November 2021 - 66

Continued from page 65
Well, when you do ADR (automatic dialog
replacement), which is basically post-production,
the actor comes in and says the line in
the recording studio, mimicking their mouth
movements. Because there's some reason
while they were shooting the film or the
scene; a plane was overhead, or somebody's
car alarm went off. But the performance was
great, so they want to use that take, but there
was noise in the background. So, they come
in later... So, when you put in ADR, and on its
own, it's nothing, it's clean dialogue. But you
can't just put clean dialogue in, you now have
to have clean dialogue, and then layer room
tone under it to match what was around it.
That's exactly what you're talking about. And
music is the same thing. I've had songs fall
out [of being placed in a film or TV show].
" I've used iPhone guitar/vocal
songs from people, because for
some reason they've nailed the performance
and they got lucky with
the balance of the guitar and the
vocal. "
-Mason Cooper
People ask me a lot on these types of panels,
how " finished " does the song need to be?
Unless you have a relationship with the producer,
the director, the creator, and you're in
early on a project, and you've worked with
them before where you are actually writing a
song for that scene-which we don't often
have budgets for-so this is very seldom,
now. We need a finished production, and finished
production can be many things. It could
be in the vocal; it could be a rock mix because
that scene has a bar band in the corner. If it's
too polished and sounds like a radio song, it's
not believable that it's a bar band in the corner.
So, what is a " finished " song? That's
subjective. But it needs to be finished for that
scene's purpose and what I need in that scene.
That's actually a great way to describe " broadcast
quality. " It doesn't always mean sonic
perfection. It depends on the scene and the context
of what's needed...
Again, I go back to the Spotify playlist. If I
need a song like a Barbra Streisand song or a
Celine Dion song-I give you those two examples-sonically
the production, the
performance and the mix better match that. If
your vocal is too loud, if strings are synthesizer
strings, but they sound really bad...
66 RECORDING November 2021
Well, if I had a big budget, I'd put real strings
on it. Anything that is distracting, the sonics
can blow your song [out of that scene], even
if it's a brilliant melody. Really, it's the presentation
of your song that matters,
unfortunately. But I've used iPhone
guitar/vocal songs from people, because for
some reason they've nailed the performance
and they got lucky with the balance of the
guitar and the vocal. And you put it back and
it sounds like a little Colby Caillat song, and
I've used one of those songs in about eight
different projects-that Colby Caillat-ish type
of guitar/vocal thing way in the background.
They got lucky that the balance worked.
So don't ever say, " Well, I could change this,
or I could change that. " We don't have time
for that, and we don't have the budget for
that. Know what you are presenting. And I
also say... Here's a tip if you have your own
home studio: When you do your production
and your mixes, always do a track mix (mix
minus vocals)-I'm sure you've heard that on
all these panels. You mix your song, you put
your mix down, there's your master mix. I
always say I respect the artists. Before, when I
said I don't care about your music, I actually
do. Always make your music for yourself, first.
You are the artist; you are the creator; you
have the right to do that. Make the mix for
yourself, and now that's your master mix.
Mute the vocals, including the background
vocals, by the way. Some people think that it's
just the lead vocal. Now, it's gonna sound
empty. I don't care if it's a hip-hop rap song,
the only thing without the rap is just a drum
or a bass. Don't do anything, just do a track
mix. It didn't cost you another dime.
And keep all your faders exactly where they
were, including your master fader.
Do not change anything. Keep it all there.
Even if your meters look low, because of the
vocals not being there. Resist the temptation
because editors might want to cut back and
forth from the vocal version to the mix minus
vocals in certain parts of the scene to allow
for dialog.
Because if here was your vocal and there was
your track mix, all we want to do is take it
away. Don't do anything.
But then, now that you have that, now start
doing some alternate mixes, depending on
your song. If you have an EDM song, and
there is just some high percussive part just
clicking through there, either take it out or
take it way down. High frequencies are the
biggest problem. I've had songs in a TV series
called Full Circle that I did three seasons of.
The first season, every episode was set in a
restaurant. So, the only setting for this whole
series was in the restaurant. It was two characters
that kept joining up and came full circle
at the end of the season. I would put
certain songs in there and the network guy
would come into the mix and start yelling at
the sound effects people. He liked yelling.
He would yell at the sound effects people,
" Just because it's a restaurant, you don't need
to have everybody back in the kitchen dropping
silverware. " And they were very
confused until they realized that there was no
bass part in the song, and it basically had a
tambourine and a hi-hat.
You really can't make this stuff up.
And I didn't have time to chase down... I was
hoping they could notch that out in the master
EQ, but it was so present. And the song
was great, but I didn't have time to go to the
writer and say, " Do you have an alternative
mix? "
So, what we do is... I think, Michael, you have
seen me do this in some of my panels. I want
the volume way down, so when you're in mixing
and you want to do your sync mix, let's
call it-and I don't believe in writing for
sync-but this is about presentation. Bring
the volume way down so it's hard to hear it
and start talking, talking with friends, or turn
on the baseball game or get on your phone
and start typing and see if something is popping
out. Usually, the high frequencies are
going to pop out, so just be wary that that's
how you can do an alternate mix so at least
now there's nothing distracting in there that
is going to distract. Now you have your full
mix, and if I'm like I want it for a featured
song, I don't mind the hi-hat, though. I don't
mind the screaming guitar solo. That's the
featured song, but if it's gonna be
background, that stuff's gonna pop through.
I have a question. You said don't write for sync,
and I've heard that plenty of times in my career.
I was moderating a panel at the Hawaii Songwriters
Festival, and something incredibly good
got played. And as I was moderating that panel;
I was looking at the panelists and I could see
that they all had a question mark on their face,
and the question was, " Was this written for a
sync? " It was right on the edge, because somebody
knew enough about the sync side of the
advertising business that they wrote something
that was just so perfect that it almost, almost
felt contrived, but it was just so perfect. And it
turns out that the writer said that she didn't
write it for sync.
So, writing for sync in the context of television
and film, not so much commercials, I would like
to give a counter-argument to that, but only a
slight counterargument, in that there are topics
Continued on page 69

