misc When working on your projects how conscious are you of the music in post?

Hey Indietalk family,

So I was watching this scene from POTC and it made me think about the varying degrees of importance that music has within a given scene.

At 1:18 you have a character walking down a flight of stairs as parts of the ship behind him are being destroyed. Now, WITHOUT any music playing, this scene would seem "off" due to its overall epicness. (slow motion, explosions, etc..).

Here is another example of how a scene can feel "off" with the absence of music. In this clip you get to watch the scene with and without..

So my question to you is, how much consideration, if any, do you give to the music added in post when shooting your scenes?


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I like to get music planned ahead of the final film. I know some people have said they put in "placement" or "sample" tracks when editing, music that they would have if they had unlimited budget and support.

I do the opposite, where I get initial background elements/music first, and once the final film is edited score to those scenes, usually with a different artist.
Every project is different. DUH!!! Sometimes the composer is on-board and participates during preproduction. At other/most times s/he is retained but does almost nothing until the first rough edit except for sketches of main & character themes and motifs. And, of course, the thousands of shades of gray in between.

The real key is the director sharing with the composer and music coordinator what is wanted for the film. (This also applies to the sound designer/supervising sound editor.) Score is used to set the mood/tone of the film, to supplement action and convey emotion. It can also be used as contrast in numerous forms.

With the POTC clip it's an exercise in contrast and emotion. The emotions of the captain - hopelessness of the situation and sense of defeat - are the forefront of the score and a contrast/reaction to the violent actions surrounding him. And, just so you know, every last sound effect was in place and ready to be used full force in complete action/adventure mode. It would not have been "empty," but the mood/tone of the scene would have been entirely different. Verbinski told composer Hans Zimmer and sound designer Chis Boyes what the scene was all about and they delivered. The totality - score/emotions and action/adventure violent sound effects - was carefully balanced during the rerecording sessions.

In the "Jaws" clip the score accents the action and enhances the tension. Using modern sound design methods they could possibly have gotten away without, or at least less, scoring.

I like to get music planned ahead of the final film. I know some people have said they put in "placement" or "sample" tracks when editing, music that they would have if they had unlimited budget and support.
Lots of directors and editors use temp music as a placeholder to let the composer know "this is sorta-kinda what I want here" (and also to give the producers something to hear when they stick their noses into the process). Some composers will listen to it, others will not. Sometimes the composer will deliver something that is entirely different than what the director expected, and the response will vary from "No, no, no, no, no," to "HOLY SH!T!!! That's fantastic! I never knew it could be like that!" to "yeah, that's really close, but..."

As a side note, it is always huge plus if the sound designer and composer work closely. There may be a section of a scene where the director wants the footsteps of the character to be very present. This can be very difficult if the score is percussion heavy in that section. This is when it behooves the director to make his intention known quite early to both the sound designer and the composer. The section will need to be scored appropriately, and the sound designer/SSE may direct the Foley team to record the footsteps a little (or a lot) differently.