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Music Page Update

by Jayme Gutierrez Posted in blogging | 2 Comments »

More changes on the Website!
This time is the music section – we had all our music on the server so whenever we have a lot of traffic it would suddenly use up all of our bandwidth and the web would go down!
It’s no than elegant and professional but say hello to our new embeded Bandcamp player!!!

Behind The Scenes; Soundtrack. 3

by Jayme Gutierrez Posted in blogging | 1 Comment »

There is a reason why I chose to put as much music in the pilot episode as I possibly could…
For those who haven’t noticed, each piece of background music is themed on Dutch Courage song.
All of the tracks use the main melody line from Dutch Courage, or use the same chord structure..
My idea is to get the viewer familiar with the end track of the episode Dutch Courage by subliminally playing its melody line and chords in the background music, throughout the episode. So that when they hear Dutch Courage for the first time, they will already have, sort of, heard it before. Hopefully making it stick in the brain better.
It’s just a little experiment that I wanted to try out… So next time you watch the Jayme G-Show be sure to listen for the Dutch Courage melody line, in the background! There are about 23 different tracks, by the way!

So anyway, getting back to where I left off…
Now we’re in the theme park, with the big boot.
Originally I was going to have the music playing on a background fairground barrel organ, so I wrote a simple piece on the organ to simulate that.
It didn’t work as well as I thought because in order for the music to sound like it’s coming from a distant barrel organ I needed to turn it down to the right level and put a long delay on it, leaving the music very faint and well in the background. But, in order to be able to hear the melody well enough I would have to turn it up quite a lot, making it sound just horrible and confusing :s
So I scrapped that idea but kept the organ part, without the delay, then added some drums, bass, e.t.c,.. and just used it as background music.
I planned the music to end just when the shutter goes down.

Something that I am realizing now is that I have forgotten to talk about the sound fx.
It was another VERY involved job. And from now on I think that I’m going to start to point out a few.
For example; in this particular scene the footsteps on the gravel that occur when the boy crosses the screen are fake! I did them! The are also panned, starting off far left and then going over to the right, following the boys position.
I also added some background children’s voices and some fairground rides too.
The tramps footsteps on the gravel were also done by me.
Joe! played the part of that tramp. I think he sounds a bit like Bob Hoskins XD
At the end of the scene the shutter goes down and that sound was actually the plug re-wined mechanism on our vacuum cleaner. It was just the sound I was looking for, plus it meant that I didn’t have to leave the studio!

Behind The Scenes; Soundtrack. 2

by Jayme Gutierrez Posted in blogging | 2 Comments »

So the next scene would be Jayme and Joe! in the pet-shop. The music starts off again in the previous scene, which ends with another gag. But this time, instead of the drums complementing the joke, I went for a short guitar lick.
The music then stays the same until Jayme and Joe! are inside the pet-shop where the music then cross-fades into the background shop radio.
The handy thing about the pet-shop that we filmed in was that it had no animals in it!
They sell pet food, dog collars, e.t.c, and also wash dogs.
Having no animals meant no noise pollution! So we didn’t have to worry about cuts! You see, when you’re only filming with one camera, you can’t record all of the camera angles in one take. So you have to record it in bits and then put it all together in the editing.
But the problem with having background audio over the actors voices is that when you cut to a different shot the audio in the background also changes (because it was recorded at a different time), so when filming this way, it’s best to have just the actors audio and put the background sounds in after, in the editing.

I would just like to take the time to say thanks to ‘Paco’, the real pet-shop owner, who very kindly let us record in his pet-shop (Snoopy Mascota, in Jaén) and came in extra early to open up for us. Thanks Paco!!!

I love my helmet hair in this picture!! XD That’s Paco, on the far right.
The following piece of music had to have a bit more thought put in to it…
Seeing as the next scene is a flashback, with a joke between the boss and a car mechanic, I decided that the music should resolve in that same scene. So when the boss is coming up to the punchline, the music is also coming to the last bar. I think that it wraps up the scene nicely.
So, in order to write a piece of music so that it has 4 bars and finishes exactly where you need it to, it’s just a case of doing a simple sum…
Here’s an example, working with a time signature of 4/4 (4 beats to each bar):

Length of the scene = 13 seconds
4 beats x 4 bars = 16 beats
So, we go…
13 ÷ 16 = 0.8125 seconds (that’s how long each beat needs to be, to fit 16 beats into 13 seconds)

So now what we have to do is work out how many beats there are in 60 seconds, to get the bpm (beats per minute):

60 ÷ 0.8125 = 73.846 bpm

Now that I have the bpm, I can start writing a piece of music that fits perfectly!!
There are lots of other ways to fit music perfectly to a scene, you don’t always have to do it in 4 bars, but for this particular piece that’s what I wanted.
I also ended the music on the penultimate beat, to give 1 beat of empty space (simulating an awkward silence, between the boss and the mechanic).

After that it’s back to the pet-shop radio and then to a bit of dramatic score.
“Don’t feed the exotic animals!!!”. This scene needed to give of a feeling of urgency so I decided to use drums, starting off slow and then gradually getting faster and faster as Joe! get’s nearer to the cage, simulating a ticking bomb, making you feel like you’re running out of time. But just using drums wasn’t enough, it needed more instruments to feel more busy.
So I put in some discordant strings that detune upwards, to make it feel like something scary was about to happen if he didn’t get the the cage in time.
The next bit (where you see the chimp eating something) needed some suspense, because Joe! failed to get there in time, so now we’re waiting and wondering what’s going to happen… That’s fairly strait forward; just some slightly discordant sustained strings.

