Fade-out endings?

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Studio51 2 weeks, 4 days ago.

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  • #30710 Reply

    Dogged
    Participant

    I’ve always been told that it’s very important for most cues to have a “sting/button” style ending, a firm and sudden end on a downbeat that rings out. Makes sense, and that is what I usually do. However, depending on the genre, I sometimes find myself writing tracks that seem to beg for a fade-out ending instead. It can be very tempting to go with a fade when the music seems to call for it, especially when the track is a bit more “song-ish” or radio friendly and I think I might want to use it somewhere outside the library ecosystem.

    So, my question is: can I get away with this? If, say, 25% of my tracks sound great with fade-outs, would I be crazy to just throw caution to the wind and do it? I’d obviously only be doing this on the “full length” version of the track, and would still be doing sting/button endings on the :15, :30, and :60 edits of these tracks. I realize that the only definitive answer is “experiment and see how it affects sales”, but I’d like to know what I might be getting myself into before I upload 50 tracks with fades that might turn out to be unsellable!

    Thanks in advance for all input.

    #30711 Reply

    Michael Nickolas
    Participant

    I had this choice just a few days ago on a full length vocal song and decided on the button ending. I suppose you could do two mixes and send a fade out version for digital distribution streaming opportunities and the button version to libraries for placements.

    #30712 Reply

    LAwriter
    Participant

    So, my question is: can I get away with this? If, say, 25% of my tracks sound great with fade-outs, would I be crazy to just throw caution to the wind and do it?

    Don’t do it!! <<at least don’t do it for library use>>

    #30713 Reply

    Mark_Petrie
    Participant

    Consider where it’s going to be used – almost always reality TV and live sports games.

    Watch any of that for more than five minutes and you’ll quickly understand what the most important part of any library track is: the ending.

    #30714 Reply

    BEATSLINGER
    Participant

    I like to live dangerously, so I pull the tags off Pillows, Mattresses, and do both a Tag Ending AND a Fade!!

    For Library/Catalog work I either do really BIG endings, or end on a phrase that has some power to it. But, sometimes the effects drag WAY too long on tail. So, I fade the effects/tail to shorten the duration.

    When I first got started in production cues. I turned in almost 200 mixes that had fade endings. They were sent back to be re-dun..

    #30734 Reply

    Dogged
    Participant

    I see the verdict seems to be unanimous! That’s a bit disappointing, but good to know. I’d still love to hear more opinions, but it sounds like I will have to abandon any hope of submitting a substantial number of tracks with fade endings.

    This raises another related question, though: what to do with all of the music I’ve got that wasn’t originally written with libraries in mind? I’ve got a lot of material that’s more on the “artist” side of things, and I never quite know whether it’s worth trying to monetize those tracks in non-exclusive libraries. Those songs tend to be on the longer side, are often fairly complex, have various features such as fade endings that might be problematic, etc. My questions would then be:

    (1) Aside from fade-outs, are there any other particular “dealbreakers” I’d need to watch out for when trying to monetize those tracks in non-exclusive libraries?

    (2) Is it absolutely necessary to do extensive editing on those tracks to remove any and all such “dealbreakers” before trying to monetize them in non-exclusive libraries, or might it be a viable option to submit those tracks selectively to libraries that cater more to “artist”-style tracks? Are there even any libraries on the non-exclusive side of things that could be described that way? It would be great if there were, so that I could use them as my dump–er, submitting ground for the vast collection of tracks I’ve got that are in that vein. (They’re good tracks, I swear! Lots of potential, can see them being useful to music supes for various things, even if they’re not quite the typical library fare…)

    For Library/Catalog work I either do really BIG endings, or end on a phrase that has some power to it. But, sometimes the effects drag WAY too long on tail. So, I fade the effects/tail to shorten the duration.

    This raises another question: even when using a button ending, how long can the tail acceptably be? Sometimes I like to have some trailing FX and such that peter out gradually. At what duration does this become a sales liability? Anyone? 🙂

    #30744 Reply

    Brian Watson

    Never do fade outs.

    For the tail, it depends, but I usually automate my master to fade the tail over 2-4 bars.

    #30745 Reply

    BEATSLINGER
    Participant

    This raises another question: even when using a button ending, how long can the tail acceptably be? Sometimes I like to have some trailing FX and such that peter out gradually. At what duration does this become a sales liability? Anyone? ?

    Effects Tails (Boo on Chemtrails!!) don’t really make too much of an issue on standard length versions. But, they can create quite a problem on short version (60, 30, 15, tag..) Because it can chew up a LOT of usable time for some music. That’s why I fade them, so I can have more content..

    #30760 Reply

    Michael Nickolas
    Participant

    Yeah, you don’t want a tail to start at ten seconds of a 15 second edit!

    #30763 Reply

    Advice
    Participant

    For short edits such as 15 or 30, no reason why you can’t shorten the tail by fading the tail out earlier. As long as there still is a defined ending. Having a long tail in the full version can sometimes make the short edits easier since you have more to work with (e.g. room to shorten the end) to make it fit the 15 or 30 without jumping through as many hoops.

    #30764 Reply

    Advice
    Participant

    You’ll see many times whereby the music editor used a piece of your track and then slid over the sting ending to make it work at the end of a scene. Being able to wrap up a scene is critical to them. Ending on the root chord is a good idea, don’t get fancy and end on some alternate chord. Also, this is why your track should always end in the same key it started in. Modulations whereby and the end you go up a 1/2 or whole step for “lift” like many older songs did, is a no-no.

    #30765 Reply

    Dogged
    Participant

    That’s great advice, “Advice”! Your username is well-chosen, indeed… 😉

    I obviously agree with what everyone has said above about tail lengths. Like I said, I’d certainly keep them very short for the :15/:30/:60 edits, adding quicker fades to them if necessary, but would prefer to leave the extended tails in my full-length edits. Nothing crazy long even there, but more than just a couple of seconds. It sounds like that shouldn’t be too much of a problem, which is a relief.

    The advice about avoiding modulations, ending on the root chord, etc., is most helpful. I hadn’t really considered that the classic step-up modulation might be a no-no, but of course it makes perfect sense to me now that it’s been brought up. That’s exactly the type of thing I was looking for when I asked about other possible “dealbreakers” in my post above. I would love to know any and all other such “no-nos” that anyone can think of. Should we have a separate thread dedicated to listing those, maybe? I’ll create one if anyone thinks it’s a good idea, otherwise I’d be fine with discussing them in this thread. Either way, this is definitely the kind of info I need, so thanks to all of you!

    #30766 Reply

    ChuckMott
    Participant

    A track is supposed to enhance the mood of a scene. There is no sisutation I could think of ariting for 6 years, when it’s commonly accepted that button and hard endigs are the way to go, where the use of a fadeout instead would add anything of value. It also makes your edits kind of iffy (well the sting is supposed to be 5 secinds but there is a 3 second fadeout, now what?).

    #30775 Reply

    Studio51
    Participant

    The answer is quite simple. #1: You must do at least a button ending which is usually as good as a stinger. Of 10,000 titles I have accepted I have never accepted a fade, and I never will. #2: If for any reason an editor wants a fade he will do that him/herself. No editor wants to listen to two versions of the same cue just to find which has a button. There is one issue you should remember, what you feel a cue needs does not trump what an editor wants. The editor holds the purse strings. So don’t swim upstream, do the proven thing.

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