Dealing With Mono Mic and VTR Tracks

Sports productions and some entertainment events often employ single shotgun effects mics mounted on portable ENG style cameras or fixed cameras.

But how does someone incorporate this mono feed into a 5.1 mix?

Sports audio mixer Fred Aldous uses synthesized stereo for these types of mono mic feeds. Usually considered an anathema to surround sound mixing, stereo synthesizers--when creatively and properly used--can successfully produce a fuller sound field.

Aldous's objective is to create space. After all, that's what surround sound is all about. He's careful in adjusting the width control, making sure that the synthesized stereo signal isn't so wide that it starts appearing in the surround channels of consumer decoders.

For mono VTR tracks, Aldous does a pre-mix, leaving the dialog mono to the center channel of the mix. He synthesizes the music bed/EFX to the left and right and also to bleed into the surround channels of a matrix surround system.

These may be considered more advanced 5.1 mixing techniques to some. So, as with any audio processing used in a surround sound mix, take the time to experiment and make extensive listening tests before using them in an actual production.