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jcrosby

Senior Member
EDIT: Sorry lol. I got carried away with the arrangement as I often do :P

The mix isn't bad. Some more reverb, especially on the pianos wouldn't hurt, the brass sounds a bit dry for the genre, overall you might want to think about making the orchestra a little wetter, not much, just enough the give it a bigger vibe... Trailer tracks tend to have more reverb on them than you might expect... (Check the refs below...)

You might also try a small dip around 2k and a lift in the air region. Just a 1 dB dip at 2k and a 3 dB shelf at 12.5k added a nice sheen to the track. A small lift between 300 and 1k would probably help the horns sound bigger, and a very small dip between 100 and 300 reduced some muddy rumble... That's obviously playing with the audio file so you might want to see how you feel that trasnlates to the whole mix. Overall things could use a little extra shimmer above 12k though...



Now back to my original post... Disregard if you feel the arrangement comments aren't relevant for your project...



It's not a bad first go at all, some cool elements as well. There are some basic 'rules' you see used trailer music you might consider though. These rules (for lack of a better word) also tend to emphasize the picture and ultimately result in a more compelling trailer overall.

Theme & Story - The important thing to understand about a trailer track is that its main purpose is to help tell a story via the music. Even if the intro doesn't make use of any thematic content a good trailer track will find a way for all parts to feel related. (Signature sounds that show up in more than one area are a common way).

Sonic Identity - A standout trailer track is not intended to be generic 'trailer music', but instead will have a sonic identity. That identity could be part of a larger whole (Marvel Universe for example - re-use of the theme...), whereas a one-off film would most likely be on the hunt for a piece of music that had some kind of distinct identity (while still playing in the genre). The identity could be a signature sound (unique sounds used as motifs), or a strong theme whose strength lies in its simplicity - less is always going to be more in trailer music - a theme needs to be easy to remember... Or a combination of both. On that note your sound design starting at :48 - the throbbing synth - is really cool. This is a great example of a signature that might show up again later, or ideally be used as a sonic fingerprint during the backend (the final climax). At the end of the day a trailer track's sole purpose is to sell a movie, show, or game, so it needs to have something that gives it a sense of identity.

Simplicity - This is actually one of the hardest things about trailer music that sounds easy on paper but actually takes some nuance... How do you say something powerful with just a few notes as possible, while still making something that leaves you with a sense of awe... So for example your orchestral build starting at 1:23 could be more repetitive and simple. Again, this is counterintuitive though, the goal would be to simplify it in such a way where the music actually winds up being more compelling than it is when it's too complex. (It starting off as major is cool and unexpected actually. There's a real opportunity there to build off of that with a simple 4 chord theme that uses brass receptively. (Linked an example of something like this)

Momentum - If you look at any trailer and you'll see the intensity builds and builds right through the end of the trailer, so your piece doesn't have what's referred to as a proper backend. 1:23 onward is typically where the trailer would really kick in, and from there it would be a continuous build in energy until your final hits. Trailers often build right up until the last 10-20 seconds, from there you might see anything from a signature repeated, to re-use of the intro, hard to say without seeing what you're working with... The main point is that a successful trailer has a defined moment where the music really kicks in and the music essentially takes the spotlight. From that point on the music needs to build in momentum; not momentum in terms of percussion becoming faster, but momentum in terms of a build in energy that feels almost relentless...

Hanging Chords - One final trick is to leave a trailer unresolved... Often the final chord will deliberately not end on the tonic. It's typically harmonically related, so for example the backend might end on a dominant V, leaving the climax feeling open ended. This is super common, and when done well it adds to the sense of building momentum and tension. that said two of the tracks below end on the tonic, two are left hanging...

One last small detail... Often times reverb tails will be left ringing out vs having sustained notes/beds like you have in the gaps between sections. Letting a track breathe by letting tails ring out is something editors love as it makes it easy to cut picture to, and makes space for dialogue, sfx, etc... (May not be relevant to your situation, but something to consider...)


Here are a few tracks:

These all should in some way or another illustrate the points above... the themes and harmony are simple and repetitive, you'll often hear a common thread that either happens throughout the piece or is introduced within the 1st 30-60 seconds, and the tracks continuously build to a climax that conveys intensity and a sense of awe.





(Example mentioned above - Notice how the synth that starts at 1:04 mainly revolves around two notes that repeat over a simple chord progression. As the piece hits the climax two notes are added, in a call and response format. The thing to notice hear is that only two notes are ever used during the call or response to form the theme... Simplicity can be powerful.)






