does anyone here do soundtrack work?

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C_R_J
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does anyone here do soundtrack work?

Post by C_R_J » Sat Apr 25, 2015 4:05 pm

hey hey. i just recently started working on doing the soundtrack for a local low budget horror film. was curious if anyone else here does stuff of this sort. i have questions. ha.

im mostly curious about how everyone does what they do. not really the gear or anything, but like i guess how they approach writing, and how they work with the movie dudes. do i just give him a bunch of shit and call it a day, or should i be involved more? kind of vague questions i know. i guess i just dont wanna step on any toes. new area for me.
time is money and im wasting both...

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Post by kslight » Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:22 pm

You might get more responses on the appropriate Gearslutz sub forum.

I unfortunately only have vague answers to your vague questions? When I write for a scene I'm looking for something that matches the feel, creates tension if its appropriate, falls back when needed, etc.. Always in communication with the director, bouncing ideas..

Not really sure what you mean by "giving him a bunch of a shit," do you mean just handing them a bunch of random pieces and expecting them to just attach them to random scenes as they see fit? If that's what you mean, yeah you probably want to be involved more.

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Post by C_R_J » Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:32 pm

i hate gearslutz for some reason. not policed for douchebags like here is. but ill check it out.

im gonna drill him more on how he works. im setting everything up i work on so revisions are easy. i guess we will see how it goes. he works fast, so, yeah. just winging it. ill keep you posted here and there. thanks for everyones time
time is money and im wasting both...

kslight
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Post by kslight » Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:39 pm

Yeah I gave up on GS but there's just a lot more people doing this kind of work...for example Charlie Clouser hangs around there...

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Post by C_R_J » Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:42 pm

nice! i met charlie once. a real nice dude.

ill poke around there. it looks like everyone just talks about strings and shit. barf. boring. ha! jk
time is money and im wasting both...

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Post by jhharvest » Sat Apr 25, 2015 7:07 pm

I do mixing for indie films so I've worked with a few composers. Usually what I have to ask for separately is stems so I can do a surround mix. Maybe ask ahead if they are expecting to do a surround mix or not.

Is there a sound designer working on the film or is it just the director? Either way, you should have enough discussions with them so you know what they want to do. I often get a two track of the whole score from the composer that's their idea of what they think the score should be accomplishing. I use that as a reference for placing the actual tracks on the timeline. The two track is good for the director as well, so they can check that the pieces fit their vision of the film as a whole. But of course that can't be your final deliverable.

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Post by C_R_J » Sat Apr 25, 2015 7:43 pm

i think at this point, i convinced him to do what he wants with what i sent him, and he is going to take notes, and we can go from there. he digs what i made today, so that is good.

video files are huge. ugh.
time is money and im wasting both...

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Post by jhharvest » Sun Apr 26, 2015 3:28 am

Yeah, sounds good. And think of it this way: the video files they send you are tiny compared to what the editor or colourist work with. :D

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Post by tjcasey1 » Sun Apr 26, 2015 4:58 am

Leave your work as editable and as repeatable as possible - the guy will change a scene and suddenly your music will be too short or too long.

If it's just a matter of adjusting the tempo or adding a bar and all the elements are still in place, you won't tear your hair out every time this happens. And it will happen a lot, unless you're working with Alfred Hitchcock.

And stick with 48kHz, 24 bit, 29.97 drop frame.

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Post by C_R_J » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:09 am

im doing this project in ableton, so stretching and warping things is pretty easy.

"And stick with 48kHz, 24 bit, 29.97 drop frame"

i am strictly audio at this point. not sure what he is going to give me as far a first draft or anything. i have always recorded 44100 24 bit. should i do this different if im just doing audio files?
time is money and im wasting both...

