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How loud are movie scores?
Old 2nd February 2007
  #31
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lefthando's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garret View Post
Dynamics Dynamics Dynamics! There is nothing worse than recieving music with a waveform that looks like the new chilli peppers cd! If its a quiet scene have the music quiet (-20 to -30dDFS) If its the big car chase have it loud (up to 0bDFS if you like). Mix the music like you would want to hear it on screen. I get stuff from a composer with such great dynamics i hardly have to touch the fader because he reads the scenes so well he knows how loud and quiet to mix the music.
Furthermore, when the music is squashed like that, the dubber's moves on the music fader will be more obvious, making it challenging to ride the music smoothly. Most mixers like to make the music moves be unnoticable to the veiwer.
Old 10th February 2007
  #32
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hey guys- i'm mixng on a LE system- and when i set my playback with digi's pink noise at -20dB and my SPL meter says 79.. this might sound dumb- but

my meters (bomb factory- i set my meter calibration at -20 right?
..what about my master fader in pro tools? do i leave that at zero?

when i blast the pink noise- you can see its WAY lower than anything i bring into pro tools- music etc.

does that mean my tracks are way to hot?

my SPL says 85dB when i bring an audio track in..

my main question is- when mixing like this- do i always want me SPL to hang out around 80?

i'm not sure i understand whats going on here- can someone please clear it up?
Old 10th February 2007
  #33
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Quote:
my meters (bomb factory- i set my meter calibration at -20 right?
..what about my master fader in pro tools? do i leave that at zero?
First, don't use the BF Essestially Useless Meter. It's inaccurate and the needle is...well...useless. Download the Roger Nichols Inspector for free HERE. Next, yes, leave your master fader at unity (0dB).

Quote:
when i blast the pink noise- you can see its WAY lower than anything i bring into pro tools- music etc.

does that mean my tracks are way to hot?

my SPL says 85dB when i bring an audio track in..
If you're talking about importing music, then, yeah it will generally be mastered as close to 0dbFS as possible so it will blast out of a post-calibrated system. Think of it like this, if -20dbFS equals 79 SPL, then a piece of music mastered to ~ 0dbFS will equal ~ 99 SPL. Ouch!

Quote:
my main question is- when mixing like this- do i always want me SPL to hang out around 80?
I don't think I understand your question. Once your system is calibrated, throw the SPL meter in the drawer. You might feel comfortable relying on your meters to guide you, but one of the main advantages of mixing on a calibrated system is that you can just use your ears and mix to taste. Your monitors are always set at the same level so you get used to how things are meant to sound. Mix your dialogue to a comfortable speaking volume as if you're in the room with the characters, then make your music, FX, and foley work with the dialogue.

Not sure I answered your question or not, but I hope this helps.
Old 10th February 2007
  #34
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awesome- that cleared alot up..

however- when calibrating the system..

does this mean that -20dB is "0"

and if my meters are hitting 0 does this mean they are at 79dB or 99dB???

i always was unsure of that.


thanks for the free meters! much appriciated!
Old 10th February 2007
  #35
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minister's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by xmostynx View Post
awesome- that cleared alot up..

however- when calibrating the system..

does this mean that -20dB is "0"

and if my meters are hitting 0 does this mean they are at 79dB or 99dB???
it is good practice to start using the symbols with the decibel levels that refer to what they are relative to.

-20dBFS = 0 VU.

so when you ask "my meters are hitting 0"...0 dBFS or 0VU?

what this all means is that a signal -20dBFS will generate 79SPL (depending on the content) in the room. a signal close to 0dBFS will indeed be 20 decibels louder! and generate a signal at 99SPL !! which is LOUD!

once you set your room up like this, for post, it is set it and forget it. and then use your ears.

if you want to mix music at 80 SPL (because of the relatively flat reception of our ears at that level) then you need to adjust your monitor level (maybe down 20 dBr) so that you can mix at a hotter electrical (FULL SCALE) level. for music mixing : mix too loud and you end up making it too dark; mix too quietly and you make it too bright. but you don't need to mix at a calibrated level to get good results in music.
Old 10th February 2007
  #36
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allright- so say i'm mixing a band and i generate pink noise as -20dB. set my monitors for about 85dB.

this would mean -20dB = 85dB

right?

