(Ch. 5) Sound Advice

The GWU Film Critic

“What we hear on screen gives auditory clues to our brains and works in concert with what we actually see, and in essence, that unique collaboration provides meaning for the viewer.”

– Benny MacGyver, Award-winning film sound designer

The importance of understanding sound design and the use of music is something that directors think about in nearly every stage of the filmmaking process (pre-production, production, and post-production). Many directors know exactly which composer or music director they want attached to a film before they even sign on the key cast members. The also have an understanding about the atmospheric sound they want as well.

Film sound can come in many forms and fashions; let’s take a look (and listen).

There are four types of sound used on film:

  1. Vocal (dialogue and narration)
  2. Environmental Sounds (ambient, sound effects, and Foley)
  3. Music
  4. Silence

To fully appreciate the “Art of Sound” take a…

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The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 Rule also known as the Pareto Principle, was invented by an economist from Italy named Vilfredo Pareto. Yes, the rule is named after him.

Basically, It Says, 80% Of  Your Results Come From 20% Of Your Actions.

 

“Pareto’s Law can be summarized as follows: 80% of the outputs
result from 20% of the inputs.” 

― Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek.

 

No, we are not going to do statistics and math here, But the good thing is you just need to find out the “Vital Few” the 20% and work on them to get maximum outputs. The 80%. This rule can be applied to anything in life. E.g Relation, Business, Time Management, Marketing etc.

Now, What Can We Get If We Apply It To Music Making?

Let’s see…

  • 80% Of The Quality Of  Your Mixes Come From 20% Of The Mix Tweaks We Do.
  • 20% Of Your Tracks Brings 80% Income.
  • 20% Of Your Plugins You Use, Get 80% Work Done.
  • 20% Of Your Synth Patches You Use, Get 80% Work Done.
  • 20% Of The Gear, You Use 80% Of The Time.
  • 20% Of Your Music Theory Knowledge You Use 80% Of The Time. (We don’t use the Blues Dorian Hexatonic Scale Everyday.)
  • 20% Of Your Instrument Practice Time Brings 80% Of Your Total Progress.

So, find out what are your 20% things for maximum outputs.

Got other ideas how we can apply the rule? please write in comments.

1-Minute Tutorials

Hello, everyone, NotesAlive Music has started 1-minute tutorial series on YouTube, Showing various topics like mixing, songwriting, production techniques under 1 minute. currently using Cubase for these tutorials, but you can try these techniques and tips with your DAW or any other DAW. So stick with us and check other videos on the channel, and don’t forget to like and subscribe. Have fun!

Here’s the recent one on Creating Templates.

 

 

 

 

4 Amazing Utility Plugins

You must be having a big and amazing list of great plugins from fresh sounding instruments to processing plugins to decorate your mix. and that’s great.

let’s add some utility plugins to your collection to enhance your workflow
this will not change your sound but it will surely reduce some bits of frustration in your mixing process.

Heres a list

  1. VSTNotepad –

VSTNotepad is a VST plugin that you can use to store comments, lyrics, or any text for each track.

This is also a VST for saving text notes in your projects, but this one has a 64-bit version
Windows only.

Download

2. MNotepad

MNotepad04

MNotepad is a simple text editor, which won’t perform any audio processing. You can use it to store comments, lyrics or just any text.

present in the MFreeEffectsBundle from Melda Production, I have tested it, and it looks nice!

Download

3. Cales v1.04 

cales

A plugin that allows you to map your keyboard’s keys to a musical scale. This will ensure that you will always stay in key and never hit a wrong note. Remove the easy mode to challenge yourself.

 

Download

 

4. Chordz v1.03

chordz1

Very useful if you have 2-octave small midi keyboard. You can trigger selected chord by pressing only one key. It also has easy mode button untick it and play the notes of chords on the keyboard.

Download

 

Enjoy Free Backing Tracks From NotesAlive Music

Hello there,

Check out these backing tracks for you to jam along. backing tracks are built to improvise your instrument with it. they are like support tracks to whatever you play, or you can do just plain practice (Scales, Chords, Arpeggios) while staying in a particular key. Practicing with backing tracks will help you to get deeper understanding of your instrument, jam in every octave, every possible scale shape, start with any scale degree and find new techniques and discover new melodies, i’ll be glad if you share your improvisation track here.

Happy Improvisation 🙂

5 of the best: Portable Soundcards for the Mobile Musician

Music Tools

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Its not unusual now to say most musicians have considered having a fully mobile recording set up. ie Laptop,  software and or course the all importan soundcard. Some soundcards are suited to being fixed in postion to a table were others strenghts are their portability an compact size.

This is a look at 5 of the best souncards for the mobile musician. Taking into consideration portability, design, stability, durability and of course sound quality.

Behringer U-CONTROL UCA202
Buy Now

Behringer U-CONTROL UCA202

With this ultra-compact, bus-powered interface, you can link your Windows® and Mac® computer with any audio gear. There is no setup or special drivers needed—simply plug the interface in a free USB port on your computer and get into the groove. The UCA202 provides 2 analog inputs and outputs, as well as an additional S/PDIF optical output for direct monitoring. Very inexpensive solution.

M-Audio Fast Track
Buy Now

M-Audio Fast Track

If you make music with GarageBand or…

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Limit Your Options

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Too much plugins, softwares will not only take your hard drive space but it will also create huge mental clutter. At some point you will find yourself stuck choosing which plugin to use, This is happening because you have given yourself too many options. Limit your options so you don’t have to worry about anything else besides creating great music. Yes you can have countless pieces of gear, but sometimes that amount of gear becomes a problem.

