Most professional NLEs (Non-linear editing software) provide basic audio controls. To a certain extent, you can edit and mix audio with these tools.
If your productions include event videography or live coverage, etc., you might not need anything else because there’s very little you can do for the audio anyway – once it has been recorded. On a non-linear production, where audio and visuals come from different places, and there is room for creativity, a specialized audio editing tool is mandatory.
Traditionally, sound editing and mixing is done by audio professionals working in their own domains. Sometimes though, one might not have the budget for specialized recording or mixing studios, but still has to deliver professional audio quality.
NLEs aren’t geared for this. What you need is a software DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). It’s just a fancy word for audio editing and mixing program. Such a program allows you the freedom to bring in many kinds of audio, record voice overs and effects, and even interface with different audio tools (preamps, microphones, sound cards, studio monitors, etc.) for total control.
All said and done, these programs will help you mix all your tracks into a mono, stereo or surround mix for delivery. If you have set up your studio right (for audio), and have the necessary skills, there’s no reason why your audio should sound unprofessional.
Here are my recommendations:
Steinberg Nuendo 6
was the software used to edit and mix The Impossible Murder. It is top-end, capable of handling Hollywood-level sound without breaking sweat.
Avid Pro Tools 11
is the industry standard, bar none. You’ll find many people trashing this software for music production, but when it comes to editing and mixing audio for video and film, it is in a league of its own. Earlier, it used to be a purely Mac-based platform, but now you can use it on Windows as well.
This is open source software that has proven itself many times over. If you can’t afford the first two, or something proprietary like Adobe Audition or Sony Sound Forge, then this tool will do it all.
Do you record, edit and mix your own audio? How do you go about it?