(i know this is post production- but i'm in school so i'm doing both)

so... when my meters in pro tools. VU meters.. when they hit 0, that means i'm 20dB louder than 85dB...understand that..

however...if i'm calibrating for a mixing session- do i want to calibrate at pink noise at 0 OR -20dB....

same goes with alot of things- tv...do i calibrate for 0 -10 -20 ??

...maybe this will help. when my meters on my master fader in pro tools hit 0 after i generate pink noise at -20db and adjust my monitors to reach 80dB... ughh i'm lost
Old 10th February 2007
  #37
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minister's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by xmostynx View Post
so... when my meters in pro tools. VU meters.. when they hit 0, that means i'm 20dB louder than 85dB...understand that..
VU meters in Pro Tools? your Pro Tools meters are digital Peak Meters.

Quote:
however...if i'm calibrating for a mixing session- do i want to calibrate at pink noise at 0 OR -20dB....
0 relative to what?? see why it is important to use the terms? music or post? btw, never calibrate anything to 0dBFS.

for music recording or mixing it does not matter...there are no standards. but for recording, to optimize gain path, you may want to calibrate -18 or -16 or -14dBFS to 0 VU for interfacing with mic pre's and mixing consoles.

Quote:
same goes with alot of things- tv...do i calibrate for 0 -10 -20 ??
-20dBFS = 0 VU for TV.

...
Quote:
maybe this will help. when my meters on my master fader in pro tools hit 0 after i generate pink noise at -20db and adjust my monitors to reach 80dB... ughh i'm lost
it is quite simple, really. if a signal is at -20dBFS on your PT meters, then it will be 79 SPL in the room. when the signal gets to 0dBFS it will be 99 SPL in the room. if you calibrate that way, and you want to mix music, and your music is hitting close to 0 dBFS in PT, then you will want to teka your monitor contoller knob (monitor volume) on your desk, controller, whatever and...turn it down so you are not listening to music at 105 SPL !

how do you have PT connected to your studio monitors? from the I/O (002, Mbox, 192...) directly to the speakers? or is there a monitor contoller in between?
Old 10th February 2007
  #38
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sorry i was using the BF meters..thought they were VU?

no monitor control between the MBOX and Yamaha HR-50's..

i just use the input/playback knob on the mbox.

i guess what i'm not understanding is when i use signal generator to give me -20dB of pink noise- my meters don't come up CLOSE to 0dB in pro tools..

they hang out way down- where -20dB would be...is this correct? its kinda making me think i'm mixing REAL REAL low.

-14BFS (whats that) BFS..

maybe i should be thinking like this- if i generate pink noise at -14dB and i set that at 80dB... then 0dB is going to be around 94dB???

so it my music is hitting 0dB my SPL meter should say 94dB..

i hope i'm not pissing you off..i'm just trying to understand this
Old 10th February 2007
  #39
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minister's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by xmostynx View Post

i just use the input/playback knob on the mbox.
that's cool. i understand......i am guessing that you are poor, but eventually, you should get some kind of monitor controller between your Mbox and your Yammies. like the SPL brand controller, or the Mackie Big Knob...or the Grace ... er sumpin'...but for now, use your playback knob on your Mbox. maybe mark the 79 SPL spot with a piece of tape.

Quote:
i guess what i'm not understanding is when i use signal generator to give me -20dB of pink noise- my meters don't come up CLOSE to 0dB in pro tools..
when i mix Film and TV, i don't get close to 0dB either. only occasionally. once your room is calibrated for a TV or film mix, you forget the meters and use your ears.

Quote:
they hang out way down- where -20dB would be...is this correct? its kinda making me think i'm mixing REAL REAL low.
well, in a Theater which is (supposed to be) -20dBFS= 85 SPL in the room...it AIN'T so low!!

