The sound mixer hears it all

March 18, 2011

Ever heard of a “group walla!”?

Before I tell you what it is…it reminds me of getting on the Chinatown bus in NYC to Boston. In the summer there is always a very sweet Chinese woman selling bottled water to people before they get onto the bus: “Wallah, wallah, one dollah! Wallah? Wallah, wallah one dollah.”  I learned today that her voice comes through at about 85db, perhaps 90db if she is raising her voice a little bit. Did you know that when you go to the movies, everything you hear is between ~40db (that’s quiet) to an absolute maximum 105db (total exploding raucous calamity), but most of it hovers around 85db, just about the level that we are all used to. The level of a human voice.

A group walla is when a group of actors are put together and are asked to speak in the background, to be recorded for background conversation in a scene. The resulting banter can often be quite hilarious, not that you’d ever hear it in the movie you are watching, because of how mixed down it is. But, the sound mixer hears it all. Sound mixers hear everything.


sound board


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: