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Epic Trailer percussion practice (feedback appreciated)

Discussion in 'Member's Compositions' started by dannymc, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. dannymc

    dannymc Senior Member

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    Hey guys so i'm aiming on focusing more on the world of trailer music production in 2018. i was just practicing my trailer percussion with a little bit of sound design writing for the past while and wrote this short stem. was wondering if i could get some constructive feedback on how its sounds, how i could make it better, what its lacking in terms of hits, drive and frequencies. thanks in advance people :thumbsup:



    Danny
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
    Maxime Luft and whitewasteland like this.
  2. tehreal

    tehreal Senior Member

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    That opening riser/sting is awesome. And I like the heart-pounding rhythmic climax (as well as the approach into it).

    It's really hard to critique functional music like this because what you've written could very well be perfect for the picture/dialogue. We'd just need to see it all together somehow. I wish there were resources out there for composers to practice this (like trailer minus music videos).

    Regardless of no picture, there could probably still be more building/development throughout (more evolving ambiances/synths behind the percussion or something). Then again, it all depends how it joins to picture.

    Sorry this wasn't great feedback. Unfortunately I don't know jack about sound design but I really want to start learning it. What you did is way better than I could ever do, that's for sure. Hopefully others can chime in with better suggestions.
     
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  3. tripplexis

    tripplexis New Member

    This is VERY context-dependant, so not easy to give feedback to isolated percussion track, but to my ears:

    - Could use more variety. In trailer structure, there's usually more variety in percussion. You'd want to diversify them a little more for the sake of dynamics and progression.
    - Lack of dynamics, no contrast in velocity between the mid-section and the ending. I didn't get the sense the intensity is rising, other than the speed of percs increasing.
    - Freq-wise - I'm on AKG701's atm, but sounds like you have enough bottom and mid content, but could use some cymbs or other of hi-freq content.
    - Less busy? With some more breathing space you'd be able to find more space to add those precious sounddesign elements.
    - Optional suggestion - more custom sound design. By the end of the track I recognized several Damage impact sounds. You'd probably want to create more custom sounds to make yourself stand out. Also, I understand the intent of the swell/alarm sound (at the very beginning), but since it was one of the few snddsgn elements, it got a bit repetitive by the end.

    Trailers are ear-candy, but this falls a bit short to meet industry standards, in its current state. But - again - my comments could be proven totally wrong in the full track context, so good luck with this!
     
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  4. stixman

    stixman Brother from another reality.....

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    syncopated rim shots between the big hits! Check out Koto drummers on youtube :)
     
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  5. OP
    OP
    dannymc

    dannymc Senior Member

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    thanks for the feedback guys

    the reason why there was not too much development was that this was just the percussion stem of a full epic track i recently wrote which has a full orchestra on top of it. its just when i went to stem out the percussion i thought it sounded pretty good by itself :)

    and since a lot of trailer these days really focuses on percussion, hits and sound design i felt this was a good starting template for any potential trailer work going forward. the key thing is i want to make sure my production is there before i delve any deeper.

    i find all the feedback useful no matter what level the composer is at so thanks for taking the time to listen :thumbsup:

    Danny
     
  6. OP
    OP
    dannymc

    dannymc Senior Member

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    Hey tripplexis

    noted. if i was writing this a standalone percussion track i would add alot more variation. is there any good percussion trailer tracks you could reference for me?

    i see. so would it be better to have the percussion in the mid section at lower dynamics/velocities and save the full 127 max velocities to the ending? i tried to make it more intense with the speed of the percs and quicker transitions in the sfx & building risers, i guess that's not enough in this genre.

    the full track has cymbals but i removed them for the purpose of this exercise as they sometimes masked the sound of the full percussion which was my main focus for this exercise.

    can you expand on this point? i'm not sure i understand what you are saying here.

    i haven't starting going down the road of custom sounds just yet as i'm still learning this stuff but i will note that for the future. :thumbsup: Damage is one of the only libraries i have for this sort of sound, can you recommend any other good ones that are not as over used as damage impacts?

    as i said this wasn't a full track but more an exercise to get a good starting point for a full track. thanks for all your useful constructive feedback :thumbsup:

    Danny
     
  7. Lino Galois

    Lino Galois Member

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    This is on point!

