The final stamp of approval on the music from the producers/directors.
Feedback from the directors and/or producers to the composer about the music and what changes need to be made to make it fit seamlessly to the picture.
A mockup using sampled virtual instruments, which are ‘performed’ into the computer (generally using a music keyboard) which allows the creative team to hear how the music will sound before it is performed by real musicians.
A set of services to provide to the creative team. For example, you may need to send audio files to the mix engineer for the music to be mixed. The audio files would be considered ‘deliverables’.
A DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is a software used by musicians which enables them to write and record music into the computer. Logic Pro is one of many DAW’s that are considered industry standard.
Taking a musical idea and distributing it across the instrumentation of the track. This includes taking all of the elements such as melodies, counter melodies and harmonies, and choosing which instruments play them.
Taking a pre-existing fully orchestrated track and rearranging which instruments to play the tune and harmonies etc. For example, you may want to rearrange a track that was originally played by a rock band for an orchestra. You might take the chugging electric guitar chords and have those spread out across the string section instead.
This is a screening preview before the film is released in cinemas or on a streaming service. Usually, the audience is asked to fill in a questionnaire and it provides feedback about what is or isn’t good about the film.
Musical Instrument Digital Interface: the note information that is used inside the computer; for example, the pitch and the length of the note. The orchestrator can take the MIDI from the composer and turn it into sheet music, ready to be performed by musicians.
Digital Audio Workstation: this includes programmes such as Pro Tools, Logic Pro and Cubase to name a few. DAWs enable the user to write and ‘perform’ music into them. Rather than writing music down onto manuscript, composers and songwriters can now create music inside the computer using a DAW by recording MIDI or audio into it.
A string technique whereby the string is plucked rather than bowed.
A string technique whereby the string is bowed.
The end section of a piece of music.
A piece of music.
A spreadsheet which lists all of the individual cues within the project, and all of the instruments used within each cue. It helps to keep track of what instruments are used within each cue. Before the music gets placed on the music stand, every part is checked against the cue sheet to double-check that it has been printed and not missed out.
A copyist is somebody who formats the parts for the musicians. They take the orchestrator’s notation software file and tidy the parts (the music that the players read from), to ensure that they are easy to read, which saves studio time. They may also format the score (the music that the conductor and everyone in the control room read from) to make things as easy as possible for everyone to sight-read. The copyist is also in charge of printing and collating all of the music for the recording session.
Recording additional parts over pre-existing music. For example, if you have spent the morning recording long legato strings, you may wish to overdub short staccato strings in an evening session. This would be required in the U.K where it is not possible to overdub music on the same cue in the same session.
Sorting out all of the elements that are required to be completed before the recording takes place. For example, track laying (importing pre-recorded parts into a DAW that the orchestra has to play to).
Everything that happens once the music has been recorded. For example, the mixing, mastering and dubbing etc.
A union that protects composers, songwriters, performers and lyricists etc. Musicians can pay for a membership which helps to protect their rights and provide a fairer industry. Services they provide include insurance, legal advice and information about appropriate fees.
This is where the composer is paid a lump sum of money by the production company, and it is up to them to pay the players, studio, orchestrator etc from the fee. The composer essentially becomes the executive producer of the entire music department.
Everybody playing at the same time.
The tuning of a pitch.
Also known as the control room. This is where the mixing engineer and recording engineer work, along with the clients and other team members involved in the production. You’ll find the mixing desk in this room and any other outboard gear.
The microphones which sit over the conductors head attached to a stand, usually around three metres above ground level.
Short for ‘music stand’.
The person who chooses and hires all of the players for the session and sorts out all of the contracts for the musicians. They’re also in charge of making sure that the musicians are paid properly and that the composer does not exceed their budget.
The librarian organises, catalogues and answers any players’ question about the sheet music.
Reading music at first sight, having never heard or read the music before.
Multiple tempos happening at different times within a track.
A convention to specify how many beats are in each bar. It breaks up the music and makes it more manageable to read.
Another term for ‘metronome’.
The person in charge of capturing the performance of the composer’s music. They will sit in the control room of the studio behind large mixing desks to oversee the sound creation in the recording process. Generally, they’re responsible for setting up all of the microphones and controlling all of the sound coming in and out of the mixing desk.
If someone is bouncing out files from a DAW, it essentially means that they are ‘exporting’ files from the project.
Control Room. This is where everybody sits to listen to the playback of the recording.
When music is performed by two separate groups. Usually, if strings are recorded antiphonally, the first violins sit on the left side of the hall, and the second violins sit on the right side, rather than both sections on the left.
The placement on sound sources within an audio signal. If something sounds wide, it usually has a good stereo image, rather than a track that might sound mono with everything placed in the middle.
Notes to be played shortly.
Now referred to as ‘recordists’, ‘pro tools operators’ or ‘assistant engineers’ who are in charge of helping the engineer to set the studio up and press record in pro tools.
Short for ‘stereo masters’. They’re a collection of tracks / instruments such as violin I, violin II, flute etc. Alternatively, they can be grouped instrumental sections, for example, winds, brass, strings etc.
Where all of the audio elements in the production come together and are mixed to the picture. This includes the music, sound effects, foley and atmospheres.
Movements and noises like footsteps that get re-recorded instead of using the sound on set.
Inside and outside space noises like crickets or owls tooting.
Final locked picture
This means that the editing is complete and no more changes will be made.
A plugin or piece of hardware that will stop audio from going over a certain level or threshold.
Reduces the dynamic range of a signal. It reduces the volume between the low and loud peaks which in turn generally makes the mix better.
Wet and dry signal
Wet is with reverb added, and dry means without reverb. Often, mix engineers will put a reverb on an auxiliary send and then mix in the wet signal with the dry, giving you a nice blend of signals.
A fancy term for ‘export’.
Comes from the MIDI file and includes tempo and time signature information.
Automated/Additional Dialogue Replacement. This is where onset dialogue is replaced at a later stage in a studio environment to get a better end result.
Loudness Units Relative to Full Scale. This is a standardised measurement for loudness in film and television broadcasting.
24 bit WAV
A high resolution audio file. CD’s are 16 bit 44.1kHz. Broadcasters always use a higher rate of audio which is 24 bit, 48kHz. This means that if you want to export audio out of your DAW for TV or Film purposes, you’ll want to export at 24 bit, 48kHz
Avid are a company that makes and sells editing software for people in the film, tv and music industry. They make big servers where you can have everything connected together via their cloud services.
Sounds that get replaced at a later stage, for example, footsteps.
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