A dynamic, collaborative and often intensive process between a director, a composer, and his team is developing an original score. We will aim to provide a summary of how a composer produces a score in this article in any step of the way and explains a little of the artistic process. And how you can improve your film scoring. Good luck!
Technically, the spotting session is not part of the composition method; it is an activity between the composer and the director. The composer and producer watch the movie together at the spotting session and take decisions about the music. They will chat about stuff such as the scenes that require music and the characters' emotional state and overall mood.
The composer, his assistant, or music editor shall take notes during the whole meeting and write the specific schedule with the indications. At the end of the session, the composer will leave the composer and his team with a comprehensive table labeled "spot notes".
A composer could spend days, weeks, or months looking for thoughts and entering the film's mental space until a single note has been written. A composer may read books or papers on film-related subjects. In preparation for his thesis on the Da Vinci Code, Hans Zimmer learned the Fibonacci series famously. For other days, a musician spends time absorbed in a particular form of music or society. Comprehensive studies on African music and raw content procurement for the score, Black Panther composer Ludwig Goransson read issues from the first black comic book.
The sonic palette is another critical aspect of making a score. Decisions on items like instrumentation, sound design, and harmony are also important in a particular manner. During this process, a composer could spend weeks recording and creating specific sounds for the film. A musician spends weeks in studios recording unusual instruments, which can then be hands punched into computer instruments used in the soundtrack.
In Divergent 2014, composer Junkie XL recorded five or six days in the studio to catch individual sounds for the soundtrack. Satnam Ramgotra was an expert in ethnic percussions during his career. And this is not just a method for composers who are already working on blockbuster films. My team and I spent weeks handling recordings of electric violins, pianos, and even pianos during the work on a new indie feature film. Those recordings we use later to build the soundtrack, produce and inject it with our own particular sonic identity.
Much like you will not assemble the video (except for a weird b-roll), a strong musician would still be willing to make sure that everything they contribute is unique in their sound, irrespective of budget limitations.
Sketches and Mockups
A composer knows where the music goes in the movie, has investigated the topic, and spent time creating raw materials. The next move, of course, is to make music a reality. Sadly enough, it can only be rendered under the name of 'pre-production,' until a composer is presented with the fact that it puts style on paper – practically and nearly. There are as many composition techniques as there are music forms and no standard solution. But we'll speak about a variety of common techniques composers have employed effectively over the years.
Recording and Mixing
Real musicians would finally record live scores at a "scoring stage," a significant recording studio specially built for film soundtrack orchestras. Bigger budgets are filmed either in LA, London, Nashville, or in Vienna. In contrast, smaller budget soundtracks are mostly recorded in Eastern Europe, where filming costs are much more manageable than low-budget productions. Depending on the score duration, the recording will take several days to a week. When a score is recorded, it is mixed until the mixer is sent to the final movie mixer. Wow, you've got a movie score!
In this article, we heard about 1) the composer protocol begins with the director's initial partnership. 2) several methods are taken by composers to create a work, including sound design, themes, illustrations, and mockups. As you see, there is a great deal of time and thinking involved in making a ranking. Composers spend hundreds of hours on one job, and tens of thousands of dollars of their own money in their instruments have been spent from the moment they are recruited for a project.
There are endless ways of approaching a score, digital, sound, live, or some mix. The finishing line is less important for the medium and techniques than how the score serves the narrative and its personages. Make sure you collaborate with a composer who understands your ambitions as a storyteller and is prepared to work with you to make the best possible film.
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