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  #1  
Old 11-12-2002, 06:13 AM
RJ RJ is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Woodbridge,CT.,USA
Posts: 126
Default Scoring Project, Oh NO!!!!

Hi all,

I just got a call to do some scoring for a 1 hour video, they heard some of my music and thought I would fit. I said yes and that's where the problem starts. I think I might bag this whole thing seeing the amount of time I have is short to complete the project.

Here's the deal, I don't have much experience on Sound for video, syncing ect...... If this is to much I need to find out soon, so I can let them know. I will list the gear I have and if you could tell me how I get these to connect and work and need to purchase that would be great. They told me they would deliver the video on VHS, do they ussually send it with some sort of timecode or is this something I add?

This is what I have-
G4 400mhz. 1gig RAM
PT 5.1.3 Mix+ and 888/24
MOTU Midi Timepiece 8X8
Bunch of samplers and synths.

I also have a Pentium 2.0ghz. w/512 of RAM
Vegas Video 2.0 ( used it a couple times )

These 2 machines are not connected but if they needed to I could get them connected

I have an extra sony 15" TV and both machines have monitors.

Thanks,
R.J.
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  #2  
Old 11-12-2002, 07:12 AM
Lee Blaske Lee Blaske is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: Minneapolis, MN U.S.A.
Posts: 3,625
Default Re: Scoring Project, Oh NO!!!!

If time is short and you really don't know page one of putting music to picture, I'd say bag it. You'll do less damage to your reputation if you turn down the job rather than attempting to do it, not making the deadline, and forcing your client to scramble to get the job done.

Then, if you're actually interested in doing this work, you can start the education process to teach yourself how to score to picture (it's not something that can be thoroughly described in a reasonably short answer in this sort of forum).

Hardware wise, the biggest thing you need is either a PCI card (Miro DC-30+, Aurora Fuse, etc.) or Firewire device (Dazzle, Canopus, etc.) for capture and playback of video. Then, you need to acquire and learn the software for making transfers (Premiere, Final
Cut Pro, iMovie, etc.). The basic sync to picture info is in your ProTools software documentation. You'll also probably need to add to your hard disk configuration for QT file playback.

It's not exactly brain surgery, but it's not a walk in the park. Doing the study, practice and equipment acquisition, though, is something that should be done before you open your door to this sort of business.

Lee Blaske
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  #3  
Old 11-12-2002, 07:52 AM
Wayne Wayne is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Lagrange Ga
Posts: 100
Default Re: Scoring Project, Oh NO!!!!

RJ,

I don't know if I'd be so quick to turn something like this down.....sounds like you're intrigued.....and just a little scared......but that could be a sign that this is something you might be really good at!

You have the most important ingredient that you need.....they already like your music....and they already think your music would fit the project....so all you have to do is figure out how to make it all happen.

Since you need to learn how to do audio/video projects....this could be your best opportunity to learn how.....you'll never learn how to swim if you don't get in the water and try.

I would suggest that you take on a partner on this project, who knows the ins and outs of audio/video.....pay them a large portion of the money you would have made.....and in the process, you'll be learning from them all the things you'll need to know in order to take on the next project by yourself......this is really no different than you deciding to go out and pay to take a course on this....you're merely taking advantage of the timing......you can be learning on the job, applying your musical skills as needed, letting you're partner take care of the stuff that's over your head and the end result will be that you'll get the credit, the client will be pleased and ready to come to you again for future projects.

There are many tales out there of greats in the business that started out this way......I mean everybody has to be a beginner once! [img]images/icons/cool.gif[/img]
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Old 11-12-2002, 08:17 AM
RJ RJ is offline
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Default Re: Scoring Project, Oh NO!!!!

Thanks, sooooo much Wayne, Lee made me feel like an idiot! I think I would really enjoy this. I love music! This client called me, not me calling him. But my big question is did I have the gear to acomplish this project without having to spend thousands of dollars and 100 hours of setup, but what it sounds like to me from Lee is that I need a video capture card and set my machine up for QT. And of course a good instructional book how to sync, which is my biggest worry. I will get more information from the client tonight as to how he would like me to deliver the finished product.

Thanks Wayne!
R.J.
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  #5  
Old 11-12-2002, 09:36 AM
Lee Blaske Lee Blaske is offline
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Default Re: Scoring Project, Oh NO!!!!

Quote:
There are many tales out there of greats in the business that started out this way......I mean everybody has to be a beginner once!
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">It's a lot less stressful, though, to be a beginner when you're not facing a deadline. One hour of music is a LOT of music, even if you've got all the technical/equipment issues covered. On a first-time outing, there are a lot of pitfalls and places where things can get screwed up royally. There's a fair amount to learn. It would certainly be easier to start off with shorter pieces (30 or 60 second spots, for instance) and work your way up.

Then again, if the client is using a musically savvy editor, a lot of things can be fixed. Pray that the client doesn't ask for the project to be delivered in one contiguous chunk on TC DAT.

I don't mean to be overly negative, but I do think that RJ should know that he's potentially biting off more than he can chew. The short deadline is the killer. If time were not a factor, it wouldn't be as much of a nail biter. Wayne, I think your thought of hiring a knowledgeable engineer is a great idea. It would remove a lot of the worry, and also be a great education opportunity for RJ.

In the end, this will either be a baptism by fire, or will make a great story years from now. Of course, there are other factors. Scoring music to picture is always more time consuming than simply making music that doesn't have to meet picture obligations, but depending on the music, there can be many levels of difficulty. Will this be complex/dramatic music, or lots of atmospheres/loops? Does the music need to catch a lot of things? Is it all samplers/synths or live musicians? Also, how picky or difficult is the client? Will you hit a home run, or will they ask for a lot of changes/revisions? On a video that lasts one hour, that can get pretty crazy.

