Old 07-21-2010, 12:06 PM   #1
DeyBwah
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Default Film Score with REAPER - Seeking Guidance

Hey all,

I recently met someone at a wedding who has a silent film that needs scoring. It's a 15 minute film, very Charlie Chaplin in production/style/humor.

I'm basically looking for any information or guidance regarding scoring a film with REAPER.

I'm interested to hear people who do film scores with REAPER to chime in with any resources(links) or advice.

I've yet to touch REAPER's video features. I'm in the dark regarding that, where do I begin?

Also, any tips or workflows in general for scoring a film is appreciated.


Here's how I'd like to approach the scoring. (all subject to change depending on responses here)

I want to load the film into REAPER. Bust out my VSTi and start searching for the sounds I know I'll be using in the score. I figure I'd take a good 3-5 runs through the film while searching for sounds.

Once I have all the sounds/instruments I think I'll need to lay down the majority of the score, I'll start a few scratch takes with the main instrument that will most likely be present through the whole film. I'm thinking this instrument will be a violin or strings or something like that. So I'll take a couple runs and get ideas.

The film has distinct cuts and scenes so I'll definitely be marking the timeline to organize the different scenes/cuts that will require a different emotion/feeling. I'll also definitely need to work on each scene individually but regardless, I still do want to do a few start-to-end takes as I mentioned, just to get the feel of how the scenes tie together.

It seems like scoring a film is a very complex project. I have so many beginner questions.

Should I work with a tempo/snap/grid?

How do I determine the tempo for a particular scene?

Are there hard and fast rules in the order/workflow for scoring? Or are there a billion ways to get to the end, like with regular music that's not a score for a film?

Man.. I don't even know what other questions I should ask... so that'll be my last question.. what else should I be asking?
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:47 PM   #2
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hi

if its a silent film then its likely the whole thing will need music with only small gaps of silence..so if its 15 minutes thats a lot of music to come up with..

my advice would be to approach it from an organic point of view. do what you suggested, which is put down rough 'feel' track on one particular instrument ( piano is usually best). this will give an idea where things need tempo changes, different moods etc..

id forget tempo, snap etc. but what i would do is create regions. go through the film looking for distinct scenes or changes of moods and create a region for each. ther maybe 20, 30 , 50 within those fifteen minutes!

ideally you need a 'theme' - a melody that runs through the film but changes according to scene. normally you would hear the the theme in its full form near the beginning of the film and then it would alter through the use of inversions and key/mode changes so that only a keen listener would realise its still from the original theme..

the tricky bit is getting the music from one scene to move smoothly into the next..but thats just trial and error, practice etc..

once youre happy with the melodies for each scene - bring in other instruments that match the scene..

hope that helps

good luck!
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:05 PM   #3
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Hey HerniaFace... lol..

Thanks for the great ideas.

I think I'll take your advice and use the Piano as the first instrument. I can always swap it out later, but you're right, Piano is the most neutral instrument I could use to figure out my melodies and motifs.

Also will take your advice on creating a region for each scene in the film. That should help me reduce the project into smaller bite-size pieces.

Of course, I'll still take a few one-shot throughs before I get down to the nitty gritty.

Anyone else have 2 pennies?
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Old 07-21-2010, 06:01 PM   #4
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Make sure the video item uses 'Time' as its basis, not bars and beats. See the item properties for that. Everything else can be Bars and Beats, but that should not be.

Keep the timeline offset and video locked. When you're talking to the director you have to be referencing the same timecodes after all .

Video item -> Time, not Bars and Beats
Timecode offset and video position locked.

It'll pay to have a template session with just the video and all the proper settings that you can just throw up, save as a new session and get composing with.
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Old 07-21-2010, 06:16 PM   #5
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Very first step is to watch the vid and drop markers down where important things happen as a reference.

One of the tricky things is setting up your tempo track so that your cues start where you want and run at the speed you want. Play with the "create measures from time selection" action to figure out how this works. Your music cues need to have beats/bars timebase, your sfx dialogue etc need time timebase. remember that any beats/bars stuf will change when you change the tempo track, so lay tempo from the start forward, if that makes sense!

