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Why is the score always so intrusive?
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neilwilkes
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#1
15th January 2013
Old 15th January 2013
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Why is the score always so intrusive?

This is something that seems to be turning into a bigger problem as each year passes and it is in 2 parts.
1 - Why oh why do mixers put the score up so LOUD all the time? It is getting worse too - and is now at the point where I cannot watch most new series on TV or new films because of the ridiculously loud music track that is there from the start and is utterly relentless all the way through?
A classic example is that Spielberg series "Terra Nova", which we tried to watch the first episode of the other night and turned off after 15 minutes of straining to hear anything except the constant "bash, bash, bash" of the same tired sampled boomy reverb laden drums all the time.....appalling. It was absolutely impossible to hear what anyone was saying as it was literally drowned out. Stupid.

2 - Why does the score have to be omnipresent these days too? It seems to me that with very few exceptions, not a feature gets released that does not have almost every minute of the film accompanied by a needless & intrusive score that is, I suppose, trying to tell me how I ought to react to any scene. It drives me nuts, frankly. Whatever happened to SFX and foley? I do not need the same cheesy sounding crap in everything - tense scene? Let's get those stabby violins out. Sad scene? better load up the poignant piano, or the solo violin then.

It's got so bad now that things have reached the point where I will simply turn off rather than tolerate this any longer, and I know I am not the only one - so why is it done?
What would be a really interesting exercise on a BD release would be to have 2 versions of the sound track - one with the score & the other one without it. I know what version would get played by just about everyone I know.
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#2
15th January 2013
Old 15th January 2013
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It's like an addictive drug: you start with a little, but soon that won't be enough to deliver that same rush. So you do a bit more...

Note the difference between shows mixed for "public broadcasters" and commercial ones. Here in Holland I'll bet that in most shows on commercial networks, the music is 3/5 dB hotter under spoken word compared to the public broadcasters. Combine this with very very compressed VO's ( yes, also in the R128 era) and you get to the point where I honestly don't understand how you could mix a show like that: the sheer "in your face-ness" must be so exhausting. If I had to do that, i would be on my avantones 95% of the mixtime.
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15th January 2013
Old 15th January 2013
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I think the directors and producers and using music to make the audience feel emotion instead of what the show should use, story. The absence of a good plot or writing can be masked by music and it is getting worse all the time. I miss the day when a tv show actually brought something to the table besides bash bash bash
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15th January 2013
Old 15th January 2013
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2 large factors: 1) temp music and 2) budgets.

re: temp music; more often than not obscure underscore scenes are not chosen as temp - it is the memorable cues that were originally the climax of some other score. So you get no arc - every cue is based on temp that was the most exciting cue of its film, or that is the tendency in general.

re: budget, drums can be done well with samples. combined with the epic temp score . . . you get epic drums.
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15th January 2013
Old 15th January 2013
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Don't blame the mixers.
It's not their final decision.
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15th January 2013
Old 15th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
Don't blame the mixers.
It's not their final decision.
This.

I have had to mix scores at much higher levels than what I think is appropriate, but at the end of the day, its not my final call. I respectfully say something about the levels, but they want what they want.
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15th January 2013
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Also, I know they guys who mix Terra Nova. And had to do two separate mixes. One that was in spec. And one that was loud, for DVD.
Guess who's call that was.
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15th January 2013
Old 15th January 2013
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I mix mostly for tv. I agree that there is generally too much music in both TV drama and feature films. I know most TV composers won't admit it but I suspect one of the the reason the score is so omnipresent these days is "music Royalties". The more music in a show the bigger the pay check. I miss the power of silence, you know, those little 2 or 3 seconds gaps between the music...
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#9
16th January 2013
Old 16th January 2013
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I have found that its network execs who want to stuff a show full of music, not the composer.
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16th January 2013
Old 16th January 2013
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Yeah, I don't think us composers GENERALLY are pushing to use too much music, or to make it too loud (at least not in my circle of friends, which honestly doesn't include a lot of people doing well known stuff, including myself). I know that I almost always am advocating for as little music as possible, but that can be a hard fight with directors and/or producers who are trying to make up for something they didn't feel they were able to achieve on their own.

It also seems to be very in style these days to make everything both epic/anthemic/huge as well as very personal and up close at the same time, which can be a dangerous combination. It's the "soundtrack of the life I wish I had" syndrome (I tend to see this in the poppy-er soundtrack stuff but that influences what most everybody else is doing as well because it's what producers seem to want). Obviously bands and musicians and composers have picked up on this and can get a bit carried away.

All that being said, there is a problem with many inexperienced composers who don't really understand about writing out of the way (register and dynamics-wise) of the dialog and SFX (if we're lucky enough to ever get SFX in the cut we're working with). OR...some of us don't mix that well ourselves, OR...there's not enough of a budget to hire a good mixer, OR...

Anyway, lots if possible causes contributing to your woes.
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17th January 2013
Old 17th January 2013
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Exactly - if you're writing stereo score for TV for pity's sake leave a hole for the dialogue. Any compression you then slam that mix into is going to make keeping that hole open that much harder.
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17th January 2013
Old 17th January 2013
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In my opinion directors and producer wants more audience towards his movie.So they use emotional music tracks to attrack.......
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17th January 2013
Old 17th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilwilkes View Post
A classic example is that Spielberg series "Terra Nova", which we tried to watch the first episode of the other night and turned off after 15 minutes of straining to hear anything except the constant "bash, bash, bash" of the same tired sampled boomy reverb laden drums all the time.....appalling. It was absolutely impossible to hear what anyone was saying as it was literally drowned out. Stupid.
I just checked the first 15 minutes of episode one of Terra Nova. Even though the music is quite present (and relentless) I understood every line of dialogue without any difficulty whatsoever. Not that what I heard or saw compelled me to watch any further...

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17th January 2013
Old 17th January 2013
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It might also have something to do with how trailers and promos are mixed. The audience is expecting the trailer/promo to represent the film or tv show, and when it doesn't - they don't watch or buy a ticket. It's Art vs. Business dukeing it out, again...
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17th January 2013
Old 17th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReaperUser View Post
I'm really starting to hate the big epic drum driving scores
You are not the only one
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