Let us know how it comes out, RJ. Say, maybe you could hire Mixerman to engineer it, and he could start diary #2. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

Lee Blaske
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  #6  
Old 11-12-2002, 10:33 AM
tzujan tzujan is offline
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Default Re: Scoring Project, Oh NO!!!!

Quote:
Scoring music to picture is always more time consuming than simply making music that doesn't have to meet picture obligations.
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">I couldn't disagree with this statement more. It took me a year to write my first 40+ minute orchestral work. The first film I scored, I was given 4 weeks to score 52 minutes of music for full orchestra. Working to picture narrows the possibilities and the deadline forces decisiveness. Not to mention, I am still second guessing my symphony, where as the film is done!

RJ as far as not having enough time to finish the project - there is never enough time to finish a project! Typically, I loose one to two nights of sleep on every project I do. You have to be organized. Divide the number of minutes of music by the number of days (minus the days required for recording/mixing) this will let you know where you have to be at the end of the day. If you are short on any day, things will spiral out of control. Meet your daily deadlines and you will be fine. Discipline is essential.

As far as the gear goes you are fine. If they require a delivery format that you cant provide then rent the gear for the mix. In addition to what you have listed you will need to see the dub of the film. Many of us work with VHS with both BITC (bit-see - burned in time code that you can see) and LTC (linear time code) on an audio channel. You can also use just a video tape and a stop watch, that is how it was done for years.

I say go for it - these opportunities are few and far between. Seize the day and give them your best!

Good luck!
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  #7  
Old 11-12-2002, 10:38 AM
scottgreiner scottgreiner is offline
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Default Re: Scoring Project, Oh NO!!!!

If the editor can supply you with Quicktime movies with visual timecode, it will save you the trouble of capturing and the expense of owning a professional video deck. If you can deliver mixes as sound files, you'll save the expense of a timecode DAT machine.

Spend that saved money on an experienced engineer/consultant to help you out with the details when you need it.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
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  #8  
Old 11-12-2002, 10:52 AM
RJ RJ is offline
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Location: Woodbridge,CT.,USA
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Default Re: Scoring Project, Oh NO!!!!

Thank you guy's so much,

TZUJAN, question when you are talking about burned in time code, Is that supplied with the VHS tape they send? If so do I sync up PT with that? Also When you are talking about linear will that be the time code that I produce in my PT system to add or work along to the QT Movie then send them the audio with time code?

Scott, I will definitly ask them if they can it in QT w/Time code, thanks for the info.

Thanks,
R.J.
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  #9  
Old 11-12-2002, 10:59 AM
RJ RJ is offline
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Default Re: Scoring Project, Oh NO!!!!

Hi all,
I just got off the phone with the producer, I think there is some good news,

He just told me that the music editor would prefer it in a PT session, he builds his sessions for the hour with that, or they said I can send them split out tracks on a Sony PCM-800 not sure what that is. He said the big thing to the editor is he just likes things in formats that give him flexibility over the music, my guess would be a PT session to me! Now do I just incode the session with time code to the QT movie? and leave it like that, with the video in the session?

Thanks for all your help,
R.J.
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  #10  
Old 11-12-2002, 11:05 AM
Lee Blaske Lee Blaske is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: Minneapolis, MN U.S.A.
Posts: 3,625
Default Re: Scoring Project, Oh NO!!!!

Quote:
I couldn't disagree with this statement more. It took me a year to write my first 40+ minute orchestral work. The first film I scored, I was given 4 weeks to score 52 minutes of music for full orchestra. Working to picture narrows the possibilities and the deadline forces decisiveness. Not to mention, I am still second guessing my symphony, where as the film is done!
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Very funny. Deadlines are a great motivator. If you would have had a four week deadline for your symphony, it would be done, too. Ultimately, this is one of best reasons for death having been invented. If we humans had forever to do whatever we were going to do, we'd never get anything done.

Regarding finishing music on deadline, the way the big guys do it is to throw as many people as needed at the project to get things done. John Williams scratches out a melody line, it's handed over to an orchestrator to flesh out, the orchestrator distributes the score to copyists. Engineers, assistants, contractors, musicians all do their thing like a well oiled machine.

You guys are all making me feel like a glass-half-full pessimist. Hopefully, RJ asked for a big enough budget to hire/rent all the people, gear and outside studio time needed. Personally though, if it were me, and I was planning to do it alone, and I had never worked with video, and I had never worked with fitting music to picture, and I hadn't even begun to research, buy, set-up, configure and test the equipment I'd be using, I'd be sweating bullets.

What would be really nice in this situation would be one of those hats of ancient knowledge like they had in one of the original episodes of Star Trek. In the episode I'm thinking of, aliens captured Spock and stole his brain. The Enterprise crew got his brain back, but reinstalling the Vulcan brain was beyond their current technology. To rectify the situation, Bones put on the ancient hat of wisdom that the aliens had left, and after a number of seconds of flashing lights, suitable sound effect, and yes, some writhing in intense agony, Bones emerged from the hat with a serene look on his face and said to the captain, "It's so simple, Jim, even a child could do it. Even a CHILD could do it!" After that, he got right down to the project with another moment wasted.

I believe the hat of ancient wisdom is only available with the deluxe version of Digidesign's AV option. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

One other tip for RJ: If you are thinking you'll hire an experienced engineer to deal with all the technical issues, it's probably a good idea to have that person make the phone call to discuss all the format and delivery needs. That discussion will rapidly turn into talk of data rates, compression schemes, codecs, resolution, etc., and if you're unfamiliar with these things, it will be quickly apparent to the person on the other end. It could send up warning flags for the client.

Lee Blaske
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