REAPERs regions are cool - if you have a tempo change at the beginning of a region you can drag the region around and it will create fractional bars so that it starts where you want it and preserves the tempo of its contents

another cool feature (even if its not quite reado for prime time) for laying cues into a soundtrack is PiP. PiPs have their own tempo info, so you can record say 8 bars in a certain feel as its own project - open it in you soundtrack as a PiP, and you can scoot it around stretch it or whatever to lay it in without screwing up any stuff you have later.
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Old 07-22-2010, 02:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semiquaver View Post
>> another cool feature (even if its not quite reado for prime time) for laying cues into a soundtrack is PiP. PiPs have their own tempo info, so you can record say 8 bars in a certain feel as its own project - open it in you soundtrack as a PiP, and you can scoot it around stretch it or whatever to lay it in without screwing up any stuff you have later.

Can you elaborate a little more on your PiP techniques and it's uses. Am I following you right when you say a Project in a Project travels to another project and keeps it's tempo properties? How does this work when you "stretch" it? If you could explain with an example I would really appreciate it. I've never gotten into the PiP thing but this feature sounds pretty powerful and useful. Thanks!
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Old 07-23-2010, 01:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airon View Post
Make sure the video item uses 'Time' as its basis, not bars and beats. See the item properties for that. Everything else can be Bars and Beats, but that should not be.

Keep the timeline offset and video locked. When you're talking to the director you have to be referencing the same timecodes after all .

Video item -> Time, not Bars and Beats
Timecode offset and video position locked.

It'll pay to have a template session with just the video and all the proper settings that you can just throw up, save as a new session and get composing with.
I think I understand everything except that last sentence. What do you mean set up a template session? Could you elaborate on that?
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Old 07-23-2010, 02:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeyBwah View Post
I think I understand everything except that last sentence. What do you mean set up a template session? Could you elaborate on that?
He might mean have a shell session with the video track ready to go - so that you can "save as" different versions of it from then on.....?
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Old 07-23-2010, 02:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semiquaver View Post
Very first step is to watch the vid and drop markers down where important things happen as a reference.

One of the tricky things is setting up your tempo track so that your cues start where you want and run at the speed you want. Play with the "create measures from time selection" action to figure out how this works. Your music cues need to have beats/bars timebase, your sfx dialogue etc need time timebase. remember that any beats/bars stuf will change when you change the tempo track, so lay tempo from the start forward, if that makes sense!

REAPERs regions are cool - if you have a tempo change at the beginning of a region you can drag the region around and it will create fractional bars so that it starts where you want it and preserves the tempo of its contents

another cool feature (even if its not quite reado for prime time) for laying cues into a soundtrack is PiP. PiPs have their own tempo info, so you can record say 8 bars in a certain feel as its own project - open it in you soundtrack as a PiP, and you can scoot it around stretch it or whatever to lay it in without screwing up any stuff you have later.
Wow, this post went over my head a little bit... :/

What's a tempo track first of all?

And how do I lay the tempo from the start?

Is there some kind of Working w/Video REAPER guide anyone knows about?

A few terms I could use clarification on also...

Cue
Timebase
Tempo Track
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Old 07-23-2010, 02:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeyBwah View Post
What's a tempo track first of all?
.....isn't it like a click track in Pro Tools ?
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Old 07-23-2010, 02:05 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by YoRugMan View Post
He might mean have a shell session with the video track ready to go - so that you can "save as" different versions of it from then on.....?
So basically a project template?

I guess it wouldn't hurt to do so. But this is my first film score and I don't have any other film score projects in the pipeline. But ya, it wouldn't hurt to do so + I love REAPER templates!
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Old 07-23-2010, 02:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeyBwah View Post
So basically a project template?

I guess it wouldn't hurt to do so. But this is my first film score and I don't have any other film score projects in the pipeline. But ya, it wouldn't hurt to do so + I love REAPER templates!
Come to think of it, it's really a good practice for all project types I suppose, but matching audio to video is more delicate, and therefor warrants more careful setting up.
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Old 07-23-2010, 02:33 PM   #13
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Agreed. I like the old saying, measure twice, cut once.
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Old 07-23-2010, 02:42 PM   #14
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sorry: I'm using the word "cue" in the film scoring sense: each time music enters and plays for a little bit its called a cue. usually a director wits down with the composer and does what's called 'spotting': you talk about where the cues will start and stop and what their character should be. Reaper supports "media cues" which is another matter...

