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-   -   Building mood with music for Dramatic video (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/24661-building-mood-music-dramatic-video.html)

Ed Hill April 16th, 2004 11:48 AM

Building mood with music for Dramatic video
MOst of my past projects; news, commercials, documentary, did not rely on music for dramatic effect, building audience expectation, etc. Music was only used for intro, fade out, and montage cut on the music beat.

of course I've studied sound use in some favorite movies and dramatic TV series. But now that we're starting post on the docudrama I have to make sure the music builds the proper mood for each scene.

I would be very interested in how members in this forum think about pacing and use of music to build mood in a dramatic scene.

I have found a couple web resources, but I am interested in any books or web sites where this is discussed.

Has dramatic "movie music" been discussed here in DV info?


Keith Loh April 16th, 2004 11:55 AM

This may be a silly question but, have you sat down with a composer?

When I did my ladyX episode I had a friend do the music. Previously, I had shot his music video so he was happy to sit down with me and compose something. He really did have lots of good input.

Really, I think you should cut for drama and then sit down with the composer after.

Build relationships with musicians. Help them out and they'll help you out.

Ed Hill April 16th, 2004 12:18 PM

Very good idea. The client says he has a guy lined up to create the instrumental parts, but I have only met the guy once and I guess I need to talk with him as soon as I get the rough edit done.

While editiing the rough cut, I will probably put some sound effects and temporary music in there to help me build up some of the action sequences and emotional scenes that don't have much dialog.

Then I should show this rough cut to the music guy.

I am just trying to organize some rules to guide me when I'm editing with just music and picture.

Action scenes cut on a beat are easy but emotional scenes require more thought.

Here are two web sites I found:


I was impressed with the quality of most of the Lady X episodes.
Some episodes had rough spots(writing or acting issues) but I was impressed with the Taiwan and German episodes.
Especially use of locations and sound.

Tell me how you approach sound in your Lady X episodes.


Douglas Spotted Eagle April 16th, 2004 12:28 PM

Interesting approach, cutting to the music vs having the music written to the scene. What I mean by that is that generally, films or scenes are cut to temp music, setting a pace. The composer then composes (or should) to that scene.
This is what I do, more or less daily. Score for picture. It's extremely rare that I'm given leeway on scoring to time, it's usually a spotting session with the director, then score to his time. If there is something specific that musically won't score to a cue, then the music is written so that the cue point is hit within a couple frames so it works musically, then the cue is re-edited to meet the musical cue point. Recently I scored part of "Lost Landscapes" for PBS, and there were gunshots that couldn't be musically in time, so were reedited to meet the best compromise.
When looking for, or editing with music, I often use color correction as a comparison. How do the colors influence musical choices? It's a similar thought process when selecting music for a scene.

Ed Hill April 16th, 2004 12:42 PM


I like the idea of having the music scored after editing the shots.
I would like to stretch out some of the more emotional scenes, which is tough to do with out some kind of music. Of course the temp music will solve that problem.


Saw episode 13 of Lady X. Good writing shooting and editing.

** How did you add the muzzle blast effect from the rifle?
This appears to have been done in post.

I am using VEGAS 4.


Peter Jefferson April 17th, 2004 12:27 AM

im much like douglas.. i usually sit back with both workstations and a keyboard... as i watch i play along.. slowly builing up...
what i then do is keep an eye out for the nuances within the scene and add sounds to bring those out..

i guess alot of people have a different wayof doing things, but if i dont feel that a cut doesnt flow, ill change IT to go with the flow of the track im writing..

usually its teh visual element which will cop most of the editing to go with the flow of the tune im writing

pretty hard work actaully.. especially when ur doin it yourself..

Keith Loh April 17th, 2004 02:09 AM

<<<-- Originally posted by Ed Hill : Douglas,
Saw episode 13 of Lady X. Good writing shooting and editing.
** How did you add the muzzle blast effect from the rifle?
This appears to have been done in post.
Ed -->>>

I drew the muzzle blast in Photoshop over a series of frames and then cut out or added frames in After Effects.

Scott Brickert May 9th, 2004 10:04 PM

Has anyone used Sonicfire from SmartSound to build a sound track?

If so, what libraries are you using most often? how do you like the tool?


Douglas Spotted Eagle May 9th, 2004 10:22 PM

SmartSound is a really great tool if you don't want a library, if you don't want to build in ACID, and you can't afford a composer. Sound quality is EXCELLENT, and it's fairly easy to use. It's sort of canned music with some flexibility.
I like the Cinematic library, and the Action libraries

Ken Tanaka May 9th, 2004 10:23 PM

Yes, I have SmartSound and a collection of libraries. I can't say which I use most frequently, since SmartSound presents the music categorically, not by library source.

The Good:
- It's a very quick tool for assembling music to fit a specific time slot.
- A very straight-forward user interface that's not intimidating to non-musicians. From your first session you'll probably have a piece produced in just a few minutes.

The Not-So-Good:
- The end product often tends to sound very canned, probably because many of the libraries' selections sound a bit canned.

- You do not have the fine tempo and composition control that other tools offer. Your control largely consists of selecting categories and variations.

SmartSound was a bit ahead of its time when it was first introduced. It's still probably the fastest (although not the best) scoring tool available to non-musicians when used with its "Maestro" wizard. But to some degree it's become superseded by tools such as Apple's Soundtrack and Garage Band. Soundtrack, in particular, is a masterful tool that offers users nearly any degree of composition control they need, depending on their skill level. Neophytes and experts can both use Soundtrack to produce good results that do not sound like something from "Billy and Sissy's Wedding".

Douglas Spotted Eagle May 9th, 2004 10:26 PM

Geez, Ken, what a great seque into "I wrote a book on Soundtrack" that you might find useful, Scott. (if you're a Mac user) If you're a PC user, you might find the VASST training video on ACID to be useful.

Ken Tanaka May 9th, 2004 10:49 PM

Ahh, indeed you did!

Which reminds me of one point I missed, above. Soundtrack enables you to use 3rd party ACID loops, such as Sony's library. There are thousands of such libraries, making Soundtrack nearly infinitely expandable for those so inclined.

Scott Brickert May 10th, 2004 09:09 PM

Thanks guys,
I bought Sonicfire at NAB, but have not chosen the libraries yet.

Decided it was the quickest way to get a soundtrack onto a Memorial type video, and possibly not bad for corporate training type work. I still need to select my 10 CD's.

Also thought the new audio capabilities of Vegas 5.0 might allow more creativity in order to avoid that 'canned' sound. Once I feel mastery of Vegas and Sonicfire I'll begin looking toward the greater power of ACID and SoundForge.

I've heard the results of Soundtrack, saw it demo'd at NAB last year, and highly respect the tool. Maybe Sony will create something to compete with it in the PC world. Or maybe FCP will be ported to the PC...


Douglas Spotted Eagle May 10th, 2004 09:51 PM

Wait'll you start working with the ACID properties in Vegas 5!!!

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