Sound

Music

Through deconstructing existing film trailers, I noted that the accompanying soundtracks either included extracts of multiple pieces of music, or were solely one piece that was cut and/or adapted to fit the trailer. Often, those that include multiple extracts used the music in such a way as to emphasise the different genres or themes of the film, for example in ‘The King’s Speech’ a light-hearted sounding classical piece was used to emphasise the comedic montage, where-as a much more dramatic and ‘dark’ sounding classical piece was used to enhance the drama genre presented in the second half of the trailer.

After considering the two options available to us: find a soundtrack without copyright, or create our own soundtrack; we have decided that I will create one, thus developing my composition skills and attempting to make a more appropriate and effective score for the trailer. This will undoubtedly be a longer process than using pre-existing material, thus we must ensure plenty of time is available for the post-production period to allow for multiple improvements to both the music and the editing of the trailer.

The soundtrack would be considered non-diagetic as the characters would not respond to the music, or a source from which the sound could be played from would not be present in the shots.

Research

Film Composer

The following information was largely found using the link: http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/film-composer1.htm, which sourced the information from https://www.berklee.edu/careers-film-scoring

The role and responsibility of the Composer varies depending on the scale and budget of the production they are working for. Based on the wants of the Director and Producers they could write a full orchestral score, or compile existing songs and connect them with linking sections of composed music, etc.

Process

  • The Composer meets with the Director and Producers during the post-production stage of the filming process to discuss the music requirements for the film. They then take part in a spotting session with the same people in which they watch the latest draft of the editing and decide where each segment of the music should start/stop, why it’s being included (i.e. how is it supporting the visual, and what atmosphere should it help to create) and how it should sound (i.e. what music are the team drawing upon as inspiration, etc.)
  • With information, opinions, and ideas gathered from the discussion and spotting session the Composer writes the score, covering all the sections needing music in the film. “The score for a feature film is usually about half the length of the film, so a composer would probably have to write about 50 minutes of music for a 100-minute movie.”
  • They then prepare the music for the musicians, or give notes and the score they wrote to an arranger and copyists
  • Particularly for smaller or independent productions, the Composer may have to hire, conduct, and record the musicians performing the score, and help edit and mix the final score. On larger productions, however, these responsibilities could be divided into the following jobs: Music Editor – mixes and synchronises the music to the soundtrack; Orchestrator – can overlap the arranger and conductors responsibilities, writes the scores for orchestra, band, soloists, etc.; Contractor – hires the musicians; Arranger – arranges the score into the parts for the musicians; Conductor – conducts the musicians; Sound Designer/Engineer – creates synthesised music and sound effects to go in the score

Composition Preparation and Research

The following images are print screens of a Microsoft PowerPoint I created on 28.02.2015 to present the research into film music I conducted between 23.02.2015 and 27.02.2015.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Version 1 of the Composition

I began to create this composition on manuscript paper on 03.03.2015, before transferring and developing it using the composition software ‘Sibelius 6’.

Matt reviewed it with me on 12.03.2015, and together we made the following decisions:

  • To remove the 1st section of the composition because we felt it was more appropriate for a Thriller film
  • Change the instrumentation from piano to a string orchestra
  • Develop the 2nd and 3rd sections
  • Slow the speed down a little

Version 2 of the Composition

On 13.03.2015 I acknowledged all the decisions we made the day before. We will incorporate this version into the rough-cut of the trailer to see if the music works effectively with the footage.

An improvement I will need to make to this version is the ending. This largely involves changing the last chord from a Tierce de Picardie (which allows a perfect cadence in a minor key change to its tonic major), to it’s minor so that it sounds less final and thus keeps a little tension.

Exporting the Audio

To export from Sibelius 6 I simply used the ‘export’ option. I then used Adobe Soundbooth to convert the file from ‘.aiff’ to multiple types including ‘.wav’, ‘.mp3’, and ‘.mov’ – this is why the YouTube video doesn’t include any images or footage.

Sound Effects

  • Hard sound effects: These are sounds that are normally related to actions on-screen, such as a door slamming. A use of this sound effect in the opening scene could be the dropping of something metal onto a hard surface
  • Background sound effects: These effects don’t necessarily coordinate with the onscreen actions, but are useful in presenting a setting to the audience. Uses of this in the film could be the sound of birdsong, and the wind in the trees during the shots outside
  • Foley sound effects: These sound effects are going to be used throughout the trailer, since it is sound that coordinates with the actions seen and suggested on-screen. Examples of which are footsteps, and the rustling of clothes
  • All the above sounds can be considered diagetic, for the cast would cause the sounds through actions they undertake, or respond to sounds off-screen, such as a character calling to them beyond the shot
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