Music Mess

apple-soundtrack-pro

It’s that time of year again– Finals week!

Of course, with the screwy classes that I take, this usually means that there’s a lot more project-oriented work going on, and a lot less test-taking, compared to others. Last year, I had three studio/production classes, and the studio time almost killed me. I vowed never to let that happen again.

This year, I again have three studio/production classes, but with the added pressure of the Lisagor video project (now passed, of course). I don’t learn my lessons. I don’t have any more studio time, though– it’s all video production at this point.

I really like audio/video production. Usually I’m not a very nitpicky person, but I just can’t get enough of the little annoying things that make such production work a time-consuming mess, especially in audio, but that’s just because I’m better at that side of the puzzle. While I can edit a video well enough to present, I’m not great. I have no formal training whatsoever, and I just know there are things I could do in Final Cut to make my stuff better.

One of the things I enjoy most about audio (and audio to video) is scoring. The simple addition of music can turn a piece completely around– and therein lies the problem. The rule is that music is supposed to support the mood, not drive it. If you listen to the bare version of a piece and compare it to a scored version and the two are radically different, there’s a problem. Often, however, this is done as a cover-up for bad writing.

Poynter has a good article in its “Ethics” section about this. They even offer several videos to illustrate the difference a simple scoring decision can make:

Vodpod videos no longer available. Vodpod videos no longer available.

See?

Another contributing factor to this issue is the problem of licensing. If your piece is going to be shown publically or gains significant popularity, you’re going to need ASCAP licensed music. And most people can’t afford that. Even some broadcast stations can’t afford that. Under Fair Use, you can get away with about 30 seconds of audio before the goonies from the record labels start coming after you. At that point, you’re in trouble. Shuffling though music 30 seconds at a time makes for pretty obnoxious video, though, and can run into this same mood-problem. Tricky stuff.

Of course, you can get by all of this by not using music (or writing your own), but that’s not as fun.

Speaking of music, here’s a little bit for all of you out there.

When I need to wake up after a late night, I used to blast the Fatboy Slim song in this first track, which is one of my favorites in recent memory.

Of course, either of the songs in this second track would get me up just as quickly.

I’ve never heard Marley and Eminem mashed together like they are in this final track.

PS– In eleven days, I’m going to be camping by myself at Camp Chick. That may or may not mean nothing to you.

One response to “Music Mess

  1. I personally dislike music in films the majority of the time. I hate it when music tells me how I should feel/react to a scene. The only exception would be music that sets the environment, or that is directly motivated by something physically in the scene, like a radio. A film with a lot of examples of this would be Dazed and Confused. Sure the music does set the mood, but it’s motivated by the times, their age, and their own appreciation of music.

    What I really like is when they use the ambient sounds in movies to sort of heighten the mood, like the calm before the storm in some war films, but it’s rare to find this sort of thing.

    Also I’ll still take studio classes of lecture classes any day. Overwhelmed is better them bored out of my mind.

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