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Re: OT: final mixing and mastering of film score....hints?

No request for mix by stems from the producer? If the team doing the
film mix is good that can help out the music to sound better in the

> Any more "live making" techniques?

I think the general "holy graal" in mixing recorded music is
side-chaining. The reason for that belief is that this comes closest
to how our ears and brains make us experience the sound of real music,
when heard on location rather than through a recording. The brain is
capable of focusing on many simultaneous details of what we're hearing
and then de-code these impressions by super fast analysis of early
reflections by the acoustic environment. This is why we can follow a
soft sound although surrounded by loud noise. All this doesn't work in
a recording medium (since there are no environmental reflections
except for the listening room related to the two speakers). And I
think side-chaining is a good way to fake it in a recording.
Technically you set up a routing in a mixer where certain sounds
affect other sound, by volume or timbre. The idea is that when one
instrument makes a sound that is important for the music, some other
instruments back off a bit to make room. This is actually how
musicians in an ensemble do play together, to "live perform
side-chaining" ;-)  It's all about making as many details as possible
dynamically related. They already are so, in a strictly musical sense
- because if not the music would suck - but I'm talking more
"sound-wise" here. A great metaphor to get started is to listen to the
music as inter-playing frequency bands. Step one is to find out what
particular bands make sense to juggle with and step two is to juggle
them nicely, putting back the organic element.

Another general tip:
you might want to make the stereo perspective extreme, because there
may come sync sound and dialog in the middle. There are plugins to
broaden or narrow a stereo image but you can do it manually as well
(with better control) by setting up this routing matrix: Clone the
signal into three channels. Revers stereo image for channel one, phase
invert and lower the level a tiny bit for channel two and make channel
three mono. Now, these three channels is your tool to achieve all
kinds of stereo perspective, from the broadest that sounds wider than
physical speaker positions to a punchy and focused up-your-face mix,
and you get full mono compatibility in the package. The process also
opens up for tricks like processing different parts of the stereo
image differently (level balancing, EQ, compression).

Greetings from Sweden

Per Boysen

On Sun, Feb 12, 2012 at 11:32 AM, mark francombe <mark@markfrancombe.com> 
> No looping content hence OT. (there IS some looping in the music Im
> discussing, but thats not to point.
> Background: I am in the middle of producing my first "proper" film score.
> (Scoring music for short corporate films is my day-job, but this is ART!)
> Not a big production (ok a very small production, in France) so no budget
> foe calling int some professionals.
> I am pretty happy (musically) with the score so far. And prettu happy 
> with
> the sound choices and sampling I have done. Its mostly orchestral in  
> genre,
> but quite minimal, with a few uses of unusual instruments, to weird it 
> up a
> bit.
> My question regards the final stages I am approaching now. In order to 
> give
> it a "live" feel or less programmed feel, both in terms of final 
> programming
> tweaks and eq/effects tweak. What Hits or Tricks would some of you Prs 
> use..
> I know some of you are either extremely advanced in recording techiniques
> (per etc, who I would like to thank for almost 24 hour email service when
> Ive been stuck with things.) or professional composers (Daniel Im 
> thinking
> of here now.. I think.. terrible with names).
> Things I doing right now..:
> 1. tweaking attack times on strings... the first attack of a legato 
> section
> can be a long attack but sounds more natural on follow up notes to have
> little or no attack.
> 2. Moving "top" lines of string sections to be there own solo 
> instruments,
> the string parts were all written with a generic ensemble patch, but its
> better to move the highest musical melody line to a solo viola or solo
> violin patch.
> 3. indivisually increasing amounts of velocity of notes.
> 4. My sample allows for slight random variations in pitch and volume 
> (pitch
> can get a bit far out, but is ok in sections)
> Any more "live making" techniques?
> The next process (that I am terrible at... always use to use an engineer
> for) is mixing.. I really want to make all the music sit well together, I
> expect that the Film Director will drop the music VERY low in the mix 
> ofr my
> tastes, and often what tends to happen with my mixes, is that one hears 
> instrument stick out above the films mix. Do I REALLY want to slap a big 
> old
> compressor on the end.. It ruins the mix for me! And the music sounds 
> good
> loud.. how can I avoid this instrument seperation... I feel its This
> problem, that (if im not careful, I dont think Im in this ball park yet )
> can make a good piece of music start sounding all  er.. "General Midi- 
> ish"
> Reverb?? I usually like to use as few different reverbs as possible, just
> one short one, for increasing the size of instruments, and one Hall 
> reverb
> to emulate that all the instruments are in the same room. Is this the 
> right
> approach?
> Any other tips of tricks.. ( feel like theres a  professionals trick Im
> missing here) Like someone with say " Well Mark, you HAVE cut the whole 
> mix
> at 1k havent you? and boosted the Sub?
> Its very hard to guage, the film dialog mix is terrible at the moment, 
> all
> different levels (even jumps from left to right haa ha.. with lots of
> background noise (wind in trees mostly)
> The final job is to score music ontop of a song that an actress sang 
> live on
> set... yikes.. no click track microphone walked all the way around her
> following the camera... think Im gonna have to go to Paris and get her to
> dub it.
> All hints n tips will be very much appreciated..
> MArk
> --
> Mark Francombe
> www.markfrancombe.com
> www.ordoabkhao.com
> http://vimeo.com/user825094
> http://www.looop.no
> twitter @markfrancombe
> http://www.flickr.com/photos/24478662@N00/