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Topic: Film music and separating scenes with different tempo withing a project

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  1. #1

    Film music and separating scenes with different tempo withing a project

    Hi guys!

    I've been doing some film music with Ableton Live and I've run into a problem.

    How do you deal with different scenes and tempo changes withing a sequencer project (no matter which sequencer)?

    I mean, let's assume I have a 3-scene-film. I first compose scene 2 and then start to work on the 1st scene. But now when I realize that I have to set the tempo for the 1st scene to something totally different, the scene 2 "moves" to a different place since changing the tempo before it makes it move to some direction in relation to the video track.

    Soooo.. my question is: how should the film-music-workflow go when working on a video? Should I have different projects for each scene? They still often use same instruments and it would be much more handy to have the whole film as one.

    Any ideas, suggestions? How to deal with the tempo and different scenes?

  2. #2

    Re: Film music and separating scenes with different tempo withing a project

    Quote Originally Posted by karvasika
    Hi guys!

    I've been doing some film music with Ableton Live and I've run into a problem.

    How do you deal with different scenes and tempo changes withing a sequencer project (no matter which sequencer)?

    I mean, let's assume I have a 3-scene-film. I first compose scene 2 and then start to work on the 1st scene. But now when I realize that I have to set the tempo for the 1st scene to something totally different, the scene 2 "moves" to a different place since changing the tempo before it makes it move to some direction in relation to the video track.

    Soooo.. my question is: how should the film-music-workflow go when working on a video? Should I have different projects for each scene? They still often use same instruments and it would be much more handy to have the whole film as one.

    Any ideas, suggestions? How to deal with the tempo and different scenes?
    Tempo freeze...... .
    "Music is the shorthand of emotion." Leo Tolstoy

    Listen to me, tuning my triangle http://www.box.net/shared/ae822u6r3i

  3. #3

    Re: Film music and separating scenes with different tempo withing a project

    ...really...? Is there such a thing? Or are you kidding me?

    How are professionals doing this? Like.. when composing in Sibelius for example. Do you make it scene by scene or how do you attach the final scene to the video so that it won't move when you edit something before it?

  4. #4

    Re: Film music and separating scenes with different tempo withing a project

    Hi, karvasika

    Wow--You're trying to write the score to a film as one big cue - ? Even though you're using the same set of instruments for each segment, I don't see how you could work with any precision without dividing things up into Many cues. Changing the tempo on the first segment you're talking about shouldn't be changing the position of your second segment - they clearly have to be discreet, separate cues. It's something like putting together a full CD of songs - changing the tempo of one song shouldn't change the tempo of the other songs.

    You need to be moving mixes into a good sound editor also - how can you not do all that in small segments, then melding and mixing things together as needed into the video sound track.

    You seem to have the answer to your own question in the post - you're realizing that even a short video may call for Many, perhaps hundreds of units--cues. --It was kind of--breathtaking to see you describe trying to do it as one huge non-stop project--!

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  5. #5

    Re: Film music and separating scenes with different tempo withing a project

    I have one big project but don't care for the tempo which is always set to 120 bpm.
    All your strings belong to me!
    www.strings-on-demand.com

  6. #6

    Re: Film music and separating scenes with different tempo withing a project

    Quote Originally Posted by Hannes_F
    I have one big project but don't care for the tempo which is always set to 120 bpm.
    Hi! This would be ok if I didn't need to record with metronome and quantize.

    Thanks for all the answers. I was hoping I could do something like this in one project (at least for a short film), but like you pointed out, it seems even a small short film has many "scenes".

    So just design the music, then split to scenes and go for it and then mix down the final stuff when the scenes are ready?

  7. #7

    Re: Film music and separating scenes with different tempo withing a project

    I'm not familliar with Live, so I can't help you there.

    But just to tell you how I do it with Sonar. First of all I compose each "cue" in a seperate sonar project. A cue is a piece of music that has a beginning and and end. Usually, a single cue maps to a single scene, but it depends on what you mean when you say "scene" and if the plan is to have solid music going across more than one scene, then it becomes trickier.

    So far this has nothing to do with tempo changes though, it has more to do with just breaking up the project into manageable chunks that I can work with in Sonar. If the cues get too long, then it becomes very difficult to get the tempos exactly right.

    At any rate, for me, even within a single cue, I have several tempo changes that usually always have to occur. Sometimes they are to purposefully change the feeling of the cue(because of a scene change that the cue is crossing into), or perhaps they are slight tempo adjustments the listener will hardly notice but helps to keep important hit points lined up on beats for the remainder of the cue.

    In sonar this is accomplished simply on the conductor track which is where meter and tempo changes are set as events and effect playback. Does Live not have this capability?

    It starts to get tricky to figure out when, where and how much to change the tempo so that hit points line up. But that is film scoring.
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  8. #8

    Re: Film music and separating scenes with different tempo withing a project

    Thanks, this is what I was after! Yea, Live has a master tempo-track. It's good to hear others are having problems with this matter too since I thought there was some universal solution to this kinda dilemmas..

    I'll try this approach on the next project, splitting things up a bit.

    What about when you're supposed to have a continuous music from scene to scene, how do you work then?

  9. #9

    Re: Film music and separating scenes with different tempo withing a project

    I almost always use a seperate project for each scene.

    On one occasion, there two short scenes that were thematically related, and the director wanted a continuous thread of music from one to the next, but not necessarily the same music. To complicate it further, he wanted the music before the final cut of the scenes had been made, and I didn't know how long the transition would be between the scenes. I solved this by ending the first cue with a long held note that musically overlapped with the second cue. It didn't matter how long the overlap was (within about a 8 second window, anyway), it would still work musically. Then I gave the director syncronization direction for each scene individually. It worked out quite well in the end.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  10. #10

    Re: Film music and separating scenes with different tempo withing a project

    If you have music cross several scenes, then yea..its probably like a longer cue that crosses two or more scenes. If you want the music to continue and want the tempo to change than its fine, you just have to compose to a tempo change in a musical way. If you are only using electronic instruments this is easier. If you plan to use real players then you have to take into consideration how they will follow the tempo changes..basically make sure to hold a sustained note for everyone for a few clicks when the tempo changes.

    However, it cannot be stressed enough that if you can break up the project into a few smaller "cues", instead of one long continuous cue, it will be a lot easier. If the film director wants non-stop music from start to end, then you could either make it one long, huge cue....or.....you could make several cues and find places in the film where you could sustain a chord or something in a musical way and let the post production engineer cross fade the two cues end to end.

    One cue I did recently, starts with a high sustained note for 3 bars by the violions. The plan is for the engineer to cross fade that over the top of what the previous cue is ending with. Its not printed yet. In the same cue, ~16 bars later I hit a chord, sustain on it, and drastically take a tempo change of like 15 BPM faster into a new section of music. This is because of a scene change within the scene that is drastic enough to warrant this, so it goes to a new tempo with new feeling and new music, but the music never stopped. It is still within one cue. And by the way, it will be performed by real players.

    However if you can find logical places in the film to seperate as seperate cues, then you can attack each cue on its own. Working out the timings would be simply insane beyond about 3-4 minutes. When working with real players its difficult to expect them to follow a click track for that long either.
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

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