Scoring my first feature film

ricoderks

Active Member
Hi Everyone,

I wanted to share a story of which I'm very proud of.
Since I was little I always dreamed of being a film composer after hearing the fantastic soundtrack of Once Upon A Time In The West. I took keyboard an piano lessons and after a while I really got addicted to the whole computer-midi thing. Samples especially.
I never had the opportunity to get myself a proper education on music and eventually graduated as a video-editor and animator. I always wanted to make music instead so I became a intern for a year for free to maybe get some work in composing. I tried to recreate a bunch of tracks I liked to learn from them and applied those techniques to various assignments that I received. Previous year I've had the amazing opportunity to score my first feature film from Belgium: Baba Yega The Movie. A Kids movie with a nod to the 80s films. Mark (colleague) and I had to deliver about 60 minutes of music in 4-5 weeks. It really was a dream coming true for me and some kind of proof that everyone can do whatever they want. I'm super grateful for all the support I've got over the years also from members on this forum.

In the link below you can hear most of my tracks created for the film. Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating them.

Rico

<iframe width="100%" height="450" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" allow="autoplay" src=""></iframe>
 

Gingerbread

Member
Congratulations, it's fantastic! Very personally inspiring too.

Out of curiosity, during your learning process recreating tracks to learn from, which did you find particularly helpful, early on?
 
OP
ricoderks

ricoderks

Active Member
I started recreating little snippets from Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, Fringe, Edward Scissor-hands, Spider-man. Theme parks from around here. A bunch! Did not really matter to me as long as I had fun recreating them. I remember it was really difficult to make a original compositions for me back then. I was always stuck in basic progressions. (Still difficult today haha)
 
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shomynik

Active Member
Congratulations! Sounds beautiful, a really nice and fun to listen.

Would you share some more details about the process? How much of it is live and how much sample-based? Did you mix it yourself or hired an engineer?
 
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ricoderks

ricoderks

Active Member
Congratulations! Sounds beautiful, a really nice and fun to listen.

Would you share some more details about the process? How much of it is live and how much sample-based? Did you mix it yourself or hired an engineer?
Thank you!
The first music was composed by my colleague Mark. The main theme of Baba Yega. You can hear some of it in track 5 and 11. After we've got the reels (video) we started spotting the movie for sync points to hit certain cuts in the film with music. Every thing was played by our own hands via a midi controller and nothing was recorded live. Mixed and "Mastered" by own hand. But we really do hope there is enough budget next time for a dedicated music mixer. It took a lot of time while we were in the middle of composing so that was quite tricky. Especially with the deadlines!
Who knows we can even hire a small orchestra next time :)

Rico
 

shomynik

Active Member
Thank you!
The first music was composed by my colleague Mark. The main theme of Baba Yega. You can hear some of it in track 5 and 11. After we've got the reels (video) we started spotting the movie for sync points to hit certain cuts in the film with music. Every thing was played by our own hands via a midi controller and nothing was recorded live. Mixed and "Mastered" by own hand. But we really do hope there is enough budget next time for a dedicated music mixer. It took a lot of time while we were in the middle of composing so that was quite tricky. Especially with the deadlines!
Who knows we can even hire a small orchestra next time :)

Rico
It just goes to show how mature our libraries became...in skilled hands they really shine. :)

Great mix btw, that room sounds very convincing. Are those wet or dry samples?
 
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ricoderks

ricoderks

Active Member
It just goes to show how mature our libraries became...in skilled hands they really shine. :)

Great mix btw, that room sounds very convincing. Are those wet or dry samples?
Most of that was hollywood orchestra. Strings CSS. Sound is a little lacking of depth i think. But hey.... It was over a year ago!
 

shomynik

Active Member
Most of that was hollywood orchestra. Strings CSS. Sound is a little lacking of depth i think. But hey.... It was over a year ago!
It isn't lacking depth to me. The overall sound is indeed front-ish, but that suits the style of the score and there is a very nice sence of depth between dry, solo instruments and synths at the front and ensembles in the back.

Did you use convolution verbs?
 
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ricoderks

ricoderks

Active Member
It isn't lacking depth to me. The overall sound is indeed front-ish, but that suits the style of the score and there is a very nice sence of depth between dry, solo instruments and synths at the front and ensembles in the back.

Did you use convolution verbs?
Hmm yeah maybe im just too familiar with the music. I can't unhear it anymore haha. And yes: probably Altiverb with Spaces. Maybe B2 and Pro-R as algorythmic verbs. Can't remember. Recently i bought Seventh Heaven pro (convolution) which i absolutely love!
 
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ricoderks

ricoderks

Active Member
@AlexanderSchiborr You're always very critical about arrangements and sound, which I like! If you should give some constructive criticism, what would that be if I may bother you with this :grin:
 

JohnG

Senior Member
Congratulations on the job! Getting work -- there's no substitute.

It's also interesting how much a feature (or an lengthy format) stretches one's creative instincts. Most people can write a pretty cool 30 seconds, but it's longer cues (and a lot of them) that require one to reexamine and repurpose one's bag of tricks and discover more inside oneself.
 
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ricoderks

ricoderks

Active Member
Congratulations on the job! Getting work -- there's no substitute.

It's also interesting how much a feature (or an lengthy format) stretches one's creative instincts. Most people can write a pretty cool 30 seconds, but it's longer cues (and a lot of them) that require one to reexamine and repurpose one's bag of tricks and discover more inside oneself.
Ooh yes that was difficult. Fortunately I had a partner in crime to compose music together with. That helped A LOT. We could help each other out when stuck. Absolutely could not have done this film on my own, that's for sure!

Listened to your works on Soundcloud..very impressive. Interesting colors, harmony and rhythms!
Thanks! You can definitely hear differences between TV and Film works :) But that's okay I guess!
 

JanR

Senior Member
Hi Everyone,

I wanted to share a story of which I'm very proud of.
Since I was little I always dreamed of being a film composer after hearing the fantastic soundtrack of Once Upon A Time In The West. I took keyboard an piano lessons and after a while I really got addicted to the whole computer-midi thing. Samples especially.
I never had the opportunity to get myself a proper education on music and eventually graduated as a video-editor and animator. I always wanted to make music instead so I became a intern for a year for free to maybe get some work in composing. I tried to recreate a bunch of tracks I liked to learn from them and applied those techniques to various assignments that I received. Previous year I've had the amazing opportunity to score my first feature film from Belgium: Baba Yega The Movie. A Kids movie with a nod to the 80s films. Mark (colleague) and I had to deliver about 60 minutes of music in 4-5 weeks. It really was a dream coming true for me and some kind of proof that everyone can do whatever they want. I'm super grateful for all the support I've got over the years also from members on this forum.

In the link below you can hear most of my tracks created for the film. Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating them.

Rico

<iframe width="100%" height="450" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" allow="autoplay" src=""></iframe>
Impressive!! Love the music and love your story, thanks for sharing!