By tempo track I just meant tempo changes. Make sure the grid's visible. Make the master track visible and make the tempo map envelope visible on it. With the edit cursor set somewhere run the mousewheel up and down while hovering over the 'BPM' field and see what happens. The tempo will be changed from that point forward.

"Timebase" is how Reaper decides when events happen when the tempo changes. When the timebase is set to "time" then items are "anchored" to actual time, meaning minuts and seconds, so as you change the tempo, those items stay in the same position. Conversely when the timebase is set to "beats" then the item is anchored to the beats and bars and will move when the tempo moves.

try it out by throwing some items with timebase set to 'beats' or 'time in the edit then adding tempo changes as above.

For working with video there's a project setting to set the timebase for markers - you should set this to "time" so that your markers don't move around when you change the tempo. Now you can put a time signature marker right where you want a cue to start and the '1' will fall there regardless of what was happening before.

But the items within the cue - say a bass note or a snare hit, those will need to have timebase "beats" so that they will be in sync musically.

Reaper lets you set a default timebae, and also override that timebase for particular tracks or items.

fiddle with it and it will become clear...ish!
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Old 07-23-2010, 05:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semiquaver View Post
sorry: I'm using the word "cue" in the film scoring sense: each time music enters and plays for a little bit its called a cue. usually a director wits down with the composer and does what's called 'spotting': you talk about where the cues will start and stop and what their character should be. Reaper supports "media cues" which is another matter...

By tempo track I just meant tempo changes. Make sure the grid's visible. Make the master track visible and make the tempo map envelope visible on it. With the edit cursor set somewhere run the mousewheel up and down while hovering over the 'BPM' field and see what happens. The tempo will be changed from that point forward.

"Timebase" is how Reaper decides when events happen when the tempo changes. When the timebase is set to "time" then items are "anchored" to actual time, meaning minuts and seconds, so as you change the tempo, those items stay in the same position. Conversely when the timebase is set to "beats" then the item is anchored to the beats and bars and will move when the tempo moves.

try it out by throwing some items with timebase set to 'beats' or 'time in the edit then adding tempo changes as above.

For working with video there's a project setting to set the timebase for markers - you should set this to "time" so that your markers don't move around when you change the tempo. Now you can put a time signature marker right where you want a cue to start and the '1' will fall there regardless of what was happening before.

But the items within the cue - say a bass note or a snare hit, those will need to have timebase "beats" so that they will be in sync musically.

Reaper lets you set a default timebae, and also override that timebase for particular tracks or items.

fiddle with it and it will become clear...ish!
Thanks for clarifying those terms for me. Making more sense now.

I'll have to mess around with the stuff you mention over the weekend. I'm sure I'll have more questions, I hope you have more answers!

Just curious, do you score films often? Use REAPER? What's your story?
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Old 07-23-2010, 06:53 PM   #16
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I do a bunch of different things, one of them is scoring videos for visual artists - I do 4 or 5 films a year. I started using Reaper for sound to picture once they added the video capability on mac and its been great. Especially since they added video render which has made it relatively quick to show my employers stuff. And I've done complete sound work on some projects: sfx, foley, dialogue editing and music...

I also written some music for disney channel shows (though I don't do that to picture) and a couple of operas... I have a very few major label credits playing piano vibes arranging or editing (Tracy Chapman Leo Kotke The Circle Jerks).. And I've designed some sound installations for museums ... but mostly I make strange pop music ... some random selection of things of mine if yr curious: cdbzb.com cheers
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Old 07-25-2010, 04:32 PM   #17
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4-5 films a year seems like a good amount of scoring, is that really on the lesser side? (how fast to film score composers work?)

I just saw another thread concerning film scoring. Haven't had a chance to get in the studio this weekend.
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Old 07-25-2010, 04:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airon View Post
Make sure the video item uses 'Time' as its basis, not bars and beats. See the item properties for that. Everything else can be Bars and Beats, but that should not be.

Keep the timeline offset and video locked. When you're talking to the director you have to be referencing the same timecodes after all .

Video item -> Time, not Bars and Beats
Timecode offset and video position locked.