(Notice how the last chord around 2:48 is left unresolved)







(Stylistically different, the main thing here is how relentlessly the piece builds until the outro....)





(Notice how the final chord of the climax is left hanging on the dominant.)
 
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HelpWithHissing

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EDIT: Sorry lol. I got carried away with the arrangement as I often do :P

The mix isn't bad. Some more reverb, especially on the pianos wouldn't hurt, the brass sounds a bit dry for the genre, overall you might want to think about making the orchestra a little wetter, not much, just enough the give it a bigger vibe... Trailer tracks tend to have more reverb on them than you might expect... (Check the refs below...)

You might also try a small dip around 2k and a lift in the air region. Just a 1 dB dip at 2k and a 3 dB shelf at 12.5k added a nice sheen to the track. A small lift between 300 and 1k would probably help the horns sound bigger, and a very small dip between 100 and 300 reduced some muddy rumble... That's obviously playing with the audio file so you might want to see how you feel that trasnlates to the whole mix. Overall things could use a little extra shimmer above 12k though...



Now back to my original post... Disregard if you feel the arrangement comments aren't relevant for your project...



It's not a bad first go at all, some cool elements as well. There are some basic 'rules' you see used trailer music you might consider though. These rules (for lack of a better word) also tend to emphasize the picture and ultimately result in a more compelling trailer overall.

Theme & Story - The important thing to understand about a trailer track is that its main purpose is to help tell a story via the music. Even if the intro doesn't make use of any thematic content a good trailer track will find a way for all parts to feel related. (Signature sounds that show up in more than one area are a common way).

Sonic Identity - A standout trailer track is not intended to be generic 'trailer music', but instead will have a sonic identity. That identity could be part of a larger whole (Marvel Universe for example - re-use of the theme...), whereas a one-off film would most likely be on the hunt for a piece of music that had some kind of distinct identity (while still playing in the genre). The identity could be a signature sound (unique sounds used as motifs), or a strong theme whose strength lies in its simplicity - less is always going to be more in trailer music - a theme needs to be easy to remember... Or a combination of both. On that note your sound design starting at :48 - the throbbing synth - is really cool. This is a great example of a signature that might show up again later, or ideally be used as a sonic fingerprint during the backend (the final climax). At the end of the day a trailer track's sole purpose is to sell a movie, show, or game, so it needs to have something that gives it a sense of identity.

Simplicity - This is actually one of the hardest things about trailer music that sounds easy on paper but actually takes some nuance... How do you say something powerful with just a few notes as possible, while still making something that leaves you with a sense of awe... So for example your orchestral build starting at 1:23 could be more repetitive and simple. Again, this is counterintuitive though, the goal would be to simplify it in such a way where the music actually winds up being more compelling than it is when it's too complex. (It starting off as major is cool and unexpected actually. There's a real opportunity there to build off of that with a simple 4 chord theme that uses brass receptively. (Linked an example of something like this)

Momentum - If you look at any trailer and you'll see the intensity builds and builds right through the end of the trailer, so your piece doesn't have what's referred to as a proper backend. 1:23 onward is typically where the trailer would really kick in, and from there it would be a continuous build in energy until your final hits. Trailers often build right up until the last 10-20 seconds, from there you might see anything from a signature repeated, to re-use of the intro, hard to say without seeing what you're working with... The main point is that a successful trailer has a defined moment where the music really kicks in and the music essentially takes the spotlight. From that point on the music needs to build in momentum; not momentum in terms of percussion becoming faster, but momentum in terms of a build in energy that feels almost relentless...

Hanging Chords - One final trick is to leave a trailer unresolved... Often the final chord will deliberately not end on the tonic. It's typically harmonically related, so for example the backend might end on a dominant V, leaving the climax feeling open ended. This is super common, and when done well it adds to the sense of building momentum and tension. that said two of the tracks below end on the tonic, two are left hanging...

One last small detail... Often times reverb tails will be left ringing out vs having sustained notes/beds like you have in the gaps between sections. Letting a track breathe by letting tails ring out is something editors love as it makes it easy to cut picture to, and makes space for dialogue, sfx, etc... (May not be relevant to your situation, but something to consider...)


Here are a few tracks:

These all should in some way or another illustrate the points above... the themes and harmony are simple and repetitive, you'll often hear a common thread that either happens throughout the piece or is introduced within the 1st 30-60 seconds, and the tracks continuously build to a climax that conveys intensity and a sense of awe.