Quote:
-14BFS (whats that) BFS..
decibel FULL SCALE

Quote:
maybe i should be thinking like this- if i generate pink noise at -14dB and i set that at 80dB... then 0dB is going to be around 94dB???
YUP.

for music mixing, i just adjust my monitor level to a comfortable one and mix. UNLESS i am mixing music that will end up in a TV program or a FILM. THEN i mix to a calibrated level.
Old 10th February 2007
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minister View Post
that's cool. i understand......i am guessing that you are poor, but eventually,

haha you can say that again!

thanks alot for the help..i've been working on my room (just made and installed 9 6" bass traps) now i'm off to make a cloud- and i'm trying to get this room (my appartment bedroom) as good as possible

so its been a crash course in room acoustics, and calibration-

thanks alot for the help tho man. i have an orientation video i got hired (by my school) to mix and produce the soundtrack- i want to hand them something quality thanks alot!
Old 11th February 2007
  #41
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If you want to calibrate your room, go here:
http://duc.digidesign.com/showflat.p...fpart=all&vc=1


It's a "Room Calibration for Film and TV" that I wrote.
Read it, learn it, use it!
On a side note, you need good calibrated meters and you DON'T
need to mix at 85 in an apartment!!!
Old 11th February 2007
  #42
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minister's Avatar
thanks doc.

we were suggesting 79 and not 85.
Old 11th February 2007
  #43
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xmostynx's Avatar
 

thanks for all the help guys!
Old 17th February 2007
  #44
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Excerpt from a Keyboard magazine interview with two composers who score for Nickelodeon. Thought it was a fitting anecdote for this thread.

Tip No. 7
Mix like a Master

“For the first two episodes, we used the Waves L2 mastering plug-ins on everything. We got all these great comments from the dubbing stage, such as ‘My God, your mixes are perfect.’ But then we realized that the way we had configured the L2 plug, it wasn’t actually processing anything at all! So after all, it turns out that when there are so many different tracks the dubbing stage has to worry about, if everything is compressed, tracks are going to have to be turned down. Because our tracks aren’t compressed and there’s a lot of breathing room, the guys on the dubbing stage are able to turn up our tracks louder against the other tracks, and it won’t fight the dialogue. We spend a lot of time mixing with the dialogue on. That way we know where our music can come in and out. If we were working blind and we didn’t know what the dialogue was doing, then it’d be a problem. Emilio will turn the music and the dialogue down to a very low listening level, so that he can make sure that the right things speak and the right things are a little low. There is no other limiting or compressing.”
Old 17th February 2007
  #45
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Xmostynk, if you want to use VU meters, try the free one from PSP. I prefer that one. I also second the recommendation for Inspector. I think Inspector XL is great if you want even more information about what your audio signal is doing. And of course, hardware meters like Dorroughs and others are great too, although expensive.

Check out Bob Katz book Mastering Audio, lots of useful info in there.

Steve
Old 17th February 2007
  #46
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RE music for TV shows: almost all the music tracks I get are mixed to stereo by the composer. They don't (or they BETTER NOT) do any obvious dips for dialog etc--that's my job. How well their music works w/ the rest of the track has a lot more to do with their compositional chops than it does with any sort of limiting or compression. Good TV composers know how to make music that stays out of the way of problematic dialog (which they can hear in their dub) without dissappearing and can see when they can get away with a big flourish. Their work helps glue together the whole track, and I find that the better the composer, the less I have to ride their tracks up and down once I find a "working " level overall.

Philip Perkins
Old 17th February 2007
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
Good TV composers know how to make music that stays out of the way of problematic dialog (which they can hear in their dub) without dissappearing and can see when they can get away with a big flourish. Their work helps glue together the whole track, and I find that the better the composer, the less I have to ride their tracks up and down once I find a "working " level overall.

Philip Perkins

Absolutely. We mixed an MOW last week, and the composer, Stu Goldberg, delivered a stereo mix, and I barely moved the music faders once, after I had set the nominal level. Everythig was scored correctly around the dialogue and actiion.
Instead of putting a big orchestra blast on a gunshot or hit, he stayed away and let the SFX do their job.
It really was great, and the mix was perfect as well.
Too often we get stuff where the composer has everthing going fullscale on a big impact moment, along with all the SFX and dialogue.
Old 17th February 2007
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
Too often we get stuff where the composer has everthing going fullscale on a big impact moment, along with all the SFX and dialogue.
That's because, too often, that's what the director wants - the composer knows it's wrong, but some fights are not worth fighting.

