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Feature-length film scoring in Logic
Old 28th June 2009
  #61
Yes, there was no intention to make a fool of the mixer. He had nothing to do with the placement of the music. It wasn't going to be a huge deal either, there weren't conflicting time codes etc, it was a single short music cue that had been displaced somehow during the lay up.
I take your point about keeping quiet until a break, however I guess I thought it would take seconds to fix. This was the final mix of a TV doco, and at the final mix they work on the final balance from beginning to end and don't generally go back to fix things.
My absolute impression was the guy had had a bad experience in the past, or generally had a dislike for composers. I honestly felt it was an alpha male ego thing.
Anyway, it's a side bar, just pointing out the collaborative process that needs to happen.
Maybe I always said too much at mixes, but this rather angry slapdown stopped me from wanting to work in film, and with characters like that.
Old 28th June 2009
  #62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashermusic View Post

So when I am there, it is to serve the picture within the vision we discussed and if the director/producer is perhaps being swayed by another voice away from what we had discussed
The biggest minefield is the director vs producer battle.
I myself, and several of my friends who work in film have often been the ball batted between director and producer.
The director has a somewhat offbeat artistic vision for the score, whereas the producer needs the music to help the film put bums on seats.

The director is referencing Arvo Part, while the producer is calling you separately and asking for a Moby style score...... but asking you not to discuss it with the director as it's a sore point between them.
Yeah, I don't miss those films. heh
Old 28th June 2009
  #63
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Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
The biggest minefield is the director vs producer battle.
I myself, and several of my friends who work in film have often been the ball batted between director and producer.
The director has a somewhat offbeat artistic vision for the score, whereas the producer needs the music to help the film put bums on seats.
LOL No doubt.

Worse yet - try working for "the MOUSE". 6-8 levels of middle to upper level music and film management in addition to the director - all telling you what they think the main title needs to be.

Typical notes on the MT :

Have you though of something classical - like Fur Elise?
Doesn't rock hard enough. We need this to slam right out of the gate.
It seems too fast.
WTF??? Is this a dirge?? WAAAaaaaay too slow.
We need to stay legit - Orchestra only. It's got to be classy!
It sounds too corny. Drop the orchestra. Try something hip-hoppy.
Perfect!! I love it.
I hate it. I think we need a new composer.

Yup, fairly standard at the outset of the project.... Always good for a laugh, and a coronary.....heh
Old 28th June 2009
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
The director is referencing Arvo Part,
AHH... ONE OF MY MOST FAVORITE MODERN COMPOSERS!


Anyhow,

Yeah.

I''ve only been in this "business" for a short while, and these sort of things are scaring me.

My current approach is to look at it like a hobby, but still stand up for myself in regards to rates and rights- and hope for a film that eventually "pops."

Off topic.. but just pontificating.
Old 28th June 2009
  #65
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Originally Posted by astronmr20 View Post
My current approach is to look at it like a hobby, but still stand up for myself in regards to rates and rights- and hope for a film that eventually "pops."
Steve - that's a great way to treat/think about things. Good luck!

bp
Old 29th June 2009
  #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashermusic View Post
I'll bet you do

As a composer, I am almost always there to make the argument for my music not getting buried under SFX. I don't mind my cues being subservient to dialog, but dammit, they are a least as important to how well the picture works (in most cases) as the goddamn tires squealing.

Well, Jay, respectfully, sometimes the tires squealing ARE more important.
Old 29th June 2009
  #67
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Originally Posted by postprosound View Post
Well, Jay, respectfully, sometimes the tires squealing ARE more important.
Respectfully back, yes, agreed, but would you not also agree that in recent years producers/directors have fallen in love with FX to a degree that frequently it is not only a detriment to the score but to the film?

My example once again is "North By Northwest" where the climatic scene on Mt. Rushmore has no sound of the wind whipping, only score. Would that ever happen today? I doubt it.
Old 29th June 2009
  #68
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Quote:
Respectfully back, yes, agreed, but would you not also agree that in recent years producers/directors have fallen in love with FX to a degree that frequently it is not only a detriment to the score but to the film?

