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Secrets of the Score-Charlie Clouser and JIGSAW

Discussion in 'Workflow Tips & DIYs' started by charlieclouser, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. charlieclouser

    charlieclouser Senior Member

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    Hey kids. Recently I was interviewed / screen-casted for Paul Goldowitz's excellent website GoldoSyncReport.com and I went through (in excruciating detail) a couple of cues from the eighth (!) movie in the SAW horror franchise, JIGSAW, which hits theaters (and IMAX!) on October 27th. No slaves, no VEPro, just Logic X and 250 instances of EXS-24 in glorious 4k.

    I go through a lot of the sounds used to build up one of the ambient, murky cues, and then break down the elements in the notorious "Hello Zepp" theme that occurs in all of the films. Might be interesting to some of you guys.... Here's the links to the two videos:



     
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  2. mouse

    mouse Senior Member

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    Just finished watching it. Awesome stuff thanks Charlie!
     
  3. AdamKmusic

    AdamKmusic Senior Member

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    Nice will be watching this when I’m home!
     
  4. Sekkleman

    Sekkleman Senior Member

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    That was really inspiring thanks Charlie!

    I love all the original sounds you had and the New York subway tone is just awesome. Makes me want to go do some field recording and find some new sounds!

    I think varispeeding sounds like the old Akai's is still to this day one of the most powerful sound design techniques. Both that and reversing are some of the simplest and oldest ways to manipulate sound but they manage to maintain organic integrity which allows for things to sound otherwordly yet natural and familiar somehow. I've had some really interesting results recording at high sample rates with extended frequency response microphones as you can make things sound in hi-res when varispeeding them down.

    Awesome stuff I hope you some more of these type walkthroughs in the future.
     
  5. germancomponist

    germancomponist Senior Member

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    Ha! Very cool!
     
  6. synthpunk

    synthpunk Senior Member

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    EXS-24 Ninja this one is.

    Only wish we might have seen a few more soft synths in there as well.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  7. FGBR

    FGBR Member

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    Nice, that was great, thanks for posting.

    I'd say my main take away is the value of having (or rather creating) your own unique sonic palette.

    (And thanks as well for all the other helpful and inspiring posts you contribute to the forum.)
     
    synthpunk likes this.
  8. Mornats

    Mornats Senior Member

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    I really enjoyed watching those two videos, thanks for sharing them. I loved the combination of the two synth bass lines and how one snuck in between the rhythm of the other. That gives me some ideas to try out for my next track.
     
  9. Killiard

    Killiard Senior Member

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    Amazing! Great to have an insight into how you work. Thanks!
     
  10. Replicant

    Replicant Senior Member

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    Those train brakes sound absolutely terrifying. Great video and thanks for sharing!
     
  11. synthpunk

    synthpunk Senior Member

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    Charlie can you please share how you capture your field recording type sounds for sound design? Cheers
     
  12. Mornats

    Mornats Senior Member

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    It looked like Charlie had a Zoom H4N in his hand when recording the bowed contraption.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    charlieclouser

    charlieclouser Senior Member

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    That subway brakes squealing was recorded in 1982 or so, on cassette tape, with the built-in mics on a Sony recording walkman - auto-gain-control recording, "metal" tape formula - I was cutting edge!

    More recently (ten years ago maybe?) when portable digital field recorders started to show up en masse I got a Sony SD recorder that has a pair of X-Y mics on it and a big furry wind screen that looks like those Rycote deals. Sounds great. I've even recorded drum parts with it. I just listen to playback of a rough version of a cue (or even just a cool song from iTunes) on my iPhone and record what I'm playing on the SD recorder - drop the wav files into Ableton to quantize and sync them up with what I'm doing back in the lab, and... done. I'm all for low-stress setups.

    When I got it the Sony SD recorder it was maybe $500 but since then that market has exploded alongside GoPro cameras etc. so now you can get great ones by Zoom and Tascam for a couple hundred bucks. Of course, you can just record stuff on your iPhone these days, and there's some cool external mic setups for your phone by Blue and others but I haven't tried any of those.

