What will happen to your music?
A sad but true story - "The sound mixer guy"
- At the end of the movie making process, there is a sadistic guy who is called the Sound Mixer guy.
- He is your enemy! Beware!
- Sound mixing
- When the movie is edited and your film score is finished, the sound mixer guy goes into a movie theater and listens to the motion picture and mixes the 100 tracks of audio down to just 5 tracks or less.
- As he mixes the audio, he also adjusts the volume of your music tracks.
- The director and the producer are also in the room. But it is the sound mixer guy who is in charge.
- "Turn that volume down"
- When the director of the motion picture says, "Let's listen to the words of the actors here", a red flag goes off in the mind of the sound mixer guy. He instantly grabs the dials and he turns the volume of your beautiful music down drastically (while he wears an evil grin of pleasure.)
- Similarly, when the director says, "Gee, I really like that sound effect", the sound mixer guy eagerly graps the volume dial for your music and turns it way down low.
- All your beautiful music is just a few dull clinks in the background. No one will ever hear your wonderful music because the sound mixer guy turned down the volume.
- The solution
- Don't give him that opportunity. Start with very delicate music so no one will say, "turn that volume down!!!"
Music behind the dialog
- Background music is music which plays quietly in the background while dialog or other sounds play much louder in the foreground.
Requirements for background music
- Background music must be all of these:
- 1. Low volume.
- The music must be very soft before you give it to the sound mixer guy.
- Don't do this by turning the volume down just before you export your music, but rather by DESIGNING your music to be played very softly. Do this by using a very low velocity when you score for the background.
- 2. Use nothing that goes boom
- No snare drums, high hat, or anything which can interfere with listening to the dialog. If it goes bang, bump. pluck, or thump, don't use it when people are talking. That includes Pizzicato violins, too.
- 3. Different pitch
- The musical instruments must not be the same frequency as the actor's dialog.
- 4. Panned left and right
- The dialog always comes from the center speaker. (For stereo, the dialog comes equally from both speakers. A long time ago, this was not true. But because of television, the audience prefers that the dialog comes from the middle of the screen.)
- Therefore, you must pan your musical instruments of background music to either the left or right so the music will not step on the dialog.
The music between the dialog
- Go for it!
- Foreground music can be anything you want. (There is an exception. See below about "too many notes".)
- As long as there is absolutely no dialog, your music can be as loud as you want.
Think about this!
- Editing for conversations
- You can only place foreground music between the sentences of the dialog. But during a conversation, the actors talk continuously. That leaves no room for you to place music between the sentences.
- Therefore, if you want to add more music, the scene requires special editing to create more room for your music. In this lesson, you will see an excellent example of this.