My example once again is "North By Northwest" where the climatic scene on Mt. Rushmore has no sound of the wind whipping, only score. Would that ever happen today? I doubt it.


Jay please explain this... Why is score so important that it should always trump FX?
Old 29th June 2009
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by postprosound View Post
Jay please explain this... Why is score so important that it should always trump FX?
I never said that it should, just that the the balance between score and FX in recent years has dramatically shifted in favor of the FX to the overall detriment of films.

If you disagree, that is fine.

The same issue applies to technology vs writing IMHO. Some of the story lines in action films today are ludicrous, because the creators have drank the technology Kool-Aid and so more attention is paid to the CGI than the story.

I wish they would all accept as a working principle, "Just because I can does not mean I should."
Old 29th June 2009
  #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashermusic View Post
I never said that it should, just that the the balance between score and FX in recent years has dramatically shifted in favor of the FX to the overall detriment of films.

If you disagree, that is fine.

The same issue applies to technology vs writing IMHO. Some of the story lines in action films today are ludicrous, because the creators have drank the technology Kool-Aid and so more attention is paid to the CGI than the story.

I wish they would all accept as a working principle, "Just because I can does not mean I should."
I think overall lack of dynamic range is a bigger problem- John Williams is the master of the dynamic and non-compretitive score. But ultimately it is the director who decides what is most important in a film moment...
Old 29th June 2009
  #71
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I think that both of us, you have to agree, are to some extent a bit biased about this subject. We all become very possessive about our work. And perhaps in some cases, some directors are leaning that way... hey, as long as they are selling tickets, and then paying us.
You must understand, and i say this with utmost respect, humility, and with an air of 'we're in this together', there is a certain vibe that many get from composers of 'it's my music, of course it should be above all else. What? You dare suggest something should come before me?' type of arrogance. Perhaps FX editors do it to an extent as well, but it seems just a bit more prevalent with composers. Remember that a lot of us in the editing side of things do have a music background, and at the very least consider ourselves to some extent 'audiophiles'. We love music too! And we also agree that nothing sets a tone in a scene like a well executed score. And frankly, we enjoy that kind of stuff. Many just get our dander up when the perceived arrogance comes in. Case in point: This weekend my wife and I went to a 40th anniversary party, complete with school gym, dry roast beef, old women in dresses, and a punch bowl. For most of us it was a great time to catch up with a lot of people we hadn't seen a quite some time. A surprisingly good jazz band was playing. Now the rub of it all was the fact that they're playing was literally so loud that you had to yell directly into someone's ear to have any sort of conversation. This was not a concert, a club or dance. But yet, we all were 'told', in effect, 'my music is more important that your conversations. Even though you came to socialize, you will listen.' The music was good, mind you.
I guess what I'm saying is it is this type of attitude, the lack of acknowledgment of all else, that gets the ire of many other of our post sound brothers and sisters.
I'm not trying to flame you, Jay. I have to agree, artistically, a tire screech is nowhere near a piece of music. (although some of the new boy bands.....) And yes, things have changed in films with regard to balancing the sound.
The bottom line is that we are all al the same team. We are all trying to work together. Every situation is different; sometimes it's music's turn, sometimes it's not. And despite how attached we may be to a given sound, or how much we might love it, we all need to view things for what they are. And sometimes that means that we don't get our way.
Old 29th June 2009
  #72
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashermusic View Post
When I compose a score nowadays, generally the director or producer has seen a least a reasonable mockup of the score to picture so there are few surprises. We also have probably had a fair number of discussions as to where the acting and script are strong and where they need help from the music.
Of course. And yet, somehow, when getting to the stage and hearing it all together for the first time.......AMNESIA. heh heh heh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashermusic View Post
As a composer I am very mindful that this is not MY picture.
Yep. The hardest thing from some to figure out.
Old 29th June 2009
  #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by postprosound View Post
Jay please explain this... Why is score so important that it should always trump FX?
PPS - I personally don't think it should. I think in an EFFECTIVE and BALANCED film there should be a give and take in BOTH directions. It makes BOTH music or fx more effective when featured.

