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Recording and Mixing Music: Get that Hollywood Film Score Sound! Presented by John Rodd Music Recording Engineer Music Mixing Engineer Music Mastering.

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Presentation on theme: "Recording and Mixing Music: Get that Hollywood Film Score Sound! Presented by John Rodd Music Recording Engineer Music Mixing Engineer Music Mastering."— Presentation transcript:

1 Recording and Mixing Music: Get that Hollywood Film Score Sound! Presented by John Rodd Music Recording Engineer Music Mixing Engineer Music Mastering Engineer

2 TOPICS  Human Perception of Music  Recording, Mixing and Mastering by Yourself  How to Fake an Orchestra on a Small Budget  Microphones, Recording Levels and Acoustics  Live Orchestral Score “The Golden Compass”

3 Perception  Many audio processes increase the apparent volume (boosting EQ, compression).  The brain prefers the louder sound.  Is the QUALITY of sound increasing, or just the VOLUME?  Blind, level-matched comparisons remove our own inherent biases.

4 What does a Music Recording Engineer Do?  knows where to place the mics  knows how to set up the ensemble  understands recording studio acoustics

5 What does a Music Mixing Engineer do?  blends the recorded audio tracks with any virtual instruments  uses EQ, compression, reverb, delay effects, volume, panning, etc.  may create various sub-mixes (“stem mixes”) if required

6 If Recording Music by Yourself  Make sure peaks are no more than two- thirds up on each multitrack channel meter.  Using conservative audio levels yields superior results & costs zero dollars.  RED = BAD  go microphone -> preamp -> recording DAW

7 A Note About Acoustics  Record in the best acoustic environment you have.  Any instrument or singer recorded in a closet sounds like…… they are in a closet.

8 If Mixing Music by Yourself  Reference commercial CDs from a similar genre.  Overuse of extreme EQ and extreme compression can spoil a mix.  When applying EQ or compression - listen to how each audio track sounds with the rest of the mix, not just in 'solo'.

9 Being Able to Hear your Mix  Make sure your listening environment is acoustically treated.  Listening environments are generally most problematic in the bass frequencies.  Bass builds up in the corners of the room.  Lightweight foam is good for packing hard-drives, but not for taming bass frequencies

10 Virtual Instrument Libraries  Vienna, Miroslav, Sonic Implants, East West, Garritan, MOTU, etc.  QUESTION: Which is the best one to buy?  ANSWER: As many different libraries as possible.

11 How to Fake an Orchestra on a Small Budget  Hire a live musician to layer with the virtual.  Make sure you pre-approve this with the client.  Make sure you have proper contracts and releases in place.

12 Microphone Tips  A harsh, brittle sounding microphone will impart that sound to everything.  Sometimes the best microphone to use costs only $100 (for example, an SM 57).  Don’t be afraid to experiment with microphone placement.

13 Recording Studio Acoustics on a Big Scale  The live orchestral score for Sega’s “The Golden Compass” was recorded at Warner Bros scoring stage in Los Angeles.  The brass was proportionally large compared to the strings in both number of players and orchestration.  Microphone choice and placement was used to minimize the brass leakage into the string mics.

14 Sega’s The Golden Compass Warner Bros Scoring Stage

15 Baffles Used to Control the Brass Leakage

16 Surround Music Mixing Tips  Keep the orchestra in front of you.  Avoid the "exit sign" effect.  An extra reverb return from synth pads works well in the surrounds.  Make sure you have your mix delivery specifications written in your contract.

17 Music Mastering  99% of all commercial CDs are mastered.  Mastering often utilizes EQ, compression, and "look ahead" peak limiting.  Too much of any of these processes can harm the sound.  Be sure to compare your work to others in the same genre.

18 m Music Recording Engineer Music Mixing Engineer Music Mastering Engineer


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