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I'm Painting Again
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Post by I'm Painting Again » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:33 am

learn to be a fan of horror music soundtracks..watch the classic Italian stuff, Carpenter, etc.

talk to people who are really into it and listen to them..

watch berberian sound studio

I wish I was working on horror movie soundtracks rn

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Post by jhharvest » Sun Apr 26, 2015 4:16 pm

C_R_J wrote:"And stick with 48kHz, 24 bit, 29.97 drop frame"

i am strictly audio at this point. not sure what he is going to give me as far a first draft or anything. i have always recorded 44100 24 bit. should i do this different if im just doing audio files?
Yeah, pretty much all video work is 48kHz. I'd recommend using that if you are working with film people.

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tjcasey1
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Post by tjcasey1 » Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:25 pm

...and if there's a frame rate setting in your DAW, set it to 29.97 drop frame. Otherwise things may not stay in sync when you give him the files.

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Post by DrummerMan » Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:47 pm

Hey there!
Scoring is pretty much what I do most of the time. I'm no big name or anything but I'm happy to answer things as best I can. There are some knowledgeable and nice folks at the GS Music for picture subforum but it can get a little overrun with the same questions being asked about how to get into music libraries, and a bunch of posts by more experienced people either talking about how terrible money/representaion is or the various ways in which YOU will never make it :cry: ...

Anyway, yes to recording at 48k, because that's what video sound plays at. Truthfully, editors take 44.1 music tracks and convert them to 48 every single day (as in, every song released by a band that goes on a soundtrack), so it's not the end of the world if you forget every now and then (I do), but you can run the risk of things getting screwed up in conversion and not lining up right.

The framerate setting is so that when you load a scene that they sent you into your DAW, it'll play that at the proper framerate so that, again, the timing of your track continues to line up with their video the way you intended when you send them music. In Logic, the setting is in the synchronization settings. Don't know where it would be in Ableton. Ask the director/editor what the framerate is because that's not always a standard thing, and then check it yourself (I believe it's command-I in quicktime). I've had more than one editor tell me insistently that the framerate is 30, only to find out that it's 30 "drop" or 29.97. It does make a difference.


For the actual writing...

There's a difference in whether you're talking about soundtrack or scoring. "Scoring" is writing music cues specifically for a scene and "soundtrack" is usually taking music that already exists and putting it into a scene, or editing a scene from the get go to fit the shape and beats of a preexisting piece of music. Now, the is plenty of stuff that is somewhere in the middle, like writing a song from scratch for a scene, but one that sounds like something from a band's album. Or, as it sound like you may be doing, you can write a bunch of music based on some general concepts before ever seeing video and they can use those as they're putting the edit together. I'm working on a project now where one of the first demos I wrote when I first read the script (before filming even began) has become the main theme of the movie, and certain scenes are just using that version as it is.


For scoring work, you generally have one or more "spotting sessions" with the director (and music supervisor and music editor if there are those positions, which often in low budget stuff there aren't). If you don't know what a spotting session is, google it. It's basically going over the movie with the creative powers that be, but there's lots of info out there about different ways of going about it.

After that, you should have a pretty good idea of what the musical vision is for the film and what's expected from you.

Unless the director is the editor and has easy access to the editing tools of the movie, you should send them video with your musical demos embedded in it. For the most part, they won't be able to imagine how it will interact with the scene unless it's perfectly cued up for them.

Expect to get notes back saying what they did and didn't like. Don't be offended by the negative comments (or keep it to yourself buried way WAY down deep inside). Multiple revisions are normal and should be expected. Honestly, sometimes I get frustrated when directors don't like something that I thought was perfect/original/brilliant/next-level, but when I really listen to what the director's saying and try and get at the meat of their idea, what I come up with as a solution in the end is almost always WAY better and more original than what I first thought of.

Hopefully my rambling was informative in some way. Good luck!
Geoff Mann
composer | drummer | Los Angeles, CA

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Post by C_R_J » Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:14 pm

I'm Painting Again wrote:learn to be a fan of horror music soundtracks..watch the classic Italian stuff, Carpenter, etc.

talk to people who are really into it and listen to them..

watch berberian sound studio

I wish I was working on horror movie soundtracks rn
i love horror movies. no homework needed :)
time is money and im wasting both...

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