This year I signed up for another 48 Hour film with my workmates (team Arrested Developers). I've been involved a few times now and this year I'm really proud of what we achieved - the film really hangs together well, and is a good match for the genre we were assigned - romantic comedy.

Every year going into the 48 hour weekend I secretly dread it. I'm keen to use the process to try and get quicker at writing & producing, and get a bit of practice scoring films, but I'm usually concerned that I'll end up on Sunday tired with nothing amazing to show for it.

How It Went

This year it worked out wonderfully! The team was really well organised, and produced a simple, filmable script with lots of scope for an interesting score. In fact, there's very little dialogue in middle section of the film.

I spent a little time on Friday night with the script writers, and awoke on Saturday to a charming (and coherent!) script. I procrastinated over the course of the day, playing around with chords I thought might help me write themes for each character.

In the evening, I headed up to HQ (work) and got straight into scoring. There was a near-final rough cut for me to score to (again, fantastic organisation this year!). I wrote scene cues until about 3am, then headed home. On Sunday I spent all afternoon writing & polishing.

Here's the final product:

Sadly, we didn't make the final!

However, we did win Best Costumes and Best Art Direction - well deserved in my opinion. (Not sure what to make of the other "win" Best 70s Porn Score ...)

About the Score

I wrote two chord progressions, one for each character. The male lead's was a dubby, cheerful loop while the female lead's was more wistful.

I used these chords throughout, using a reggae arrangement for the male theme, and strings for the female. For the "action" sections I made a little moogy arpeggio section.

It was a lot of fun hitting cue points in the SMS section, and scoring the denouement.

Previous Teams

Last year I was involved, to a lesser extent, with Arrested Developers. Aidan wrote an incredible, suspenseful score (I contributed a little loop and some drum recordings).

In 2012 I joined team Radial Head. I had a lot of fun, but the score is pretty thrown together, as is the script. The movie looks and sounds pretty fantastic though. Still really like way it starts off with the helicopter shot + darkstep soundtrack. I guess "found footage" is a tough genre!

I finally got Traktor to sync with something else - Reaper - using MIDI Clock (running on Mac OS X, on the same machine). Here's how I did it..

  • Start Traktor.
  • Start Reaper.
  • Open Reaper Preferences, select Devices > MIDI Devices.
  • Double click "Traktor Virtual Input" and select "use this device" and "send midi clock to this device".
  • In Traktor, open the sync panel thing up the top by clicking the metronome.
  • Click "EXT" button - this tells traktor to listen for MIDI Clock.

Now get a track (with an accurate grid!) loaded into a Traktor deck. In Reaper, set up something locked to the Reaper beat grid - for example, an audio or midi loop.

Press play in Reaper so your loop plays forever. In Traktor, the sync panel should show a tempo similar to the tempo in Reaper. You'll notice that it wavers about a bit. Press play on your gridded track and click Sync.

The Traktor deck should be roughly in sync with Reaper! (In fact, it is loose enough that it sounds a bit like a real DJ is nudging it.)

Questions:

  • If we send the MIDI over a network or MIDI connection to a different machine, will this sync well enough to bother with?
  • Can we sync two copies of Traktor (on different machines) this way?

If you have problems (or corrections), comment below so we can determine what I really did to make this work.

I have been wanting to make some el cheapo near-field monitors for ages. My plan was to get the cheapest drivers I could find, probably with tweeters built in (aha! car speakers!) and put them in decent-sized boxes made out of MDF.

Last weekend when we painted our bedroom I saw that Warehouse had $20 4 inch car speakers and I was like "I am so gonna finally do this". (Luckily for me, the car speaker aisle is the same as the paint aisle.)

SO this weekend I did the stuff in about a day. A little bit of measuring and marking yesterday, and pretty much all day today sawing, glueing and getting tired.

The boxes are glued together with No More Nails and then screwed as well. I didn't use any tables or information about what size cabs would be best for the drivers, just decided based on the size I felt would be good & practical but ensuring there was a reasonable amount of internal volume.

Here's a couple of pictures, there are some more up on flickr.
IMG_6205
IMG_6212

And the best news - I am completely astounded by how they sound! Exactly what I was hoping for, enough range to produce on, they sound good without having to be turned up too loud, and much clearer highs than any of my other speakers.

IMG_6213

Wahoo!
Yep, new bits are here from Haszari. I've been fiddling with this for a while but I think now it is ready for blog primetime.

It is my remix of SoNic Smith's Ladies Style. SoNic Smith is a prolific Dunedin producer who makes all kids of breaks, as well as the odd bit of rave d&b and even some acid house flavours. My aim with this mix was to take the bouncy break beat original in a fidget-house direction, maybe with 3% bassline house influence. Pretty happy with how it's turned out.

Here it is for you to download (from zippyshare megaupload because zippyshare went down):
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=QIJH3Y8P

LEAVE COMMENTS ABOUT THIS BELOW!

Again my usual arsenal of great open source tools was used to make this, Ardour, which really packs a punch these days (don't buy Pro Tools eh) for all the editing, all LADSPA plugins for the mix/edit and mastering, ZynAddSubFX doing the business as a fat as all heck fake analogue synth (man that is a great softsynth). Go download all that software (just install 64Studio, it's all packaged in there for ya).

cheeeers
I've remastered and tidied up The Jacket, used some more sample, and made a housier version which may be more clubby. They're all available at last.fm (see player below) or GarageBand which is a good option if you wanna iLike me on Facebook.

I used the EQ in excellent JAMin to make the spectrum roughly flat (it was quite low-end-heavy and there were little dips here and there). I didn't use any compression, but I think the EQing left a lot of room for makeup gain, so it could well be a lot louder. Anyone know about mastering? I don't.

If you want higher bit rate versions send me an email, sweet as..



ADDITIONAL ADDITIONAL:
The new ("original") version is now in the last.fm player (128k) and still available at zshare too (320k).

TOP POST UPDATE:
There's a new version I've put on zshare (cos I know all you blog readers love viewing zshare ads).. it has a nice complementary sub and some swooshes here and there and the drums are tidied up:
Haszari - The Jacket (original) [320kbps]

It'll go up on Last FM (etc) eventually but they're rejecting the 128k bla bla bla ...


Original post follows...

Here is a work-in-progress track currently called "Jacket". I'm happier with this (even in its current state) than I have been with any homemade music thus far. Here's a last.fm player, and the track is free-downloadable from last.fm, so go and grab it!

It was made with my favourite free software: ZynAddSubFX synth, Hydrogen drum machine, Ardour digital audio workstation, and sequencer Rosegarden. This is all installed and configured to run with low latency by default in the wonderful free operating system (Debian based) 64Studio.

Now your bit: leave comments below or let me know more directly what you reckon, what would make it better, etc etc. Thanks.
Since bringing up the issue of song-destroying monotonous electro remixes, I have gone out and shown my support for the track by buying the old-arse not relevant original mix from that dang beatport.

Just before I did this, I found a presumably old remix competition which had the parts of the song freely downloadable (128k mp3)! Great!

The bonus is that now that I realise the original doesn't have much of an intro, I might be able to give it one with a bit of looping of some of those parts. And I keep the smug "I actually bought this" warm fuzzy feeling.

Slightly curious is that one of the parts is kick and it seems to be eight minutes of kick drum (with gaps for breaks of course). (The others are vocal, bass, drums and music.) I guess this is house music; the kick is pretty important right?

Cheers, Remix Mag and Gabriel & Dresden.