This is a generalization, which of course always fall short :

I like to think of it as reality vs. emotion decision as to which should be featured. FX will generally take you into reality or even hyper-reality. They draw you into the picture. Music plays a much different role. It is the NON-reality of the film. It can draw you inside you mind, it can (manipulatively even) transport you where the director/composer wants you to go emotionally.

A film without either is a weaker film.

Case in point. A love scene on the sidewalk of a NY street. If you play all the detailed SFX up all the way, and music down. You'll loose the emotional appeal of the scene. Especially if the acting needs help there. If I was directing, I'd like to see the SFX pull you into the location, and then drop back allowing music to take the main role instead of staying forefront all the way thru the scene.

On the flip side, a battle scene. Without huge gunfire, you're not going to get the impact of the horror. Music might want to be pulled back in favor of bringing the view into the REALITY of the horror of war. And maybe coming up big for the final climax.


One other thing to note. This is just an observation on my part. Often (usually) post houses bid and complete all the audio other than music. They are living with it for weeks. Often the mixers will be cutting SFX or Dialog before the mix. When they come into the mix, I often find a bias towards hearing every little SFX. This is one of the reason's I hate pre-dubs WITHOUT music in tow. Everyone gets too focused on the SFX. Composers are musicians. Musicians are ego driven individuals. That's what it takes to get up on stage. So, they often tend to come with some baggage. Unfortunate, but true. They need to be handled with kid gloves sometimes. heh But you know the real pros. They are the ones that say "turn up the SFX and pull back the music for this scene". They're there to make the picture better, not push their own musical agenda. I hope you get to work with these guys sometime. They (we) are out there.

IF, the scoring music mixers were contracted to do the final re-mix at the stage, I think you would see quite a different dynamic happening. (Not necessarily good, just different.)

I know I'm preaching to the choir so I'll shut up now..... heh heh



PS - oh yeah, one more thing. More than SFX, it's ambient beds that are the problem for me. With an open sounding score, they can suck the life right out of it. Is night air, really that important to the drive of the film?? LOL

Cheers,

bp
Old 29th June 2009
  #74
16942
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Quote:
Originally Posted by postprosound View Post
I think that both of us, you have to agree, are to some extent a bit biased about this subject. We all become very possessive about our work. And perhaps in some cases, some directors are leaning that way... hey, as long as they are selling tickets, and then paying us.
You must understand, and i say this with utmost respect, humility, and with an air of 'we're in this together', there is a certain vibe that many get from composers of 'it's my music, of course it should be above all else. What? You dare suggest something should come before me?' type of arrogance. Perhaps FX editors do it to an extent as well, but it seems just a bit more prevalent with composers. Remember that a lot of us in the editing side of things do have a music background, and at the very least consider ourselves to some extent 'audiophiles'. We love music too! And we also agree that nothing sets a tone in a scene like a well executed score. And frankly, we enjoy that kind of stuff. Many just get our dander up when the perceived arrogance comes in. Case in point: This weekend my wife and I went to a 40th anniversary party, complete with school gym, dry roast beef, old women in dresses, and a punch bowl. For most of us it was a great time to catch up with a lot of people we hadn't seen a quite some time. A surprisingly good jazz band was playing. Now the rub of it all was the fact that they're playing was literally so loud that you had to yell directly into someone's ear to have any sort of conversation. This was not a concert, a club or dance. But yet, we all were 'told', in effect, 'my music is more important that your conversations. Even though you came to socialize, you will listen.' The music was good, mind you.
I guess what I'm saying is it is this type of attitude, the lack of acknowledgment of all else, that gets the ire of many other of our post sound brothers and sisters.
I'm not trying to flame you, Jay. I have to agree, artistically, a tire screech is nowhere near a piece of music. (although some of the new boy bands.....) And yes, things have changed in films with regard to balancing the sound.
The bottom line is that we are all al the same team. We are all trying to work together. Every situation is different; sometimes it's music's turn, sometimes it's not. And despite how attached we may be to a given sound, or how much we might love it, we all need to view things for what they are. And sometimes that means that we don't get our way.
I totally agree with you. I can only hope you take me at my word for it when I tell you I am not that way.
Old 29th June 2009
  #75
16942
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
PPS - I personally don't think it should. I think in an EFFECTIVE and BALANCED film there should be a give and take in BOTH directions. It makes BOTH music or fx more effective when featured.

