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Nightmare with reverb!
Old 29th August 2019
  #1
Gear Addict
 

Nightmare with reverb!

Hi all,

So... I'm completing a score for a show produced by a large network.
It is my first big job as a composer so I accept I'm learning and don't have experience in this specific field.

Having said that have been working in studios producing, recording, mixing and mastering when necessary for the last 22 years.
Many tracks I have produced, mixed and mastered have been licensed and used - as they are- in huge well known shows and a few movies.
I have worked with many engineers in all types of studios large and small and I have never, ever ever experienced something like this:

The dubbing mixer (re-recording mixer) is putting reverb EVERYWHERE.
On final mixes, on separate stems, on bass heavy material, on stuff already full of reverb. Every single thing me and the surround mixing engineer has done has been drowned in "warm hall" or "concert hall" with 2.2 ms to probably 3 ms type reverb.

I am also talking about points of the score where there is only music. So there is no dialogue or particoular sound effect or foley to bring forward.
This is an important point IMO.

The funny thing is that there are a couple of tracks I have mixed and masterd which have been licensed to the show (not part of the score but stuff that has been already released) and those are being left alone (and obviously sound 100 times better then all the rest)

Unfortunately I'm not in a "political" position to say much. I have saved from total destruction a couple of tracks where a concert hall program has been put on the master of a track with fast percussion ,deep bass and fast changing chords. I had to be really firm and try to explain myself but it was a hard clash and wasn't a nice experience.

Also I noticed they sometimes use sound fx which have very very defined notes that often clash with the music. I had a hard time explaining them that the "cave sound" they put is actually a low noted pad which is a semitone away from the pad I use on that particular cue and therefore is a problem.

Is this normal or did I just work with a butcher?? Every single cue sounds worse. No doubts about it.

Does anyone here have any insights about the matter and how to deal with it please? I would love to hear.

Thanks !!
Old 29th August 2019
  #2
I have no insights or advise, but I just read that and thought: Ugh!

I'm sorry that's happening. It does sound like you're thinking clearly about things.
Old 29th August 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Options:

1) Voice objection strongly with powers-that-be
2) Quietly put concerns on the record to CYA (cover your ass)
3) Not my circus, not my monkeys, collect paycheck
Old 29th August 2019
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioloud View Post
Hi all,

So... I'm completing a score for a show produced by a large network.
It is my first big job as a composer so I accept I'm learning and don't have experience in this specific field.

Having said that have been working in studios producing, recording, mixing and mastering when necessary for the last 22 years.
Many tracks I have produced, mixed and mastered have been licensed and used - as they are- in huge well known shows and a few movies.
I have worked with many engineers in all types of studios large and small and I have never, ever ever experienced something like this:

The dubbing mixer (re-recording mixer) is putting reverb EVERYWHERE.
On final mixes, on separate stems, on bass heavy material, on stuff already full of reverb. Every single thing me and the surround mixing engineer has done has been drowned in "warm hall" or "concert hall" with 2.2 ms to probably 3 ms type reverb.

I am also talking about points of the score where there is only music. So there is no dialogue or particoular sound effect or foley to bring forward.
This is an important point IMO.

The funny thing is that there are a couple of tracks I have mixed and masterd which have been licensed to the show (not part of the score but stuff that has been already released) and those are being left alone (and obviously sound 100 times better then all the rest)

Unfortunately I'm not in a "political" position to say much. I have saved from total destruction a couple of tracks where a concert hall program has been put on the master of a track with fast percussion ,deep bass and fast changing chords. I had to be really firm and try to explain myself but it was a hard clash and wasn't a nice experience.

Also I noticed they sometimes use sound fx which have very very defined notes that often clash with the music. I had a hard time explaining them that the "cave sound" they put is actually a low noted pad which is a semitone away from the pad I use on that particular cue and therefore is a problem.

Is this normal or did I just work with a butcher?? Every single cue sounds worse. No doubts about it.

Does anyone here have any insights about the matter and how to deal with it please? I would love to hear.

Thanks !!
Writing and mixing score is a completely different animal than producing songs for licensing in TV and film.... completely different.

I mix the scores for 3 TV shows right now, I produce music for music licensing (I've done about 700+ albums), and I have worked with a lot of artists/labels in the past and I've been the re-recording mixer for films and TV shows in the past.

There are reasons they have to put reverb on the score. There are reasons you should never put too much reverb on the score when you are mixing it. If the mixer isn't putting verb on the score, then it brings the score forward to the forefront more and can (and will) fight dialogue more. Also the mixer has to constantly ride the music up and down around dialogue and sound effect... if the only verb is the verb you printed, then that verb gets ridden up and down as well and sound EXTREMELY unsettling and unnatural. Sending the score to verb helps make the drastic volume changes they are doing less obtuse because the ring of the verb smooths out the volume changes. Next time, don't put so much verb on your score!!!

