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October 18, 2012 / Randy Coppinger

Editing vs Mastering

Chip Beaman asked,
Is mastering the files a part of the editor’s process?

It tends to be, yes. I edit and master dialog at the same time by choice. However, editing demands a person’s attention, like driving a car. If you ignore editing you won’t get the job done. But so long as nothing obviously wrong jumps out, mastering is insidiously easy to neglect. Good mastering requires that editing stop for a listen to mastering issues only. Giving each task some separate brain space can feel a bit scattered, but ignoring one for the other, and switching back and forth is essential.

Editing and mastering could be performed separately under the right conditions. Maybe in a large team with lots of specialization one person would edit and a different person would master. But because there is some overlap between these tasks, I believe there is a time efficiency when one person does both simultaneously.

(Mastering in Game Audio is more like pre-dubbing for film, or comping in music production. In this context mastering is level setting and processing to get the dialog ready to implement into the game. But audio elements can be further manipulated using the game’s audio engine, unlike mastering for music production or print mastering for film which result in a final product.)

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