This is a generalization, which of course always fall short :

I like to think of it as reality vs. emotion decision as to which should be featured. FX will generally take you into reality or even hyper-reality. They draw you into the picture. Music plays a much different role. It is the NON-reality of the film. It can draw you inside you mind, it can (manipulatively even) transport you where the director/composer wants you to go emotionally.

A film without either is a weaker film.

Case in point. A love scene on the sidewalk of a NY street. If you play all the detailed SFX up all the way, and music down. You'll loose the emotional appeal of the scene. Especially if the acting needs help there. If I was directing, I'd like to see the SFX pull you into the location, and then drop back allowing music to take the main role instead of staying forefront all the way thru the scene.

On the flip side, a battle scene. Without huge gunfire, you're not going to get the impact of the horror. Music might want to be pulled back in favor of bringing the view into the REALITY of the horror of war. And maybe coming up big for the final climax.


One other thing to note. This is just an observation on my part. Often (usually) post houses bid and complete all the audio other than music. They are living with it for weeks. Often the mixers will be cutting SFX or Dialog before the mix. When they come into the mix, I often find a bias towards hearing every little SFX. This is one of the reason's I hate pre-dubs WITHOUT music in tow. Everyone gets too focused on the SFX. Composers are musicians. Musicians are ego driven individuals. That's what it takes to get up on stage. So, they often tend to come with some baggage. Unfortunate, but true. They need to be handled with kid gloves sometimes. heh But you know the real pros. They are the ones that say "turn up the SFX and pull back the music for this scene". They're there to make the picture better, not push their own musical agenda. I hope you get to work with these guys sometime. They (we) are out there.

IF, the scoring music mixers were contracted to do the final re-mix at the stage, I think you would see quite a different dynamic happening. (Not necessarily good, just different.)

I know I'm preaching to the choir so I'll shut up now..... heh heh



PS - oh yeah, one more thing. More than SFX, it's ambient beds that are the problem for me. With an open sounding score, they can suck the life right out of it. Is night air, really that important to the drive of the film?? LOL

Cheers,

bp
+1. I have really enjoyed both the tone and the substance of this thread.
Old 29th June 2009
  #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
PPS - I personally don't think it should. I think in an EFFECTIVE and BALANCED film there should be a give and take in BOTH directions. It makes BOTH music or fx more effective when featured.

This is a generalization, which of course always fall short :

I like to think of it as reality vs. emotion decision as to which should be featured. FX will generally take you into reality or even hyper-reality. They draw you into the picture. Music plays a much different role. It is the NON-reality of the film. It can draw you inside you mind, it can (manipulatively even) transport you where the director/composer wants you to go emotionally.

A film without either is a weaker film.

Case in point. A love scene on the sidewalk of a NY street. If you play all the detailed SFX up all the way, and music down. You'll loose the emotional appeal of the scene. Especially if the acting needs help there. If I was directing, I'd like to see the SFX pull you into the location, and then drop back allowing music to take the main role instead of staying forefront all the way thru the scene.

On the flip side, a battle scene. Without huge gunfire, you're not going to get the impact of the horror. Music might want to be pulled back in favor of bringing the view into the REALITY of the horror of war. And maybe coming up big for the final climax.


One other thing to note. This is just an observation on my part. Often (usually) post houses bid and complete all the audio other than music. They are living with it for weeks. Often the mixers will be cutting SFX or Dialog before the mix. When they come into the mix, I often find a bias towards hearing every little SFX. This is one of the reason's I hate pre-dubs WITHOUT music in tow. Everyone gets too focused on the SFX. Composers are musicians. Musicians are ego driven individuals. That's what it takes to get up on stage. So, they often tend to come with some baggage. Unfortunate, but true. They need to be handled with kid gloves sometimes. heh But you know the real pros. They are the ones that say "turn up the SFX and pull back the music for this scene". They're there to make the picture better, not push their own musical agenda. I hope you get to work with these guys sometime. They (we) are out there.

IF, the scoring music mixers were contracted to do the final re-mix at the stage, I think you would see quite a different dynamic happening. (Not necessarily good, just different.)

