Originally Posted by georgia
Question: Would post sound mixers prefer to have premaster (Music) mixes that have not been maximized in level, or post mastering house mixes that have been prepared for distribution?
Music for film , IMHO, should not be "mastered" to an inch of its life. I like my music materials to come in around -12 or so. Frankly, it really doesn't matter too much as long as its not completely crushed up to 0. Also, There are normally 4 types of music in film, non-digetic score, non-Digetic songs, and Digetic songs and Digetic score. Digetic score doesn't happen often but it does once in a while. Each has its' own place in the film and each has its own issues. So, the short answer is I prefer non mastered material.
Here's some more detail on why I want unmastered material and how I like to receive it prior to re-recording.
For a song, digetic or not, I prefer to get the material delivered in both an instrumental version and a full version with vocals. With these to I can edit between them to assure that music vocals does not interfere with dialogue.
I can lay both tracks into the mix and edit between them, such that I can maintain the emotional level of the music under ( or over) the dialogue and not get into a fighting match. Frankly I normally end up editing songs extensively in a mix to get everything right where I and/or the director want it.
Score is a bit different. I prefer, for a lot of the same reasons to get the completed score in 5.1 delivered as a single stem. In addition to the 5.1 Music Score stem, I want the score delivered as additional 5.1 stems with each "section" of the orchestra (or band) split. IE: Strings, Horns, percussion, Reeds, lead Instrumentation, all on different 5.1 stems such that, when combines at unity gain, they create the full 5.1 stem. This way the director and I have a little wiggle room to manipulate the score into the film with a bit more control of everything, other than just overall volume and EQ. This approach lets me "place" sections where I want in space, level, depth, etc... and I always have the full "mixed" 5.1 score available for the majority of the project. It also allows me more control when cutting up the score where necessary.
it's not that much more work for the composer's engineer, they just have to mute sections and run the prints of the music for me.
More work for me, but makes me happier to really integrate the score into the overall sound design.
Thank you for you kind response.
My question deals specifically with artist song placement in film and television. The manner in which the song is presented within the context of the visual media is not of concern. But I appreciate your overview of the categories music falls under in postproduction for those who are unaware. :-)