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“Placement” of your audio can take many forms. This includes what audio segments get played through what channel (left/right, front/rear, etc.), as well as placement in the file (how the audio is encoded with the video).
For audio placement within the correct channels, it’s important to follow the placement standards. A common layout is the SMPTE surround standard: L R C LFE Ls Rs (Left, Right, Center, Low Frequency Effects, Left Surround, Right Surround.) However, this may vary depending on your deliverable requirement.
Many media outlets also require a stereo mix, a surround mix, as well as foreign language tracks.This means you could have close to ten or more audio tracks for each video file!
Audio channels, as described above, correspond to the artistic organization of the audio sources, e.g. what speaker the audio is heard from. Audio streams on the other hand, are the places within the digital media file that the audio is encoded. For example, one audio stream in a media file can contain 6 surround channels of audio.
Often, the timeline in your NLE won’t be laid out in the exact way that your end deliverable is being requested. That’s OK! This means you will have to map your audio to the appropriate channels as outlined by the deliverables doc that you’ve requested. Most NLE’s have a way to map audio tracks (or roles) to the appropriate output channel and stream.
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