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Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.

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Old November 25th, 2002, 06:36 PM   #16
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I live for the day I can do everything, shoot, edit, compose, record, on and on. If you want total creative control, you must be able to create or at least conceptualize the total package. I'm pretty spoiled, I have been making my own audio stuff for a few years. I'm pretty new to video, but to me it's the only way to put music in a visual medium.

I have worked with people who prefer cheesy keyboards to high buck samplers simply because they sound more cheesy (El Maraichi's soundtrack was done this way). I have also read of people picking up a toy pianno in a yard sale and using it for sound creation. It's only as limited as your imagination. Fancy samplers and keyboards are great for Foley, as some contain some really cool stuff and some are able to take normal sounds and twist them into something completely new. Check out the (now obsolete) Roland Variphrase 9000 on the Roland web site (or eBay) sometime. It's the persons imagination not the tools that make it great.

Also multirack recording sytems like DigiDesign's Pro Tools make life a lot easier if you are making a real soundrack. They allow you to experiment until you get what you like and are realitively cheap. A Digi Mbox with 24 tracks is <$500 and the 002 with 32 tracks and an automated mixer is <$2500. Why spent all the money on a great camera and have a $29 PukeLE (er PeakLE) audio system for your killer soundtrack. Hopefully FCP4.0 will integrate some of Logic audio's horsepower in the next release.

my 2 cents
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Old November 25th, 2002, 08:20 PM   #17
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I don't know any schools up in Tokyo, but try placing an ad at some of them and maybe someone there will have a friend who can help you if you are looking for a non-rock and roll sound.
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Old November 26th, 2002, 11:41 AM   #18
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I have I friend in town were I live that works at a recording studio. He has scored pretty much everything that I have shot.

I was talking to him the other night about becoming a member here, simply to answer these types of questions.

I think this board is about due for a sound/music design forum. I also feel this would attract more members. What do you think?

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Old December 13th, 2002, 05:36 PM   #19
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Interesting post!

My first college degree was a Bachelors of Music in film composition. Sadly, for a variety of reasons, I never persued it. Until now!

Getting the video end of thing up and running in my happy little home-grown audio studio. Can't wait to compose my own music to my own videos for my own production company (small as it may be).

I can do the musical composition part just fine! It's the video recording, editing, rendering, etc. . . that I have to learn. And I'm enjoying every minute of this learning process! :)


Software to consider for midi/audio recording for film composition:

Emagic's Logic (sadly, they only make programs for the Mac usesers)
Steinberg's SX
Cakewalk's Sonar.
Sonic Foundry's Vegas Video 3 (except this program doesn't deal with midi. . .yet, at least.)

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Old December 14th, 2002, 10:22 AM   #20
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How about the actual process of scoring? Is there a certain method? Do you just watch the movie with your instrument of choice nearby and try to time the crescendos and um. . .anti-crescendos to fit onscreen action?
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Old December 14th, 2002, 11:36 AM   #21
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Hi John,

much like your experience I too have played. I used to play rythym, lead and bass guitars at some point in my distant past. Would program my own drum beats on a Roland 505. I also (in those days) had a Roland SCC-1 Sound Canvas Card and used Voyetra as an editing package.

I too have had this recent hankering to do my own (wildlife type stuff) as in so many instances I need to sync audio to video for max effect.

I have played around with the likes of Acid but don't like using their samples and find they curb creativity for what I want. I like the Pink Floyd kinda drama in music. More recently I have played around with some of the Cakewalk products and have found these to be a lot more useful, providing one has a rough idea of music. They are so fancy that by selecting a chord they will automatically transfer this to the treble clef with you having to know where each line goes. When complete many of them will actualy print your score.

Technology definitely has passed us by. My only concern is when one does all.....when dies one get time for sleep.

Good luck

PS : Some of the bottom end Roland MIDI keyboards have blown my mind and will go a long way. I just like that note for note control where I can choose exacly when the kick drum or snare comes in and how much effect if any I choose to apply.

Is DOUGLAS SPOTTED EAGLE on these forums? If so he would give the best advice. Perhaps Chris can coerce him to do a write up in the Watchdog
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Old December 14th, 2002, 12:51 PM   #22
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I'll second a vote for Douglas Spotted Eagle...
If you're not the lead dog...
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Old December 14th, 2002, 04:37 PM   #23
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Douglas Spotted Eagle said during one of his training tours that he uses Cakewalk SONAR for his composition work at home, and I think may use both SONAR and Acid for paying projects, depending on what fits the need.

If you enjoy the sample-based composition style of Acid, I'd also suggest checking out Ableton Live. It's sold through M-audio in the US, and features a similar style of dropping in samples and playing, except it is more DJ friendly, and can be played totally live, as a sampling/synthesizing instrument.

For scoring, both Sonic Foundry's Acid and Vegas products would do fine. Acid would make more sense for "building" music from samples and such, or with Vegas you can record a live track of guitar or another analog instrument. Both can record while playing back the video track at the same time.
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Old December 14th, 2002, 05:54 PM   #24
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I use a Roland Fantom and Cakewalk Pro Audio 9 to compose some music and sound effects. I have a friend who did the same thing, with a different el-cheapo keyboard and a Roland JV5080 sound processor. He now has been using synthetic samples for about 6 months and really likes it. The advantage for him is he can compose on his laptop anywhere he goes.
I have also used local bands for music and most will do it quite inexpensively if not for free. It is kind of a win-win in that case because you help each other out, you get the use of music and they get exposure.
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Old December 16th, 2002, 01:01 PM   #25
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Another setup that is popular is an external midi keyboard and Gigastudio. Gigastudio is a HardDrive based sampling program with lots of excellent sounding intruments. There is practically no limit to intrument sample size. I have the low end Gigastudio32 version that comes with their megapiano intrument and some excelent drum samples. I'ts windows only and allows you to record live to disk. I'm just learning how to use it properly and it's one of the most fun audio programs I've ever used.
BTW You need a sound card with Giga drivers. Don't even think about the Audigy series, look for true pro audio cards.

More info at

Prices range from under 100.00 for Gigastudio32 up to
several hundred for Gigastudio160.

I got the 32 version at Sam Ash for 79.00.
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