In the next part, where Joe! feeds a monkey for the first time, I put together a short snippet of radio where I am the DJ, saying; “…that, but anyway, it’s one thirty and you’re listening to radio, one, derr” and then I play a record (which is the same song used for the montage, later on).
When the boss also says “DON’T FEED THE EXOTIC ANIMALS!!!” Joe! was shocked. So I used a lot of really discordant strings and drums, making it sound messy and horrible to be there.
After the flashback Joe!’s looking at the cadge and something is starting to happen the the chimp, so rising strings and more drums seemed to give the impression of something growing, or starting to happen…

Behind The Scenes; Soundtrack. 1

by Jayme Gutierrez Posted in blogging | No Comments »

The music makes all the difference.
Ever watched a video with no sound? It’s has nowhere near the same impact as one with sound. Just think of the cinema, how dramatic is that!!?? (I like to stay until the very end, to be able to listen to the soundtrack in an acoustically treated room with a good sound system!) ;)

Most people hardly notice the background music at all (or at least what it’s doing), and that’s what you want to do. You want to put the emotion into the scene but without it sounding out of place. And when you do it right, people won’t notice you’ve done anything at all! So that’s why it’s so important to spend a lot of time getting it right.
It’s only when you do it wrong that it notices!

The soundtrack took quite a long time to do.
Before I could even start writing anything, I had to spend a long time just watching and thinking. I found it helpful to ask myself questions like; “What’s the mood of the characters in this scene?”, or “When and how should the music start and end?”
I think that that creativity comes from solving problems. So I like to see problems as a chance to be creative, by finding ways around them.
So I found that the more questions I asked about each scene, the easier it became to understand what to do.
And when I finally got it right, I’d listen to it and think; “of course, that’s so obvious! How come I didn’t think of doing it like that in the first place?”

The first piece of music that I wrote was a very simple sinister sounding atmosphere, for the first scene (the one with the monks in it). Then the monk pushes play on the tape recorder and soon after, the second track starts. Then the atmospheric music fades out, as the music on the tape starts changing from a radio sound into the live sound of Jayme and Joe! playing in the classroom.This wasn’t hard at all because it was just simply a matter of following what was going on in the visual.

Then it goes straight to the bar scene, with Joe! (years later) and the music starts the scene off. There the music is used as if it were playing in the bar.

After we finish playing, the next track starts at the end of the scene. I think that it really ties the scenes together and gives the whole thing more continuity, plus it complements the “9 o’clock on a Saturday morning” joke. It also gives off the feeling that something else is about to start, i.e. the next scene.
This track was the first one I worked on and it was very hard. I ended up having to dump the first song I wrote for it and write a new one because the flavour was all wrong. Getting the right flavour is so important!

It was also very hard deciding what to do with the music once it had started. “Is it O.K to just play it in the background, even though they’re in the street?” Answer; This particular piece of music isn’t in their world, so they can’t hear it! It is simply just part of the soundtrack. “O.K, but is that still O.K to just play over the scene…?”
So I simply tried it with and without the music..
I found that, due to all of the cuts and the way the scene has been filmed, there is quite a few continuity faults. So leaving the music playing over the whole scene helped to gel it all together by giving it more of a timeline and making it more like one long scene, instead of a load of cuts.

More soon…

Home Studio Basics

by Jayme Gutierrez Posted in blogging | 1 Comment »

Today I thought I’d do quick rundown of the basic things you need to set up a fairly efficient home studio, for those who are interested in setting one up.

-First you’ll need a computer.
Desktops are usually more stable and powerful than laptops, plus you can upgrade parts later on.
Now the dilemma…
P.C or Mac? Well, this is a tough one:
1: Mac= supposedly better than a P.C

…Once you have your P.C, you’ll then need a DAW.
Digital Audio Workstation. This is where all the music is going to be put together. There are lots of diferent ones; Logic, Cubase, Sonar, Ableton Live, Pro-tools, e.t.c..
To me the DAW is like another instrument. It plays a big part in the way I write music, purely because I am able to manipulate whatever I’ve record, until I like the way it sounds!
Moving on…

-Then you’ll need some sample libraries.
Sampled pianos, organs, drums, e.t.c…

-A midi controller. (Keyboard) To trigger the samples.

-A microphone, or microphones.
Essential for recording vocals.
I would definitely recommend at least one condenser microphone for acoustic guitar and vocals because it is more sensitive than a dynamic one, so you’ll get a much clearer sound.

-An audio interface.
This is basically a sound card.
Choosing the right one depends on what you’re going to be doing.
If you need to use microphones for acoustic guitar recordings and more, then you’ll definitely benefit with more than 1 XLR input (a high impedance mic input). If the audio interface has phantom power as well then even better because some microphones, like condenser microphones, need it.
I used to use a mackie onyx 400f, but I don’t think that it’s available anymore. Now I use a Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56.

-Some loudspeakers and amplifier.
For mixing, it’s better to use loudspeakers than headphones.
You’ll also need to treat your room so that you don’t get sound bouncing all over the place and bass collecting in the corners, giving you an inaccurate reading. Bass traps are good for this.

-And finally some headphones.
For recording guitar and vocals, e.t.c.. But don’t expose yourself to loud volumes for long periods of time cos you’ll damage your ears!