November 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of November 2021

Fade In
Fast Forward
Studio Upgrade Roundup
Inside the Studio with Mark Hornsby: A Crash Course in Atmos
Plugin Outlet: Slate Digital MetaTune
KRK Systems: KNS 8402
Southern Avenue and the Modern Memphis Sound
Plugin Outlet: Raising Jake SideMinder ME2
Shure MV7 USB Podcast Microphone
RECORDING Show and Tell: Studio Upgrades (2021 Edition)
Plugin Outlet: bx_console Focusrite SC
Novation Circuit Rhythm
Session Log: The AngelHeaded Hipster, Part 11: Home Mixing in Home Studios
Mackie: Onyx16
Alclair: Electro 6 Driver
Plugin Outlet: Arturia FX Collection 2
Inside the Box with Joe Albano: workflow-focused programs and plugins
RME Fireface UCX II 40-channel USB Interface
Readers' Tracks
Fade Out: Studio Feng Shui
November 2021 - Intro
November 2021 - Cover1
November 2021 - Cover2
November 2021 - 1
November 2021 - 2
November 2021 - 3
November 2021 - Fade In
November 2021 - 5
November 2021 - 6
November 2021 - 7
November 2021 - Fast Forward
November 2021 - 9
November 2021 - Studio Upgrade Roundup
November 2021 - 11
November 2021 - 12
November 2021 - 13
November 2021 - 14
November 2021 - 15
November 2021 - 16
November 2021 - 17
November 2021 - 18
November 2021 - 19
November 2021 - Inside the Studio with Mark Hornsby: A Crash Course in Atmos
November 2021 - 21
November 2021 - 22
November 2021 - 23
November 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Slate Digital MetaTune
November 2021 - 25
November 2021 - KRK Systems: KNS 8402
November 2021 - 27
November 2021 - Southern Avenue and the Modern Memphis Sound
November 2021 - 29
November 2021 - 30
November 2021 - 31
November 2021 - 32
November 2021 - 33
November 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Raising Jake SideMinder ME2
November 2021 - 35
November 2021 - Shure MV7 USB Podcast Microphone
November 2021 - 37
November 2021 - RECORDING Show and Tell: Studio Upgrades (2021 Edition)
November 2021 - 39
November 2021 - 40
November 2021 - 41
November 2021 - Plugin Outlet: bx_console Focusrite SC
November 2021 - 43
November 2021 - Novation Circuit Rhythm
November 2021 - 45
November 2021 - Session Log: The AngelHeaded Hipster, Part 11: Home Mixing in Home Studios
November 2021 - 47
November 2021 - 48
November 2021 - 49
November 2021 - Mackie: Onyx16
November 2021 - 51
November 2021 - Alclair: Electro 6 Driver
November 2021 - 53
November 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Arturia FX Collection 2
November 2021 - 55
November 2021 - 56
November 2021 - 57
November 2021 - Inside the Box with Joe Albano: workflow-focused programs and plugins
November 2021 - 59
November 2021 - 60
November 2021 - 61
November 2021 - RME Fireface UCX II 40-channel USB Interface
November 2021 - 63
November 2021 - Readers' Tracks
November 2021 - 65
November 2021 - 66
November 2021 - 67
November 2021 - 68
November 2021 - 69
November 2021 - 70
November 2021 - 71
November 2021 - Fade Out: Studio Feng Shui
November 2021 - Cover3
November 2021 - Cover4
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