(Example mentioned above - Notice how the synth that starts at 1:04 mainly revolves around two notes that repeat over a simple chord progression. As the piece hits the climax two notes are added, in a call and response format. The thing to notice hear is that only two notes are ever used during the call or response to form the theme... Simplicity can be powerful.)






(Notice how the last chord around 2:48 is left unresolved)







(Stylistically different, the main thing here is how relentlessly the piece builds until the outro....)





(Notice how the final chord of the climax is left hanging on the dominant.)

Thanks a lot for the tips! I'll try those out.

I left out an important detail, which is that students were given a brief for the trailer that has exact directions for each hit point. That might explain why it feels like the last 30 seconds or so lose some momentum, since there's no trailer for reference. 2:05 is kind of a callback section that takes place after the main climax. I'll definitely check it out again before submitting because I can probably bring the volume up a little bit and make it more energetic.

Thanks again :)
 

jcrosby

Senior Member
Thanks a lot for the tips! I'll try those out.

I left out an important detail, which is that students were given a brief for the trailer that has exact directions for each hit point. That might explain why it feels like the last 30 seconds or so lose some momentum, since there's no trailer for reference. 2:05 is kind of a callback section that takes place after the main climax. I'll definitely check it out again before submitting because I can probably bring the volume up a little bit and make it more energetic.

Thanks again :)
You're welcome :)

Ok, that makes sense which is part of why I updated my original post, (in addition to getting carried away about the arrangement but not commenting on the mix)...

And that's the interesting thing about a trailer vs the actual piece of music originally chosen. Unless a label gets a custom offer, the original track is often structured differently. That's why, at least in the context of writing for a library or writing in the genre in general, leaving gaps between sections is smart.... It allows the editor to re-cut your music easily...

Here are a few standout trailers from last year that all have the backend placed earlier and the last 30+ seconds use sections from earlier in the track, similar to yours. Basically these are probably closer to your assignment(?) and might be useful as arrangement references... (Or as mix references)...

(FYI if interested in hearing the original tracks for mix reference just reply back and I'll link you to them... I either bought or have tracked down the originals and have them as part of my collection of references...)















 
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Pier

Senior Member
You're welcome :)

Ok, that makes sense which is part of why I updated my original post, (in addition to getting carried away about the arrangement but not commenting on the mix)...

And that's the interesting thing about a trailer vs the actual piece of music originally chosen. Unless a label gets a custom offer, the original track is often structured differently. That's why, at least in the context of writing for a library or writing in the genre in general, leaving gaps between sections is smart.... It allows the editor to re-cut your music easily...

Here are a few standout trailers from last year that all have the backend placed earlier and the last 30+ seconds use sections from earlier in the track, similar to yours. Basically these are probably closer to your assignment(?) and might be useful as arrangement references... (Or as mix references)...

(FYI if interested in hearing the original tracks for mix reference just reply back and I'll link you to them... I either bought or have tracked down the originals and have them as part of my collection of references...)
















These trailers are so good the shows didn't live up to the expectations they promise :)

Off topic but... do you know of any trailers without music to practice scoring? I mean with voice and FX but no music.
 

jcrosby

Senior Member
These trailers are so good the shows didn't live up to the expectations they promise :)

Off topic but... do you know of any trailers without music to practice scoring? I mean with voice and FX but no music.
So true! It's funny that trailers can sometimes be more engaging than the actual show or film. :P

I actually don't Pier, but other than the SF Westworld competition IIRC, I'd imagine there are a ton of resources here. Re-scoring is a pretty recent phenomena I only started seeing in the past 3-ish years so this place is probably a great resource for where you might look...

Maybe the OP has a resource?
 

Pier

Senior Member
I actually don't Pier, but other than the SF Westworld competition IIRC, I'd imagine there are a ton of resources here. Re-scoring is a pretty recent phenomena I only started seeing in the past 3-ish years so this place is probably a great resource for where you might look...
I've actually found tons of movie/tv scenes without music just googling around. No trailers though...
 

storyteller

Senior Member
These trailers are so good the shows didn't live up to the expectations they promise :)

Off topic but... do you know of any trailers without music to practice scoring? I mean with voice and FX but no music.
There is a Men In Black International trailer floating around that was accidentally released without the music and only voice + fx when they were intending to release the first trailer. That is probably the highest quality one I am aware of. The Stargirl trailer is another good one...
 
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