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What should I be getting from Composer
Old 8th March 2014
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
What should I be getting from Composer

Hey everyone,

Quick question regarding post workflow for sound.

I also am speaking with a few different composers, still undecided who I'm going with, to score the film.

I'm pretty unfamiliar with the professional workflow and what i should be getting from the composer in the technical sense. I've been speaking with a variety of composers of all experiences levels, so it's hard for me to exactly know where one person may be incorrect, or another asking to be paid extra for something that should normally be included in final delivery.

That being said what is the typical delivery for composed tracks so I can hand off to the final mixer of the film when I come to that?

I'm finishing the film in 2K, 5.1 theatrical mix. Will layback for blueray/dvd and also stereo, etc.

So for music delivery, are they individual wav files that I should be getting? Does that include the stems mixed together or is that not included? Should I always be getting the stems along with a mix as part of the deal? Or is that not normally done?

I've had some individuals tell me they don't have the equipment to master the mix, but I can get that done for an additional $200-300. Is this normal?

I wasn't sure if these steps could also be done by the final sound mixer of the film vs having the composer do some of this work.

Thanks in advance for the advice/assistance!
Old 8th March 2014
  #2
Gear Head
 
Mr.Mann's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
No mixer has time to sort through music, if there is no music editor to prep tracks for the stage, then it is up to the composer. He or she should provide either a Pro Tools session with each cue spotted to picture, or timestamped BWAV files preferably with the TC number written in the filename (just in case).

5.1 stems may be overkill, but at least ask for stereo stems. It doesn't take that much extra work to mix music in stems, any composer with any engineering chops should be able to give you a decent mix of their music.

Mastering film music is uncommon, and is not the same as music mastering. Your lead mixer will finesse the music to work with the other elements.
Old 10th March 2014
  #3
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
+1 for what Don said,

also, this might be very uncommon and out of norm, but I once got the composer to send me various stems of the tracks (ie. strings, melodic instruments, drums and other elements) So we had more control over the mix, of course he was present at the final dub and we worked the mix out together.
As Don said 5.1 could be overkill but I also heard programs were the mixer put all the music in front stereo, applied a bit of reverb to the music mix and sent it to the surround channels. I thought it was a nice touch, but could not always work.

Sepehr
Old 10th March 2014
  #4
Lives for gear
 
NReichman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
You should always be getting the splits with the full mixes. Making that a separate line item in a budget doesn't help anyone.

By the way, I've been pushing for our industry to adopt more specific terminology and to call the separate musical components (drums, brass, strings) "splits" and the separate mix components (dialog, SFX, music) "stems."

I seem to be losing this battle, but encourage all readers to help me with this semantic issue.
Old 10th March 2014
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotty Fox ➡️
I've had some individuals tell me they don't have the equipment to master the mix, but I can get that done for an additional $200-300. Is this normal?
No, they shouldn't be mastering the music. It should be nice and dynamic, not squashed. It will be a lot easier to mix into the film.

Stereo stems work well.
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by NReichman ➡️
You should always be getting the splits with the full mixes. Making that a separate line item in a budget doesn't help anyone.

By the way, I've been pushing for our industry to adopt more specific terminology and to call the separate musical components (drums, brass, strings) "splits" and the separate mix components (dialog, SFX, music) "stems."

I seem to be losing this battle, but encourage all readers to help me with this semantic issue.
Oh yeah, good point. I'll try to indoctrinate people on my end.
Old 10th March 2014 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by NReichman ➡️
I seem to be losing this battle, but encourage all readers to help me with this semantic issue.
I didn't know of this terminology! It make sense to use them in this way
Old 11th March 2014 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by paranerd ➡️
No, they shouldn't be mastering the music. It should be nice and dynamic, not squashed. It will be a lot easier to mix into the film.

Stereo stems work well.
Stereo splits/stems working "Well" is a matter of experience/knowledge.
If the person delivering the music has mixed score in 5.1 before and knows what he/she is doing, then 5.1 splits are absolutely the preferred format.

If they have never worked in 5.1 before and they are on a tight schedule you are better of with a few more stereo splits instead. But that equals more time spent mixing the music at the dubstage.

The more splits there are the more resources it uses during the mixing stage.
If there's not enough of them you will be limited in its use.
Never accept JUST splits either, you always need to get the full mix as well to be 100% sure you can have a reference of what the original music mix intent was.

And what many music mixers don't understand is that EVERY reverb and effect belongs to its own group of sounds in each split.
So it great using awsome external hardware reverbs for the music mix, but they will then have to spend a lot of time rerecording all those splits in real time with the reverb, one split at a time that they want to use that reverb on.
A separate reverb split can be useful at times to. But only when the mix itself is very good and you don't need to reedit or rearrange the musical elements. And that often happens...

I have a bit of a split personality so I mainly work as a sound designer/editor and re-recording mixer, but I also mix a little score now and then.
My personal tip is to mix with reverb in almost all splits apart from the orchestra strings (if recorded in isolation) I deliver the strings reverb separately as that is how I like to get it myself .
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