It'll pay to have a template session with just the video and all the proper settings that you can just throw up, save as a new session and get composing with.
Most importantly. Make sure you're running the same frame rate.
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Old 07-25-2010, 06:54 PM   #19
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No hard and fasts rules (Full symphony or just a rhythm section?) but... As a general rule good fast composers do about two minutes of completed music per day...depending on LOTS of variables of subject matter and instrumentation of course.
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:11 PM   #20
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I think I understand everything except that last sentence. What do you mean set up a template session? Could you elaborate on that?
Build universal templates and project specific templates. Whatever needs to be set up in advance, do it and save that session away as a template.

If you set things up right once, you can't make mistakes setting things up later. People get tired or sidetracked and make mistakes. Basic mistakes like getting the wrong frame rate going for the timecode in your session will not help, neither will lining up the video incorrectly in your timeline. This is why frame grids are so important.

Films work in reels(so far). TV shows don't. The picture cutters pretty much determine at what time code a show or its reels start. Most TV shows in Germany for example start at 10:00:00:00. Film reels start at 01:00:00:00 for reel one, and so on. PAL is 25 fps, NTSC 29.97, film 24, HDTV almost always 23.976(24-0.1% or 24*1000/1001). In the US film is sometimes telecined to 29.97, which is 24fps slowed down to 23.976, then 3:2 spread to produce a 29.97 video, and this is done for film editing or just for sound editing. It's a fun ride in the US. These days you get Quicktimes more often, and they're a lot more handy to use.

Communication with the picture department is absolutely essential. Golden rule. No way around it. The check is in your hands, not in the mail with these folks. A good relationship with them pays off. Need the current cut in a Quicktime H264 uploaded to your FTP site to check if your music still works with that version of the film ? You talk to those folks.
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:25 PM   #21
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I had to do a soundtrack for a 16mm film on a huge loop for the whitney biennial - we had to print LTC on the optical track of the film and sync digital audio playback for the the soundtrack. The edit was done in video... at 29.97 - the editors forgot that we were going to lay back to film. Not a huge deal but pulling up the audio degraded everything just a leetle...

OT side note: I had hoped to provide a mac mini with Reaper preinstalled chasing LTC but sadly Reaper does not do continuous sync! - had to add a MOTU interface generating Word Clock and MTC to get it working (added $800 to the budget!)
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Old 08-07-2010, 10:02 PM   #22
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This may be slightly OT (my apologies), but I tried loading a small 30 second clip (30 seconds indicated in the Reaper media explorer), but it seems to be stretching to 32 seconds once loaded to a track in Reaper. At first I thought it was a frame rate issue (which is probably wrong), but the length of the track doesn't seem to change as I adjust the frame rate settings.

Does anyone know what the cause of the issue is and/or a solution?

EDIT: just saw the tempo match option in the media explorer. "Tempo match off" imports the video with the correct length.

Last edited by pcartwright; 08-07-2010 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 08-07-2010, 10:31 PM   #23
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pcartwright, do you have "Tempo Match On" selected? I know this has wreaked similar havoc on ordinary audio files I have unwittingly inserted into mastering sessions.
I just tested with video file and sure enough it will adjust the playback speed of the file. Just my first hunch.

EDIT: I see I just missed the opportunity to be a hero... Glad you sorted it out.
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Old 08-08-2010, 04:00 PM   #24
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Ha ha, maybe you can still be the hero. I'm looking through tempo map, markers, regions, etc in the user guide, but there are a few things I still can't get my head around. Is there a way for Reaper to detect the "best tempo" given a series of markers? I'm not really talking about beat detector or even tempo mapping as I'm not trying to mark every beat/measure (just marking elements that need to be in time with music.

Also, I say "best tempo" as this is extremely subjective, but if I want the music to hit certain visual elements then it seems necessary to be able to generate a tempo (or at least a starting point) that puts these elements (using markers) in sync with the beat.

