback sound mixer anyway?

"Layback Sound Mixer" appears in movie credits. What does that job entail? Clearly, it involves mixing layback sound, but what is layback sound?


1 Answer 1


Some quotes:

In the domain of audio/video production layback is the process of laying audio back in to video for the final video product. During video projects it is common for the audio and video to be edited separately (sometimes in separate facilities in different states or countries). Once the video and its audio are finalized they are combined together. This process is called layback and has historically been done on layback machines that are designed for this purpose.

From Sweetwater

Layback is where the final picture has been transferred to some type of digital tape, and the audio is then relayed (or recorded) in a separate pass to the tape by the audio mixer. This will require a working knowledge of a few tape machines currently in use as well as the synchronization abilities of your specific DAW [digital audio workstation]. The audio is relayed to the tape on the proper tracks, at the proper levels, in sync. After the relay, each and every spot on the tape should be watched to check that all of the above has been done correctly.

From Pro Audio Files

This web site seems to be saying the process for creating a set of files for audio editing and mixing is called layoff, so layback would make sense to be the process for combining the finished audio back with the finished picture for final delivery.

Different post production personnel will deliver different sound files and stems of their final output. These include ADR audio, foley, other sound effects, and music. In larger budget productions, the teams will deliver elements, mixes, and/or stems that have embedded time code for correct spotting and synchronization. All these elements have to be combined into a final audio mix, which is then delivered in one or more of several possible formats (e.g., 7.2 for theatrical release and both 5.1 and 2.0 for home viewing).

The final audio mix is delivered as audio files, and those files have to be recombined with the picture to make the final delivery file, tape, or film. That final combination is called layback.

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