There are two main areas to declutter.

  1. Software Plugins/tools: keep one or two plugins to serve the one purpose e.g. One plugin for compressor, one or two for EQ, and so on for the reverb, delay and other inserts. Don’t waste time to go through every tool every time, you would never get any work done. Try this, pretend you have hardware console, you can’t change new effects every time. Use this idea in your DAW, if you have console you will not go and buy new hardware effects for every new project. Treat your DAW as console. You install countless tools just because you can, is pointless. Keep few but best tools.
  1. Hardware stuff: Same thing goes for your physical stuff like your instruments. Keep your signal chain simple. Too many stuff is too much hassle. Limit your instruments, effect pedals, amps, cables. This will also help your studio look more clutter free. Use less but use it fully. Use one hardware tool and tweak every possible combination to create a tone rather than having 10 and never touched any button on them. With simple signal chain you’ll make decisions faster.

Minimal mind-set: Minimalism is lifestyle. It helps us focus on what’s important. If you take a close look in your system and your studio you will find that we unknowingly own things that we’ll likely never use. Strive for a minimal setup and you feel light because now you don’t carry so much junk, you don’t own so much junk and you can focus on what’s really important to you. By keeping your choices limited you can use all your energy for the most important thing, “creativity”.

The Top 10 Music Technology Websites On The Web

Guys,This list still works in 2015.

Music Tools

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1.  SOUND ON SOUND

http://www.soundonsound.com/

SOUND ON SOUND has consistently remained at the forefront of music technology since it was launched on Channel 4 TV’s The Tube in 1985 by the visionary SOS Publications Group, championing the convergence of MIDI, computer technology and recording equipment that continues to revolutionise the music production industry today.

The magazine is excellent and the website is no exception!

sos

2. YOU TUBE

Youtube can teach you lots of useless and wondeful things, music technology and software is no exception. If you have query or a problem simply ask yOUTUBE and chances are 14YRD old from  Milwaukee will tell you eveything you need to know!2 Audio tuts+

youtubedol

3. Audio Tuts+

Audiotuts+ is an in depth blog for musicians, producers and audio junkies! It features tutorials on the tools and techniques to record, produce, mix and master tracks. Audiotuts+ also features weekly articles for the music obsessive…

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My 3 Favorite “FREE” synths.

thumb_tal-noisemaker

Noisemeker by TAL 

(click on name to get download page)

Very much warm sounding traditional analogue-modeling synth.and also easy to use, it has  2 oscillator and 1 sub osc square with 3 LFOs, and effects are chorus and reverb. and with plenty presets to start with. highly recommended and one of the best free synths.

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superwave_p8 

It has that typical software synthy type sound. good for techno, trance. With multimode filter oscillator and two panoramizables oscillators individually with a good assortment of waveforms basic convertible all in Dual (two forms of the same wave oscillator).bring back the era of 70s and 80s.

zampler1

Beat zampler

Industry stranded beat and sound shaping its best. you can make your sound with integrated multi-mode filter types lowpass, highpass , bandpass and bandstop filters.it is not only produce beats it got powerful engine to create ambient cinematic effects. This was very quick and technical and Why i am talking about only three? because talking about free synths could take my whole blog. But dont stop reading yet, i am giving a small list of names of free synths for you to check out. So download and enjoy music making.

synths

6 Ways to increase your productivity as a composer

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Like in other areas of life productivity is important, the same way it is important when it comes to composing. Composing is creative process. And creativity can be time consuming. Creating something new means messing with lots of ideas. And if you don’t have some planned structure it can take forever to create something new. Here are some ways to reduce that time.

  1. Decide what and for whom you are going to compose today before actually sitting down. Just sitting in front of computer and pressing random chords and notes on midi keyboard not going to take you anywhere. Have a purpose or goal in mind. Is that a 30sec music or full 3 minute song? What structure will be needed? What instruments to use? What chord progression will go with melody Decide thing like these before turning on your DAW.
  1. Keep your samples and synths handy. Have your samples and sound folder structure in mind. You will not waste time in finding the right sound. If you need that reverse cymbal sound you should know where it is located in which folder and sub folder. When ideas are flowing it is not a good thing to searching the files in the mess.
  1. Be specific. Experimenting is good thing but it has its limits. You can mix n match instruments and styles forever. Be specific with genre choose instruments as per the genres requirement.it will also save your computer’s memory from loading heavy unwanted plugins and make your session heavy unnecessarily. And if you are going to use software synths know what synth is good for which sound.
  1. Practice not only composing but your theory and instrument playing. The more you practice the more you compose fast. If you got melody in mind you will quickly know what chords will fit. Also, you will reduce the takes while recording, by practicing your preferred instrument.  
  1. Make schedule of daily composing time. It will help your creative mind to flow even more smoothly. Benefit of scheduling is your mind get in habit to use those hours fully and not thinking about other thoughts. And by practice your mind will also get active for composing ideas. If your schedule start at 5 for one or two hours, your mind will automatically get in the composing state between those hours. 
  1. Take breaks! Productivity does not mean always working and torture your creative mind. It needs a long breath, go out, enjoy a cup of hot coffee, I prefer green tea (it’s amazing). That will generate new and fresh ideas