Does this make sense? Does anyone know of a piece of software that can do this (that is, if Reaper can't)?
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Old 08-08-2010, 06:05 PM   #25
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Default A few online tools

I found a few tools online to help calculate music hits:

http://web.forret.com/tools/bpm_tempo.asp
This gives you the times of various rhythmic durations based on a tempo and time signature.

http://www.fransabsil.nl/htm/eventhit.htm
This helps find an appropriate tempo for a cue with film elements that need to be synced as close as possible to the music. The only down side is that you're limited to a cue less than six minutes in length.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:24 PM   #26
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Default Tools for Film Scoring

Hey, so I'm busy doing a film score in Reaper right now, and it's quite easy once you get the hang of it. What I did is I created regions for each scene, labeling them all according to the script. I then created markers for each event that happens or requires Foley work (ie. animals attacking, sword fight, etc.). So when I'm scoring, I can quickly navigate through each scene with the SWS Marker List to see which parts are required. What gets me, though, is when you need to move your video and take the markers with it... is there a way to do this? There must be... can someone tell me??
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:00 AM   #27
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Guys, this is becoming a very informative thread! Let's continue this, any other people with film score experience in REAPER, feel free to drop by and say hello.

I was at a stand still on my score project this past week do to a major overhaul in my hardware. I'm all set up now and getting ready to move forward on my first film score finally.
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:16 PM   #28
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Firstly, here are a few links. The first is a document about Music to Picture. What's really cool is the link towards the bottom of that page to a freely downloadable Excel spreadsheet for a Cue Calculator. Its absolutely brilliant, and quite complex. http://www.richardbrice.net/cue_calc.htm

Here's another link with general info about film scoring. http://www.billyhalemusic.com/tips.html

The other thing I'd say is, perhaps after (or before) you've roughed out some melodies, etc., you might want to create a little temp track of music from other composers, along with old pieces that you've written for other projects. This will allow you to experiment very quickly with different styles of music and to learn what works and what doesn't and why. Temp tracks are very common in major film productions. They can help with feel, orchestration, tempo, style and texture decisions. Fortunately you're not dealing with dialog in this project, but temping out can still help.

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Old 08-09-2010, 11:23 PM   #29
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Hey Chris, thanks for sharing the links! Have you used that cue calculator before? Seems there may be somewhat of a learning curve on using that thing properly lol.

I really like that temp track idea! That'll be a great safety net if I get stuck. For this project, I do hear a very specific composition so I might try running with that. But to be honest, I have no idea what to expect as I've never scored video with my own composition. I've done the basic 'soundtrack' to video projects... never a film! This is a great opportunity and I'll try to keep ya'll updated of my progress along with what I learn.

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Old 08-10-2010, 12:16 AM   #30
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Firstly, here are a few links. The first is a document about Music to Picture. What's really cool is the link towards the bottom of that page to a freely downloadable Excel spreadsheet for a Cue Calculator. Its absolutely brilliant, and quite complex. http://www.richardbrice.net/cue_calc.htm

Here's another link with general info about film scoring. http://www.billyhalemusic.com/tips.html

The other thing I'd say is, perhaps after (or before) you've roughed out some melodies, etc., you might want to create a little temp track of music from other composers, along with old pieces that you've written for other projects. This will allow you to experiment very quickly with different styles of music and to learn what works and what doesn't and why. Temp tracks are very common in major film productions. They can help with feel, orchestration, tempo, style and texture decisions. Fortunately you're not dealing with dialog in this project, but temping out can still help.

Comfort
Hi, Chris.

Can you detail exactly HOW to go about setting the tempo track to another composition? Thanks.
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:22 AM   #31
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Can you detail exactly HOW to go about setting the tempo track to another composition? Thanks.
I can't really speak for Chris, but I think he's referring to a temp (as in temporary; not tempo track) track. This track, or tracks, are no more than other pieces, songs, or soundscapes added to the film (like a first draft) to help the composer and the director get a good idea of what the final music track should sound like.

I think it would be to any composer's advantage to try making the temp track as good as possible first; writing music to film when you have a similar piece already in place becomes easier and less stressful to complete.

Try adding music from soundtracks that you think would fit the film you're working on to a temp track to see if it fits. If it doesn't work, then try to analyze what doesn't work; figure out if it's an issue with tempo, harmony, texture, style, etc, and use that to your advantage when writing the actual film music.
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:01 AM   #32
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I can't really speak for Chris, but I think he's referring to a temp (as in temporary; not tempo track) track. This track, or tracks, are no more than other pieces, songs, or soundscapes added to the film (like a first draft) to help the composer and the director get a good idea of what the final music track should sound like.

I think it would be to any composer's advantage to try making the temp track as good as possible first; writing music to film when you have a similar piece already in place becomes easier and less stressful to complete.

