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Cues and Timing - edits, button cues, stingers, etc.?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Cues and Timing - edits, button cues, stingers, etc.?

Oh all these terms.

Ok, first off I'd like to ask - I see people all over the place talking about making 1:30 - 2:00 tracks for Libraries or Cues, etc.

But they talk about edits for 30 seconds, and 60 seconds and things like that.

How exactly do you do that?

What I mean is, are you literally placing silence at 29 seconds, or, at say, 60 BPM do you have a cadence on the down beat that maybe rings ("ring out" is a term I've seen) for 1 second and then 3 seconds of silence before the music picks up at the 30 second mark?

I've been playing with time scales on a ruler and figuring out various tempi to make beats or down beats line up with 30, 60 seconds - easy to do at 60 bpm and 120 bpm, 80 and 90 can work out pretty easily, etc.

I mean, I've done some editing in some classical music recordings down to between to 16th notes and I know I can get in there and cut whatever I need to.

I would hope that editors working on music cues would be as good, but obviously making it easier for them is probably a good thing.

But are you using templates or something to line up things so you can make cadences at certain spots so the edit points are there in the entire clip?

Or are you literally making your own 30 second edits or something (and even recomposing the end to make it be 29.5 or something?).

I guess what I'm trying to figure out is, do you go into each track with the edits already in mind and compose according to that grid, and always make something with specific available edit points and if so, what times, and what's your process for doing so?

TIA
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
I do edits after the main composition is written, recorded and done. I make the composition the tempo that feels right, not one that I know I can shoehorn into the broadcast edits. I employ a wide variety of editing and tricks to make the music "fit" into the designated timeframe for the broadcast edits. You've got to think OUTSIDE the box. About 80% of the time it's pretty simple. Another 15% is difficult, but do-able. About 5% of the time it's very difficult and a PITA, and usually a high quality time compression / expansion plugin comes into play. But yeah, I never think about broadcast edits when composing / producing.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

What drB said.

Write your cue (song), then do alternate mixes (if required), this usually means stripping away elements from the original. Once you begin the "stripping down" process, you may find a better version of your cue hiding inside.

You won't always have a click, or at the very least, a steady click - i.e., if you're writing under dialogue.

The important thing to remember is the reduction version has to sound complete, is if you wrote it to be a 30, or 15 second piece.

When making shorter versions, you may have to employ some trickery to get it to sound right, it's not like you can just take the last 30 seconds of a longer cue and chop it to begin 30 seconds from the end - sometimes you can, but often, you'll need to modify how it begins and builds - perhaps with a swoop or some kind of intro - you may have to build it a little built, for example, drop a layer for 10 seconds or so, then introduce it. There's no one answer, but I always think of mixdowns and reductions as their own little pieces, complete by themselves.

When doing this, I like to work across the timeline, so if my main cue is first, I'll do a couple of mixdowns second and third, then all the short versions after that - I just copy and paste the entire cue across the time line and begin setting up markers and editing each new copy - usually by hard muting or deleting clips, and taking something from somehwere and moving it somewhere else.

Pro Tools makes all that, as the British say, "a doddle".

Good luck
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
But yeah, I never think about broadcast edits when composing / producing.
Interesting. Thanks!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
What drB said.

There's no one answer, but I always think of mixdowns and reductions as their own little pieces, complete by themselves.

When doing this, I like to work across the timeline, so if my main cue is first, I'll do a couple of mixdowns second and third, then all the short versions after that - I just copy and paste the entire cue across the time line and begin setting up markers and editing each new copy - usually by hard muting or deleting clips, and taking something from somehwere and moving it somewhere else.
Also interesting, thanks.

Do you then typically make multiple versions of a piece - say, a 2 minute version, a 1 minute version, and a 30 second version and bounce them all down as separate files?

I was looking at some spec sheets and they would say it needed to have editable points at those kind of time frames, so it seemed like they just want one long file and will play to chop off what they don't want or extract what they do if they need to.

I guess I'm trying to wrap my head around should I get used to making long tracks (2-3 minutes) that have natural breaks at 30 and 60 seconds etc. or just edit/re-arrange tracks to produce shorter versions of them and create separate files for them.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevieotomy View Post
Also interesting, thanks.

Do you then typically make multiple versions of a piece - say, a 2 minute version, a 1 minute version, and a 30 second version and bounce them all down as separate files?

I was looking at some spec sheets and they would say it needed to have editable points at those kind of time frames, so it seemed like they just want one long file and will play to chop off what they don't want or extract what they do if they need to.

I guess I'm trying to wrap my head around should I get used to making long tracks (2-3 minutes) that have natural breaks at 30 and 60 seconds etc. or just edit/re-arrange tracks to produce shorter versions of them and create separate files for them.
I'd love to see those "spec sheets" if you could. I'm only aware of one library that works like that. I think you're way over thinking this. I've written thousands of pieces of music, and I've never given the edits a second thought until after the piece is mixed, and I'm ready to do the broadcast edits. You've got to get outside the traditional 4 bar, 8 bar, 4/4 box when you're cutting broadcast edits.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I'd love to see those "spec sheets" if you could. I'm only aware of one library that works like that. I think you're way over thinking this. I've written thousands of pieces of music, and I've never given the edits a second thought until after the piece is mixed, and I'm ready to do the broadcast edits. You've got to get outside the traditional 4 bar, 8 bar, 4/4 box when you're cutting broadcast edits.
The publishers I'm writing for are asking for "editable moments" within the cues. Some are more specific than that and ask for a two measure or four measure tag they can edit to at the end of the piece.

This is happening on fiction and non fiction prompts.

I think it's all about the length of shows being cut down (more commercials) and the scenes getting shorter and more compacted.

Also seeing a lot more of " ... with pace"

It's becoming more like fitting together a puzzle than it used to be.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
I write for dozens of publishers. Only one has a particular brief with that kind of timing info.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Quote:
I guess what I'm trying to figure out is, do you go into each track with the edits already in mind and compose according to that grid, and always make something with specific available edit points and if so, what times, and what's your process for doing so?
You've already gotten good answers to your question but I'll add this: Try both ways and see which you enjoy more. I've done both: writing two minute cues with built-in edit points is definitely doable if you keep the edit points in mind while making composing decisions. But mostly I do the cut-downs from the mixed/bounced stereo files. For me, editing from the bounced stereo files feels best and much less restrictive.

If you haven't already, after you hear a music library do cut-downs of your cues the solutions will jump out at you. Things like making the A section 6 measures instead of 8; making a four beat measure two beats; adding/dropping a pickup measure. And it ends up being kinda cool to hear your cue in an altered but still musical state. Hope that helps.
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