I know I'm preaching to the choir so I'll shut up now..... heh heh



PS - oh yeah, one more thing. More than SFX, it's ambient beds that are the problem for me. With an open sounding score, they can suck the life right out of it. Is night air, really that important to the drive of the film?? LOL

Cheers,

bp
listen to the cut dia track on your Editors cut- that is the most significant sound element of the mix- notice how it usually sounds like crap? the ambience tracks are usually used to mask all the generator noises and traffic sound and airplanes going over, etc.... If you want an open sounding score, you should look to orchestrating around those things- or even trying to write parts in the frequency areas of the problematic production track.

no one likes excess bg's to be in the track. It is noise- but sometimes the noise is required to make the illusion of a smooth soundtrack.
Old 29th June 2009
  #77
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Yeah, and don't get me started on how poor production sound is frequently nowadays
Old 29th June 2009
  #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashermusic View Post
Yeah, and don't get me started on how poor production sound is frequently nowadays
I've mixed reality shows that have better production sound than a lot of low budget movies and Drama TV Series.
Old 29th June 2009
  #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes View Post
listen to the cut dia track on your Editors cut- that is the most significant sound element of the mix- notice how it usually sounds like crap? the ambience tracks are usually used to mask all the generator noises and traffic sound and airplanes going over, etc.... If you want an open sounding score, you should look to orchestrating around those things- or even trying to write parts in the frequency areas of the problematic production track.

no one likes excess bg's to be in the track. It is noise- but sometimes the noise is required to make the illusion of a smooth soundtrack.
Understood Charles. I understand the usefullness of BG's, what they are and why we need them. If they are loud enough to focus on them, that's when it becomes a problem so often with the music. But, it's quite often impossible to write any score around them that has an "open" sound with verb, spaciousness, etc. They just eat each other up. Even getting the BG up to where it can be "heard" most often destroys the open-ness and beauty of the music. EQ is helpful, as is writing a speed metal cue that will cut thru. LOL
Old 29th June 2009
  #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Understood Charles. I understand the usefullness of BG's, what they are and why we need them. If they are loud enough to focus on them, that's when it becomes a problem so often with the music. But, it's quite often impossible to write any score around them that has an "open" sound with verb, spaciousness, etc. They just eat each other up. Even getting the BG up to where it can be "heard" most often destroys the open-ness and beauty of the music. EQ is helpful, as is writing a speed metal cue that will cut thru. LOL
This is why, as a dialog mixer, I try and get rid of as much production BG sound as possible. I really hate the sound of it.
99% of the time is just ugly and grainy sounding. And it not only covers up subtleties in music, but also subtleties of BG's and FX that have been added, to enrich the overall soundscape.
So everything just get's pushed louder, and it becomes a big messy, cloudy soup.

but that's just my opinion.
Old 29th June 2009
  #81
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I have yet to see an instance of BGs being run hot without there being a huge substanstial problem elsewhere. Music has a place in building mood and emotion in a scene. A good composer will only give as much as might be required and not a bar more. A bad composer will view his score as being the sole sound of the soundtrack. This tends be a bad thing. Because it is ultimately a dialog between the elements- Too much music is the same as trying to carry on a conversation with someone who just cant STFU. It becomes maddening, and ultimately their input is tuned out.
Old 29th June 2009
  #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
This is why, as a dialog mixer, I try and get rid of as much production BG sound as possible. I really hate the sound of it.
99% of the time is just ugly and grainy sounding. And it not only covers up subtleties in music, but also subtleties of BG's and FX that have been added, to enrich the overall soundscape.
So everything just get's pushed louder, and it becomes a big messy, cloudy soup.

but that's just my opinion.
Mark, your work speaks for itself- and Christiana says hi-

Different directors do take other approaches- namely the Dogma guys and Woody Allen- some like the old school grittiness and others dont- I guess the film ultimate dictates the sort of sound that is appropriate.
Old 29th June 2009
  #83
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Originally Posted by charles maynes View Post
Mark, your work speaks for itself
Damn, now I'll never get another mix gig in this town.
Old 29th June 2009
  #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
Damn, now I'll never get another mix gig in this town.
join the club.
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