Try adding music from soundtracks that you think would fit the film you're working on to a temp track to see if it fits. If it doesn't work, then try to analyze what doesn't work; figure out if it's an issue with tempo, harmony, texture, style, etc, and use that to your advantage when writing the actual film music.
You are correct pcartwright. That's exactly what I meant. I think "Temp" tracks are invaluable, especially when working with a client, whether they are knowledgeable about music or not. It gives a starting point, a frame of reference. Also, for beginners, which I still am, it can eliminate a lot of guess work, and of course the dreaded blank page.

I'm brand new to scoring in Reaper. In fact, I haven't even done my first scoring project in Reaper. I'm slowly making the transition from Cubase 5.5, which has a nice array of tools for film composers. So I'm still cutting my teeth. As for the Cue Calculator link, that is a tool that might be useful to more traditional composers. I've dabbled with it, but I've found that, between using my temp track to experiment with feel, tempo etc, and the tempo track tools and the options for constantly changing tempo, I have what I need without that Cue calc.

Comfort

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Old 08-10-2010, 01:33 PM   #33
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I can't really speak for Chris, but I think he's referring to a temp (as in temporary; not tempo track) track. This track, or tracks, are no more than other pieces, songs, or soundscapes added to the film (like a first draft) to help the composer and the director get a good idea of what the final music track should sound like.

I think it would be to any composer's advantage to try making the temp track as good as possible first; writing music to film when you have a similar piece already in place becomes easier and less stressful to complete.

Try adding music from soundtracks that you think would fit the film you're working on to a temp track to see if it fits. If it doesn't work, then try to analyze what doesn't work; figure out if it's an issue with tempo, harmony, texture, style, etc, and use that to your advantage when writing the actual film music.
This is very good advice. This is exactly what I do. But further, I might add - though trying to emulate other composers' works, if you sound too similar and the film is being sold, you are in violation of copyright laws. You are also not being original (unless you are remixing, in which case you still need the permission from the artist). Try to be original and take some common ideas from other pieces you hear. For example, you may notice that in slow, momentous scenes (a girl is crying because her dad dies) you will have a sustained (sustenuto, I believe) string section, layered with a tremolo string section, backed by piano chords in whole notes.

Pcartwright, I believe we may have discussed this before, but is there a way to "conduct" your score real-time like in Notion in Reaper?
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:35 PM   #34
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Pcartwright, I believe we may have discussed this before, but is there a way to "conduct" your score real-time like in Notion in Reaper?
Not yet; there are a few bug reports that you should vote for to help allow Notion to keep its own time/tempo controls in rewire mode:

http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.p...867#post562867
http://forum.cockos.com/project.php?issueid=2844
http://forum.cockos.com/project.php?issueid=2845

Do you know if there is a way to record your conducting in Notion? If so, you could run Notion3 as a stand-alone, record the tempo, export the MIDI file, and finally import the MIDI file into the given Reaper file (including tempo changes. However, it would be much easier if the above bug reports were corrected.
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:25 PM   #35
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the bummer with temp tracks though is that sometimes the director gets really attached to them and it can kind of bind your hands... I like to rough stuff out on piano but anyhow...
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Old 08-14-2010, 01:03 PM   #36
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Build universal templates and project specific templates. Whatever needs to be set up in advance, do it and save that session away as a template.

If you set things up right once, you can't make mistakes setting things up later. People get tired or sidetracked and make mistakes. Basic mistakes like getting the wrong frame rate going for the timecode in your session will not help, neither will lining up the video incorrectly in your timeline. This is why frame grids are so important.

Films work in reels(so far). TV shows don't. The picture cutters pretty much determine at what time code a show or its reels start. Most TV shows in Germany for example start at 10:00:00:00. Film reels start at 01:00:00:00 for reel one, and so on. PAL is 25 fps, NTSC 29.97, film 24, HDTV almost always 23.976(24-0.1% or 24*1000/1001). In the US film is sometimes telecined to 29.97, which is 24fps slowed down to 23.976, then 3:2 spread to produce a 29.97 video, and this is done for film editing or just for sound editing. It's a fun ride in the US. These days you get Quicktimes more often, and they're a lot more handy to use.

