De­liv­er­ing un­der­score mixes

Cov­er­ing an ed­i­tor’s re­quire­ments with un­der­scores makes life eas­ier and may be the dif­fer­ence be­tween your track get­ting sync’d to pic­ture or not

Future Music - - PRODUCER’S GUIDE TO -

Un­der­scores are ‘stripped back’ ver­sions of a main mix which of­fer an ed­i­tor a se­ries of mu­si­cal al­ter­na­tives. These can prove useful in all kinds of con­texts. If a cou­ple of char­ac­ters have been in­tro­duced with a ‘main mix’, us­ing this again (when they reap­pear) would make the­matic sense. How­ever, if this sec­ond scene is di­a­logue-heavy, run­ning the main mix, com­plete with top line, might sound too clut­tered. Un­der­scores can be useful in other con­texts too. Some­times an ed­i­tor might love every­thing ex­cept the brass; in fact, she might dis­like the brass so much that she’d pre­fer to use a dif­fer­ent track al­to­gether be­cause of it. Know­ing that a brass-free un­der­score ex­ists might make all the dif­fer­ence. Cover your bases, max­imise your chances. Start by print­ing a ‘main mix’. Al­ways check with a client if they want mixes ‘clean’ from an out­put chain of ef­fects, or ‘mas­tered’. Our main track con­tains a pi­ano lead and sur­round­ing tex­tures – high/low strings, synth pulses, elec­tronic at­mo­spher­ics and a sub hit. It’s com­mon for clients/pub­lish­ers to re­quest a mix with­out a top line or melody as this im­me­di­ately makes it eas­ier to use a cue un­der di­a­logue. We mute the pi­ano line and run off a mix which is far more am­bi­ent and un­ob­tru­sive as a re­sult. Edi­tors like elec­tronic and acous­tic el­e­ments sep­a­rated, whether you’re pro­vid­ing stems or un­der­scores. So print the pi­ano and strings as an ‘acous­tic mix’. Print­ing an elec­tron­ics-only mix would be wise too, giv­ing the op­tion to fade one mix up un­der the other.

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