    I never really paid too much attention to how good or bad the quality was - I wouldn't carry around external mics or cables or all that jazz. One cool feature some of the portables have that an iPhone doesn't is "dual gain" recording. They'll record a stereo pair at one gain setting, while simultaneously recording another stereo pair from the same mics but at 12db down - this way if you're in the junk yard banging on scrap metal and the main pair goes into clipping you can use the 12db down pair and hopefully it didn't clip. Cool feature. Most of them have auto-gain-control and limiters built-in also.
     
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  14. OP
    OP
    charlieclouser

    charlieclouser Senior Member

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    Yeah that Zoom belonged to Paul who shot the video. that was just so we'd get audio that wasn't from the iPhone mic. The cameras he used were a silver GoPro and two phones. I recorded the audio output of my Logic rig in ProTools as a stereo file on my second rig, recorded the screen of Logic using QuickTime Player on the Logic machine (with no audio as I couldn't figure out SoundFlower or some sort of loop-back deal), and I was wearing a lav mic that went into the Zoom. Then Paul synced up all of those sources on his editing rig.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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  15. Mornats

    Mornats Senior Member

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    It's pretty amazing what you can do with fairly cheap tech these days isn't it? I've got a Zoom H1N that I may take out one day and grab some sounds with. You've inspired me :)
     
  16. jononotbono

    jononotbono Luke Johnson

    Your contributions to VI-C are immense! Thanks so much! Can’t wait to watch the Jigsaw!
     
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  17. OP
    OP
    charlieclouser

    charlieclouser Senior Member

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    Yup. One train of thought that's always guided me a little is my "anti-Big-Fish" theory: If a style of music can be easily encapsulated / simulated in the context of a sample library of "construction kits" that you can buy for $99 on the Big Fish Audio website, then that's a style I should try to avoid. By revealing itself to be easily reverse-engineered, such a style is therefore no longer something I think of as all that innovative, interesting, or difficult to achieve. Plus every punter on earth will be churning out library tracks that sound 85% as good as the original source that was the inspiration for all those sample libraries. Not to say that I don't buy tons of cheap, derivative sample library content - but I generally throw about 90% of any library away after fishing through it all and keeping the six good drum hits and four loops that I might be able to mess with enough to fit them in with my other sounds.

    When the retro-synth-wave craze hit a couple of years ago, with Stranger Things and Mr. Robot and all that, it took about three months before the sample library sites were absolutely awash in this type of content - pre-packaged and ready to rock. Same thing with "inception braams", "epic trailer drums", etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum. A lot of that content is quite well-produced and useable - drop some 16-bar loops into Ableton, overdub a few lines, and in an hour you've got a tense documentary score suitable for the Vice TV channel. But nobody is coming to me for that type of music, and it's not "morally satisfying" to me to use that kind of content anyway. So I'll buy that Boom Library "cinematic metals" library on special for $99 from VSTBuzz or whatever, just because with a name like "cinematic metals" there HAS to be something good in there, and then immediately load it up in AudioFinder, audition every one of the 4,000 wav files and delete them as I go. No backups, no second chances - just "spacebar, delete, spacebar, delete, spacebar, oooh I'll keep that one, spacebar, delete" all day long. Then 6gb of download becomes 100mb of stuff I might be able to use without being too embarrassed.

    But I'm not really trying to be a factory that churns out oceans of content for every musical genre, applicable to the full spectrum of styles - I just enjoy the process of manually trying to shoe-horn a bunch of interesting sounds into something that resembles music. It's a bit of a happy accident that some of what I do is sort of applicable for a tiny niche of film and television productions.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  18. Brendon Williams

    Brendon Williams Senior Member

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    Loved this, thanks for sharing!
     
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  19. Daniel James

    Daniel James Senior Member

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    That synth part you were 'air playing' in part one was awesome. If you don't mind me asking, what did you make that with? it had an awesome tone to it (as does all your synth work tbh)

    Cheers for sharing mate.

    -DJ
     
  20. OP
    OP
    charlieclouser

    charlieclouser Senior Member

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    Even though I was air-playing (cringe) all over the place in those videos, the only actual synth part was that little industrial / EBM synth bass part for about 16 bars, and that was ES2 doing the main hammering part with some ZebraHZ with its arpeggiator / step sequencer running behind it. The ES2 is the main, legible part and the ZebraHZ is the more dirty and continuous thing behind it that sticks out into the gaps in the ES2 part.
     
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