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Old February 23rd, 2005, 08:37 AM   #1
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Film scoring software needed

I am looking for a good film scoring software for my P.C. (besides digital producer). I am new to this area, and I am not certain which ones to look at. Ease of use and cost are important considerations, but quality of finished product is the supreme consideration. Obviously, I intend to use the software on a number of projects (from docs to shorts, to drama, etc.) so genre specific apps are less useful to me. Please, those in the know, give me some software options to consider, and a little info on why.

Thanks
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 08:59 AM   #2
 
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If ease of use is a consideration, then Sonar should be on your plate, but don't forget Cubase either.
On the other hand, you don't provide your background. Are you a musician at all? Or a videographer looking to score some royalty free segments? If you have no musical chops, then Sonic Fire Pro is your answer, but it's reasonably limited in terms of what you can do with it. ACID offers a lot more choices, but it requires a little bit of musical acumen. Sonar and Cubase require quite a bit of musical acumen.
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 09:14 AM   #3
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DSE, thanks for the reply. My chops are limited (I play a bit of acoustic guitar and piano, but can't sing to save my life:-), but I luckily have access to several very good musicians (including singers, bass guitar players, percussion, etc.) who are willing to create original music for and with me. However, to be practical I am FIRST considering royalty free or low cost music to be mixed with the various projects I am working on (i.e. a historical doc, urban short, a social drama). I am saying all this only to say that scoring with already created content is my first line of approach (though I hope to have original content in the near future).

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Old February 23rd, 2005, 09:46 AM   #4
 
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Since you play, even a little, I'd be looking at ACID. There is a free Express version on the Sony website with a bunch of free loop content. That'll give you an idea of how well/quickly you can maneuver and create. For me, it's very fast. For others, it might not be so.
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 10:07 AM   #5
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Thanks man...will do.
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 02:50 PM   #6
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Just read an article on this type of product (Presentation magazine July 2004: Play Your Own Tune, by Jeffery Fisher, Julie Hill and Tad Simons).

Listed are the rating by the article authors and product manufacturer and product name.

8 Magix: Music Maker 2005 Deluxe
8 Apple: GarageBand
6 Cakewalk: Home Studio XL 2004
9 Sony: ACID Pro 4.0
9 SmartSound: SonicFire Pro 3.0
9 Adobe: Audition 1.5
9 Apple: Soundtrack
N/R Digital Juice: Stack Traxx

But personally, I'd take DSE's recommendation because he's actually worked with these things.
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 05:02 PM   #7
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Patrick, the problem is that I am looking for software that is mainly designed for film scoring (preferably for digital media). Some of the software on the list are designed as general sound editors, and as such not as precise an application as I would prefer. Of course I realize that you can't always get what you want.
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 05:19 PM   #8
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Just wanted to give you options to study even though I thought you would pick the DSE recommendation.
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 07:14 PM   #9
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Thanks Patrick, I appreciate the info. Some of the prog U had on the list are useful for what I want to do, I was just hoping there was something more specific out there. For now I am going to follow DSE's suggestion and also keep looking.
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 10:27 PM   #10
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Get Acid or better still... Acid Pro. Then IMMEDIATELY get the two disks titled "Best of Prosessions"... OR PLAN B is to IMMEDIATELY get Cinematic Pulse, Cinematic Ambience, and Cinematic Impact... All these disks are from M-Audio and after you get Acid you'll celebrate the day you heard about these M-Audio discs. When combined with Acid they will absolutely, positively, BLOW YOUR SOCKS OFF! Seriously, change into some underwear you can throw away before you start experimenting with this combo... it's THAT good.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 08:17 AM   #11
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Matt,

Does ACID play the Apple format M-Audio loops you recommended? I couldn't find any references on the M-Audio site listing ACID as a compatible software.

Joseph
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Old February 24th, 2005, 09:00 AM   #12
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Thanks Matt, I'll look into it. BTW, once purchased can these recordings be freely used in works that may be at least in part commercial, and can they be manipulated for different sounds without breaking any laws.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 03:13 PM   #13
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I've got Acid Pro and about 10, yes 10 of the M-Audio discs... so yeah, they work together. Splendidly... oh yes.

I emailed M-Audio to get some clarification on their licensing speak... 'cause on the package it almost sounds like they don't want you to use their sounds to make money. Well the clarification that *I* got was that all that stupid lingo is REALLY meant to say is that you can't sell their sounds as a product for what they simply are... As in you can't have a video that has the raw audio samples one after another or use them in some other way to inadvertently (or intentionally) create a "competing" product. Sooo....

I use 'em in various ways and sometimes they are altered, um, er... very little...

Get these discs and you'll see what I mean. In the Cinematic Impact disc, for instance, one sample sound... at one loop... may be exactly what you need to punch up a scene or key moment. So is that wrong? M-Audio sure wouldn't clarify it for me fully, but they made it sound like that isn't something to worry about...

Sometimes I mix the sounds down and create my own track... sometimes the sound I want is pretty much "ready to go".

Once you get these you'll understand that the ONLY reason I put this post up is 'cause I've been playing with these for a long time... otherwise I'd have kept it a secret. They are THAT good.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 03:40 PM   #14
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Thanks for letting us know about M-Audio, Matt--I looked into it and wow, what a way to put a professional sheen on one's work! Fantabulous options.


:D
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Old February 24th, 2005, 08:31 PM   #15
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Hey Dwight,

Just to weigh in... off-the-cuff, I'd go with DSE's recommendation for using ACID Pro. I have a music background and LOVE Sonar. It's incredibly powerful and useful to compose and score on, esp. if you like diving your hands into MIDI editing. However, when I need something quick 'n dirty, I will inevitably turn to ACID Pro to get things done. It's has an easy workflow, a super-fast learning curve (when you're just starting into this), and allows you to create workable material with loops (if you're so inclined) in a very short amount of time... AND it's ULTRA stable (at least for me). Since it allows you to come up with sketches pretty quickly, you can then spend time making creative decisions and fine-tuning without having to do lots of setup.

For ACID Pro, I'm still on version 4 and will say that the VST implementation is a bit spotty. I've had *a few* soft-synths freeze, close-out, or refuse to start altogether. In my case, it really doesn't impact me since I use those synths and ROMplers in Sonar anyways. ACID Pro 5 may have fixed much of this, but don't know since I really haven't had the need to shell out for the upgrade.

If you're using canned music, you could just track it right in your NLE, providing it's audio-friendly, like Vegas (very friendly, to the point that you can use it to do basic loop-based work). That would save you from needing to purchase additional software. If you're having other musicians contribute, you'll have to figure out how you're getting their material into the final piece. Will you be mixing it yourself? Will you need recording capability... multi-track even? Or, will they be handing you a finished piece? Answers to these questions, among others, may go more toward driving the software decision.

As you can see, there's lots of considerations before investing in a sequencer. At the end of the day, definitely consider it an investment, because you'll probably be learning the workflow, quirks, and workarounds for your chosen platform... maybe even upgrading over the long-run.

Maybe if you can give us a bit more detail on how you envision your use of the software will be, we can give you pros and cons (or at least opinions) on what which platform would suit your situation best.

Oh... budget, too!
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