The mixers will be your main source of answers in terms of how they want material presented & in what order.... for me its usually:
- Dialogue/ADR predub 5+ days
- Ambience predub 2+ days
- Foley predub 2-3 days
- FX predubs 2-8 days
- Final mix (reel a day) 5+ days
- Double head screening (dummy print master, stitch + screen)
- Fixes... and possibly another doublehead screening 2+ days
- Print master Digital & LtRt 2 days
- Deliveries/TV Mix etc....
You & the mixers will decide how many stems to predub to for most things (eg current film Ambience was predubbed to 4 x 5.0 and 2 x LCR) & you will defintiely need to provide guidance on how many stems FX predubs go out to. Smaller films here tend to be 4 or 6 5.1 FX predub stems, larger films can go past 15.... The main aim is to reduce the number of source tracks down while also retaining control in the final mix by not locking anything that might conflict together. Its a big waste of time if you have to go back into stems to solve a problem.... This is obviously helped/avoided by having final run throughs with the director before predubs start so that all source material has been signed off on.
Usually the mix techs handle the dubber in terms of managing the predub stems, so once predubs are finished the playback dubber will handle playback of the Ambience, Foley & FX Predub stems in the final mix, in one big session..... but again thats dependent on how the stage/mixers like to work....
I always also run a live PT session (ie un-predubbed) of material in the final mix which contains the most subjective elements, and anything that might clash with score... This session is also where I add any fixes....
Check the delivery requirements for the project with the post supervisor - depending on the producer/studio I am often responsible to provide a copy of everything that went into the final mix (ie all predub stems & the live PT session) and in some cases we also have to provide all elements thats went into the predubs... This process can take days & may well be over 100GB of material....
We dont use cue sheets at all & havent in the last decade due to the mixers having cloned monitors displaying all PT tracks.... but again check with your mixers, some still request them....
In the final mix here, aside from the mixers, there are usually 3 sound editors constantly present: myself managing the FX/Ambience/Foley PT, dialogue supervisor handling Dialogue/ADR/loopgroup/crowds PT and the music editor managing the score/source music PT...
- Make sure all data is being backed up every night
- Make sure all sessions have picture cut version number in their filename
- Don't let yourself get too tired during the mix - it is intense focused work
- Be selfless & be prepared to sacrifice your best work for the sake of the film
- No one can ever predict context 100%, so be prepared for some surprises
- Have fun! Its as good as it gets - you are present the first time the director gets to see & hear their film come together! They may well have spent the last ten years of their life making that film - it is truely magic to experience!
Also see my comment re fixes in final mix here: http://socialsounddesign.com/questions/961/fixes-during-the-mix-how-to-go-about-it