Ed
Old 18th February 2007
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
That's because, too often, that's what the director wants - the composer knows it's wrong, but some fights are not worth fighting.

Ed
Actually, a good composer scares around it. A good way is to have the big music hit just AFTER the shot/impact.
Old 18th February 2007
  #50
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You guys into audio or really here selling convertibles?
Old 18th February 2007
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzpunk View Post
You guys into audio or really here selling convertibles?
Buying convertibles.

Why?
Old 18th February 2007
  #52
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minister's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzpunk View Post
You guys into audio or really here selling convertibles?
yo, hangup your hangups.
Attached Images
How loud are movie scores?-mr-funk.jpg 
Old 18th February 2007
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
Buying convertibles.

Why?
look at your Avatars, man!

i DO agree with you that a composer SHOULD be delievering well contoured and compsoed music to work with the edits and the dialogue. it should also be mixed in a calibrated room so that the mixer just has to touch the faders here and there. and the *music stems* (different than Charles' thread) should make sense and give the mixer ultimate flixibility.
Old 18th February 2007
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minister View Post
yo, hangup your hangups.
Old 19th February 2007
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
Actually, a good composer scares around it. A good way is to have the big music hit just AFTER the shot/impact.
The concept of the 'beat' can't be stressed enough. I remember Michael Kamen saying that if you look at his stuff for the die hard movies, every cue that starts AFTER a big thing eg gunshot explosion etc., starts on the second beat of the bar, he lined up the downbeat with the event and then started the music (in tempo) 1 or 2 beats later. Works well, and avoids the kind of telegraphed music where it's so fricking obvious the cue just came in...somehow starting on the off beat and building into the phrase is so much more stylish.

Funnily enough, the same exact concepts apply to comedy. And most things in fact.

There are exceptions (eg tony scott movies).
Old 19th February 2007
  #56
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IN some ways you can't generalise on this. I've worked on too many films where the dialogue was temp, rough as hell, adr was still going on, fx were rough...and on big fx movies you can get eaten alive sometimes by this. 'it worked with my tracks' doesn't cut it. That said I largely agree.
It depends on the movie though, there are some shows where the mixers have to really work the music fader, but hopefully, internally they barely have to look at the stems - and that's generally when a mixer who isn't the composer has done it, I find, but working with the composer. I tried mixing some of my own stuff and it wasn't half as good as the stuff others have mixed for me. It's a symbiotic thing that also recognizes that it's very hard to truly listen to the mix when you wrote the piece of music...almost impossible, in fact. And especially on the more epic movies where the cues sometimes are hugely wide - have been on one show where we had 13 seperate 5.0 or 5.1 stems in some larger cues...sixty or seventy tracks of music, because that's what the director liked doing - screwing with the music.



Quote:
Originally Posted by minister View Post
look at your Avatars, man!

i DO agree with you that a composer SHOULD be delievering well contoured and compsoed music to work with the edits and the dialogue. it should also be mixed in a calibrated room so that the mixer just has to touch the faders here and there. and the *music stems* (different than Charles' thread) should make sense and give the mixer ultimate flixibility.
Old 19th February 2007
  #57
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minister's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by londontown View Post
IN some ways you can't generalise on this. I've worked on too many films where the dialogue was temp, rough as hell, adr was still going on, fx were rough...and on big fx movies you can get eaten alive sometimes by this. 'it worked with my tracks' doesn't cut it.
we agree...your points certainly add to the discussion. i never would suggest it goes to the stage perfect, because the guide track is as you said. but, you certainly know where the dialogue is and where it should be bigger.

it is interesting what you say about mixing your own stuff. i do it all the time, but when i don't, i send my realtive levels in the music pre-mix stems becasue, it is as you described above.
Old 20th February 2007
  #58
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A good Composer knows that Dialog owns the center speaker. When there's no dialog, have at it. Also the frequencies of the music should not be competing with the dialog such as horns when they are whispering, and lead Guitar when they are talking.
You get the idea. There are plenty of speakers to go around!heh
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