You have to understand that music is NOT the most important thing. making a fuss about how the score is mixed is like the percussionist making a fuss about how his cowbell and shakers are mixed in a song. Music is there to support the mood of the scene. Even when there is nothing else going on. T

As for the sound effect of the cave... that stuff happens. My question to you, was that cave sound in the production/temp track you were given to score to? Sometimes stuff gets added at the last minute but with TV shows, the major sounds are usually in the temp. If you aren't checking your score against the temp track for potential problems, you should. But in the end, if the director can't hear the problem, then there is no problem.
Old 29th August 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 

one can have much different thoughts on hierarchy, pratice and taste though...
Old 30th August 2019
  #6
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioloud View Post
Is this normal or did I just work with a butcher??
This is normal. How "much" is enough or too much? That's the realm of the re-mix engineer. But rest assured, it's not out of the ordinary.
Old 30th August 2019
  #7
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioloud View Post
Also I noticed they sometimes use sound fx which have very very defined notes that often clash with the music. I had a hard time explaining them that the "cave sound" they put is actually a low noted pad which is a semitone away from the pad I use on that particular cue and therefore is a problem.
Out of curiosity; what was their response to that?

I've worked on shows where the editor chose music and sound effects, or even stems from different music cues, that were clashing. At that point, as a re-recording engineer, I really have to 'zoom out' and look at the story telling from a larger perspective and try to understand if there's a point to the tension. I mean, it could be that the editor is tone-deaf, but it could also mean that they think it feels right...

I have a background in playing and writing so I feel your pain, but sometimes there's a motive behind the madness...

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioloud View Post
Every single cue sounds worse. No doubts about it.

Does anyone here have any insights about the matter and how to deal with it please? I would love to hear.

Thanks !!
I think the others said it well. "Worse" is debatable "unfortunately". My main concern is "Does this work?". By "work" I mean does it take the viewer to the place intended by the director. If the answer is 'yes' then I don't actually care all that much about the individual parts that make up the final mix... because.. well... it "works"...

An example of something that might be easier for you to relate to since it isn't music: I just recently had a company fret over mic choice, preamp choice, position etc for VO recording for narration of a documentary series. Apparently sound quality of the hostess' voice was super-important to the quality of the show. Fine. We agree. Last episode I'm asked to match last-minute ADR done on an iPhone! So much for a quality production (major network btw). But in the end the story is helped more by the added line of dialog that guides the viewer than by an objectively better quality of voice... so.. it was what it was..

Music is "just" another ingredient in that (cake) mix... even if that's where my heart truly lies...
Old 30th August 2019
  #8
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
one can have much different thoughts on hierarchy, pratice and taste though...
Agreed. It's just that it's hard to be objective.
Old 30th August 2019
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
Agreed. It's just that it's hard to be objective.
indeed! plus sometimes there are subtle but noticeable differences in the perception of any artistic expression which are beyond of what can be described or is very difficult to communicate, especially between different cultures - this can lead to an entirely different point of view and approach...

...and to get back to topic: i tend to work in a way that my mixes 'work' without much artificial reverb (or even without any for the orchestral parts if recorded in large halls) and i'm using efx devices much more in a way of what an engineer of classical music (for musical release only) does - thus, i guess i can understand the op's reservations!
Old 30th August 2019
  #10
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
thus, i guess i can understand the op's reservations!
I understand them too, but the thing is - the film is not about the music. If a composer is focusing on how their music is sounding, the perspective is wrong. You'll end up fighting directors / remix engineers the rest of your life. There's a sweet spot - a compromise.
Old 30th August 2019
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
...the film is not about the music. If a composer is focusing on how their music is sounding, the perspective is wrong....
This +1000!!!

If the composer is focusing on the sound of the music then they aren't focusing on the story and the film overall.

I bet after a couple years when the composer comes back around to this, and he watches for the first time with objective unbiased ears... he will have a completely different opinion about the sound of the music.
Old 30th August 2019
  #12
Lives for gear
 

...could be though that s/he'll come back and still think things got messed up big time!

not gonna argue: there's a specific pratice in each field and if someone wants to be part of that field, then of course s/he'll better learns to accept the terms and conditions.

i stand firm though that even if there is widely accepted practice of doing things in a specific way, chances are it will get perceived somewhat differently in different places and by specific groups. and then there are trends...
Old 30th August 2019
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Complaining about a SFX vs Music, Music will most likely lose. The music or the music pad stem will be dipped. Welcome to life. Sometimes the SFX editor or Re-recording mixer will re-pitch the SFX -- but that's usually only if the music is integral. A pad will not be that (think more melody.) I had the SFX team re-pitch a historically accurate train horn but that was because it got in the way of a long running grand music cue for a montage that the director valued more (and the horn wasn't in the temp SFX tracks.)

One doesn't need to CYA on dub mixes. The dub mix is approved by directors/producers (who should be there.) Sometimes the score mixer/composer is invited (I've always been but I usually have built up a relationship earlier to make the process smoother.) If you've got specific notes, you should NOT object strongly (that's a quick way to get shut out -- you are work for hire.)
A gentle comment is as far as you should go. If your comment is ignored, so be it. Don't harp or press on it.

The re-recording mix is about the director's vision about the film. Not about portraying your music the best. Learn to live with that.

Last edited by pentagon; 31st August 2019 at 04:14 AM.. Reason: typo
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