Critique Please – Movie Score – Sunset On A Cloud

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From member “J3h43f4”:

I’m looking for anything and everything that would make these not licensable. Crucial listened to these and thought, “nope, these are no good”. So I’m wondering what element is no good? What element makes these not licensable? I would appreciate any feedback and I thank you for your time.

Movie Score
Movie Score

Sunset On A Cloud
Sunset On A Cloud

10 thoughts on “Critique Please – Movie Score – Sunset On A Cloud

  1. lcmt touched on using reverb to place players in various positions in the room. You can use different size room reverbs (small, med, large) to add different depths. Large room reverbs make for a “to the back” placement. Small rooms or no reverb makes for a “to the front” placement. Eq can help with placement also. A reverb (or source instruments) with a darker eq sounds from the back, a reverb with a bright eq sounds more up front. Jut a tip, good luck!

  2. If you want me to be brutally honest, both tracks were a bit “meh” for me. Not bad, just not amazing either.
    Sunset on a Cloud was not inspiring or emotional enough for me. The strings sound a little bland, and not all that realistic.
    Movie Score was more energetic, but the percussion and brass elements did not leap out at me as I wanted them to. Good tunes in general ,but could use more risky elelments both melodically and in terms of the mixing, maybe bring things a little more – “in your face”.
    A library somewhere is looking for this kind of stuff for sure, so re-mix and send to a few more companies for feedback. They will get placed with a little extra work.

  3. Nice work, J…Keep it up…

    As far as critque…I noticed a bit of “pumping” on the Score..This is normally attributed to a compression error…

    I also noticed that the reverbs teneded to have the same tail applied to all…This can contribute to a masking effect…which might be why the mix has some volume drops…

    Another thing that I noticed is that at points the percussion parts started to build and then dropped out…

    Also, I would recommend to shorten some of the note durations….it will help leave more space between the harmonic structure…and give a the piece a more magical feel.

    We all tend to overfill space…The magic of space is to give the piece as much space as possible…which often means eliminating parts…

    Listen to the piece without any reverb….and add in reverb only when necessary…

    Also, make sure to listen to your mix in mono…on one speaker…to check the balances…

    Just a few tools that we all learn over the years…wish you all the best.

    • Thanks for the detailed suggestions LC. I can really use those.

      What song in particular are you referring to? You mentioned percussion so I assume its Movie Score?

      I’ll work on the pumping.

      As far as the tails go, I’m using QL Spaces. I bus the strings to a QL Spaces with “S. Cal Hall Strings” then bus my Brass to “S. Cal Hall Brass” and so on. Isn’t this how your suppose to do it. Shouldn’t they all have the same tail to sound like an orchestral hall?

      When you mention note durations, do you mean for the legato strings? legato brass?

      When you mentioned listening in a mono environment, to check the balances…do you mean “volume levels” when you say balances?

      Are you a mixer? Does TSFH mix their own material?

      • Hello J.

        I was referring to the Score. There seems to be some kind of masking going on. This could be the result reverb crossovers or very possibly something occurring in the stereo field.

        Reverb tails can create a masking effect. If you think of reverb as a wave that is created when a rock is thrown into a pool, then any other rock thrown into the pool is going to have an effect on the wave. If you throw the rock in at certain points, it will create a crossing wave, which confuses the original pattern.

        Also, check to see if any of your instruments use a panning effect. This can create havoc in the mix. I generally covert any of these types of instruments to mono.

        As far as note durations, they can sometimes create problems when transitioning from one note to the next, both legato and stacatto. This can be fixed by creating some space in the transition. You won’t get it with live players, but in midi it can be a problem, depending on the instrument…and it’s not consistent…seems to happen on certain transitions. I usually isolated various parts of the mix and check transitions for any conflicts.

        Also, when the transitions are all quantized to the same length as the note, the dynamics tend to be flat.

        Listening to the mix in mono through one speaker helps get the proper volume balance, especially for anything panned in the middle. Parts panned to the middle in stereo or often 3 to 6 db louder than they should be…and listening in mono on one speaker reveals this.

        I’m not a mixer..I’m a writer…I’m not familiar with how TSFH mixes.

        I’ve learned through the years that a mix can kill a good composition. A good mix, on the other hand is a thing of beauty.

        Hope this helps…lc

        Most of us have to do our own mixing. It’s

      • I was trying to edit the last statement to add some more thoughts, but the editing time collapsed.

        With regards to reverb:

        Players are in various positions in the room. The room reflections of those closer to the wall are different form those farther away. Also, if you have one section playing more loudly than another, the ratio of reverb is affected.

        Try listening to various parts of the mix without any reverb. Often times the ear only hears one reverb…and others can be eliminated in places for a more transparent sound.

        good luck…lc

  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDSeWyuzjrk&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Won’t critique mixing because listening on an iPad except to say the composition is good. Check out the above link..He does a lot of reviews and breakdowns of his compositions on his channel.
    Maxim in PT is a particularity BAD limiter. Ozone will give you Limiting,Multiband compression, Stereo width and much more. For an all in one computer solution it’s very good. Professional mastering houses will use a multitude of analogue and digital processing, and charge accordingly.

  5. Thanks Mark for replying, I appreciate it very much.
    Yes “Movie Score” is more like a Trailer I suppose.

    I’m very interested in what you said here: “You’ll have to really work on the production (programming, mixing, mastering) to get headway in that game. I really liked the composition, but the execution let it down a little.”

    Are the strings not programmed well? Is the mix bad? For mastering I just used Maxim in Pro Tools. I composed this in Cubase though. What does Two Steps From Hell use do you think? Do they have their own Mastering service? Do you use an outside service or use Waves/Ozone?

    What needs more work…the Programming or the Mixing/Mastering?

    Be brutally honest please, I’ve written enough pieces to become emotionally detached from my work….at least when I’m finished with it 😉

    • You’ll want to work on both – they go hand in hand. Make sure every second of your track is as polished and full as it can be. Do a side by side comparison of your mix to that of a track by TSFH, and try to hear the things that make their ‘sound’ what it is. Try not to get discouraged when you do that – they’re pretty much the gold standard in the trailer world right now, so anything you can do to work towards creating a sound as full as theirs is great : )
      For mastering, Ozone is far more versatile than the L3, but it’s a little more complicated. It took me a while to wrap my head around it.

  6. Musically I think they’re both really strong. It’s possible that high end libraries like Crucial aren’t looking for simple, piano and strings tracks like Sunset on a Cloud – there’s just so much out there like that already. ‘Movie Score’ is really cool, but it seems like you’re going in a movie trailer direction. You’ll have to really work on the production (programming, mixing, mastering) to get headway in that game. I really liked the composition, but the execution let it down a little. Do a / b comparisons of your music against the top trailer composers (start with Two Steps From Hell) to figure out what you’re missing production-wise.

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