Communication with the picture department is absolutely essential. Golden rule. No way around it. The check is in your hands, not in the mail with these folks. A good relationship with them pays off. Need the current cut in a Quicktime H264 uploaded to your FTP site to check if your music still works with that version of the film ? You talk to those folks.
I've been busy setting up my rig and just finished all that a few days ago... FINALLY, I'm getting to the score... I'm so ready to start laying down ideas but I just wanted to make sure I have the project "set up" correctly...

So here's where I'm at.

I converted the video to WMV.

And I pulled it into REAPER on its own track.

And that's where I'm at! LOL. :P

Before I start marking cues and creating regions... I just wanted to make sure I'm not completely missing a critical point of set up. When you're talking about frame rates and lining up the timecode.. I won't pretend that doesn't scare me a bit. I mean, I'm not changing the frame rate or anything.. and the video appears to be playing normal speed. (not slower or faster in any way) Is there something I need to do or can I just jump in and start recording ideas?

Any information that may prevent me from ripping my hair out later is greatly appreciated!
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:34 PM   #37
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When you're talking about frame rates and lining up the timecode.. I won't pretend that doesn't scare me a bit. I mean, I'm not changing the frame rate or anything.. and the video appears to be playing normal speed. (not slower or faster in any way) Is there something I need to do or can I just jump in and start recording ideas?
I'm not exactly sure how this is done in Reaper, but you want to make sure the burn-in timcode on your video (your video does have burn in right??... where you see timecode running as you play the video), matches the timecode ruler in your reaper session. So, when your ruler says:

01:15:25:10,... your movie track is showing the EXACT same thing.
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Old 08-14-2010, 03:10 PM   #38
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I'm not exactly sure how this is done in Reaper, but you want to make sure the burn-in timcode on your video (your video does have burn in right??... where you see timecode running as you play the video), matches the timecode ruler in your reaper session. So, when your ruler says:

01:15:25:10,... your movie track is showing the EXACT same thing.
My video does not... :/
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Old 08-14-2010, 03:19 PM   #39
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I requested the video with burn in timecode. So as long as the Big Clock on REAPER matches the burn in on the timecode, I can start laying down music?

Is there any other "technical" variable that I need to assess that I'm not aware of? I did order some books on scoring but they won't arrive until next week... I wish there were a video scoring with REAPER guide somewhere with the steps to set up a project. :P
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:41 AM   #40
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I requested the video with burn in timecode. So as long as the Big Clock on REAPER matches the burn in on the timecode, I can start laying down music?

Is there any other "technical" variable that I need to assess that I'm not aware of? I did order some books on scoring but they won't arrive until next week... I wish there were a video scoring with REAPER guide somewhere with the steps to set up a project. :P
benmrx is right if you are working in a pro environment, but having timecode is not an absolute necessity. So far, I've scored a short film, a feature length film and a horror film trailer (in Cubase, before I started diving into Reaper, not that it matters) without any kind of "burned in" timecode. I have and will always set my project settings to match the settings of the Quicktime file that I'm given to work off of, and will always make reference to the code in hours:minutes:seconds:frames when discussing and emailing regarding these projects. And I'm not saying timecode isn't the better way, but if you're working on an amateur or casual project with people who aren't dealing with technicalities at that level, you can get around it.

Even with the feature film (101 minutes running time) I compiled the individually rendered cues into a new projects that had the full length film video file and the director and I placed the cues against the film. I then rendered out a 101 minute long stereo wave file at 44.1/16 bit and gave it to him on a USB drive. This included just the music; the dialog was muted during render. Mind you, I wrote about 40-45 minutes of actual music, so there are several empty gaps in this rendered file. Its a bit archaic I suppose but it was simple and straight to the point.

Side note: I believe the standard for video is 48/16, but it kinda doesn't matter until the film editor combines everything together on his NLE (in this case Final Cut Pro) and renders out the full quality video/audio file to be burned onto DVD. I wrote all the music in a 44.1/24 bit project, as I usually always do.

I'm sure I will get more technical as the work requires as timecode is a powerful tool and will only serve to help my work, but I want to, and suggest that you stay flexible and simple for smaller projects when its better.

Another side note: I think the general practice is to break larger projects into 10-15 minute segments, avoiding splitting in the middle of an actual musical cue. I learned that the hard way with that feature film.

Comfort
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