    I personally think though that the lack of drive and this sort of "minimalistic approach" is exactly what makes this piece interesting!

    Good work!
     
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  8. Andrajas

    Andrajas Senior Member

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    don't go crazy with the variety tho, you need to feel that its easy to understand and follow, but a few hits different here and there is cool.

    Percussion writing depends also on style and track. Sometimes you need the 127 velocity to make it cut through because your track is full of synths and orchestra etc. If less busy track, you can play with the velocities more.

    There are a lot of percussion trailers tracks out there, listen and analyze!
     
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  9. OP
    OP
    dannymc

    dannymc Senior Member

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    thanks Andrajas great advice. i'll start referencing trailer songs on youtube from now on :thumbsup:

    Danny
     
  10. NoamL

    NoamL Senior Member

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    My only critique: it's a syncopated groove that's syncopating against nothing ;)

    You need a "ticky tacky" instrument, like snare sticks or something else, that is holding down a steady 8th note groove and perhaps also a slightly deeper instrument marking out the quarter note beat. That way, the syncopations will become much more clear. The ticky-tackies don't need to be very loud, especially if you're picturing a string ostinato, synth bass, or some other element that will be providing steady 8th note rhythms in the complete track. However, without the ticktacks marking out the proper 8th and 4th subdivisions, the percussion track currently feels wild and lost, at least for the first few measures of the 1st time hearing the track, until my brain figured out that it's a syncopated beat and what the implied steady beat is.

    Everything else about this seems good to me, at least until hearing the complete track.
     
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  11. Jaap

    Jaap Yes that is an alto flute

    Same thoughts here and looking forward to hear it with context Danny!
     
  12. OP
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    dannymc

    dannymc Senior Member

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    folks here is the full epic orchestral hybrid track just for better context. as you can hear its more epic than trailer but hopefully the percussion still sounds good to your ears with everything on top of it. would love to hear your feedback.



    Danny
     
  13. Andrajas

    Andrajas Senior Member

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    Hey man!
    Been listening to the track, always fun to hear :) . A few things I noticed:

    Personally, I feel that you try "to hard" with your strings ostinato, meaning its a bit tricky to follow. A good ostinato for me has a good balance of notes and rhythm, without a solid "groove" you can easily get lost. Having the cellos for example playing not the syncopated rhythm and more steady 8ths or 16ths would make the rest more groovy, if you understand what I mean.

    The track for me doesn't go anywhere, more development would make the track more interesting. I think the lack of melody effects that also. This can mean development in harmony, melody or even if you going the "vertical development route", for example starting the ostinato in lower register and as the track goes on, introduce the other octaves and such.

    At my place, the mix feels a bit "boxed" and would need some high end, not to much bit a little. The perc sound worked tho!

    thanks for sharing man! No expert here but hope the feedback is useful :)
     
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  14. NoamL

    NoamL Senior Member

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    Unfortunately I think with the strings + brass added, you've compounded the syncopation problem. Almost all your instruments are either playing whole notes, or playing syncopated patterns. And you actually have 2 or more different syncopated patterns. It probably sounds very clear to you after working on it for several hours but trust me it sounds confusing on a first listen.
     
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  15. arpegiah

    arpegiah Active Member

    I feel like adding some high end percussion, could be just sticks played in 16th notes in the background.
     
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  16. OP
    OP
    dannymc

    dannymc Senior Member

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    thanks guys i think i'll go back to basics for the next track and not try be elaborate with my strings/rhythms. thanks for the advice. :thumbsup:

    Danny
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017

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