Wednesday, April 24, 2019

PMC:06 Formative 1


Tutor Notes

Ross Tregenza's Notes:
There’s some nice work across all orchestra groups and the interplay between them is solid.
Overall, I think the biggest problem is a lack of vibrancy and narrative throughout. It feels at times a little plodding, almost as if it’s boring itself, which obviously isn’t great.

There are a lot of sections that lack dynamic development – they move along in a straight line without any clear indication of progression. The key elements in most sections are fine, but secondary and tertiary layers of movement would really have gone long way – it’s perhaps all just a little too simple. You could make the argument that the subject matter is simple, and the music reflects that, but this would be a little reductive and would discredit both the subject matter and the opportunity to score. Even if a brief is simple on the surface, it’s your job to dive deep into it and find your own challenges and rewards.

Let’s run through a few points:

Overall, there’s a little too much reverb across the board. It’s colouring the music quite heavily and pulling focus and sharpness. You’ll get a lot more definition and detail if you don’t allow the reverb to blur the music too much. If you want elements of that colour, just keep the wetness low to avoid over saturation – you’ll still get a clear sense of that reverb colour in the quiet moments.

The supernatural elements are a little underwhelming and could have benefitted from a little more fun and lateral thinking. You have an established instrument set throughout so it would have been great to hear you break your own rules and go for something a little crazy – some sheet metal, Theremins, waterphones – something fun and crazy. There’s no shame in being a little playful and silly at times.

There are some key moments (as with the supernatural stuff) that feel under represented – again, the biggest problem is a lack of surprise – there aren’t any real joyous moments of leftfield thinking that charm the listener with unexpected twists.

Percussion elements throughout are possibly a little minimal and repetitive – at times, the repetition becomes a little grating. Try obfuscating it a little with additional layers, momentary changes and fills etc.

In a more positive note, the bass is great – very much the kind of thing this brief needs – it’s lively and full of whimsy. If you review your work, I’d anchor to this and rebuild from that.

Narrative signposting is a little underwhelming at key moments. For example, when it turns out the pharaoh is a child, the build-up is great, but there’s no comedy pay off. Even if you’d gone for something as straightforward as a little pizzicato run, it would have been the payoff the listener expected.

So overall, while you’ve clearly got a great grasp of orchestral grouping and have plenty of skill working with the groups, I think you need to layer things up, tighten up your narrative cues, experiment a little further and listen with an impartial ear to your results – as a listener, is your work fun and lively?

Ross Tregenza's Summary:
The work is technically solid but lacks a sense of whimsy and joy, and at times feels heavy and slows the action down. Tighten up your cues, experiment a little more and try and introduce a little more fun.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Thursday, April 18, 2019


How to string a classical guitar.

FX Console for After Effects. Free. Video Copilot.

Wodehouse stories.

Soundskulptor makes some interesting stuff, especially that 2 space 500-series rack SSL quad-type compressor (but only stereo of course).

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Oh. Then. Therefore.

Foley Collection has a bunch of ten-euro collections of footsteps for Kontakt. My particular needs were for boots in sand. I bought corn starch. But boy, that's not as workable for me. I can't foley corn starch and make it sound like sand. The Foley Collection prefers to use pitch variation on the three or so "notes" of steps. At first I was concerned that might sound, well, sort of bad. But it turns out to be more than adequate.

Postable is still my preference.

Alexandria Mueller, schoolmate, is an attorney, wrote about the Music Modernization Act. This act is a pretty big deal. Yet verily I do not have my brain about it.
Sound Exchange is critical to, um, something. Remember that my brain is something similar to the size of an acorn.

Tokyo Dawn makes a number of good VST's. Proximity is a kind of cool, yet subtle, plugin. Also, it's free. I've been using it to try to seat certain effects and voices in desert exteriors. A weird thing about sounds outdoors is how reverberant/not they are. Outside is very dry, but it is not anechoic. And it's quite a trick to get stuff to sound right outside.