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writing/recording music for animation - need to build studio

Hi there,
I am a musician and have recently been asked to write/record the music for an animation project. Sounded like a great idea so I yes immediately. I have a reasonable computer and can upgrade its bits and pieces if necessary but I need to find the right software. I've experiemented a little with Nuendo 2 H2O try before you buy for some multitracking and it was quite good. Friends of mine use Samplitude and swear by it. Trouble is it costs so much and I don't know if the cheaper versions can be used to put music to video. I've also heard Adobe Audition 2.0 and Sonar 5 are good.

I'll outline my needs:
Multitrack recording; ability to put the music to video (sorry I don't have the necessary jargon, but I'll learn); non-destructive editing; looping; great sound; not cost and arm and a leg if possible. Ummm and I'm sure I have other needs that I haven't yet even thought of.

Any help will be most appreciated so I'll say thanks now!


Pro Audio Guest Thu, 08/10/2006 - 15:05
Excellent advice from the both of you. Thanks Sheet for your take on reality and Chris for your encouragement.

Because I'm at the beginning stages and vague about the roles various folk play in the whole game, I am vague about my role too. So I guess as long as I can have the video image run whilst composing/recording I am on a winner. I'm not interested in doing the soundscape stuff so I guess the guy putting the animation together will be responsible for the final putting together of it all, which will mean he gets to pay the production house, not me.

I must say Chris that DP5 looks very good. Unfortunately I own a PC, but then again maybe it would be worth investing in Apple gear as I've always loved it, but out of economic necessity I've had to go down the PC path for the last decade.

Anyway, I'll continue doing my homework on this stuff

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 08/09/2006 - 23:36
Thanks for the reply.

Actually I was hoping the computer could become a tool in my compostion anyway, which it isn't really at the moment. Does it have to be expensive anyway? I'm not looking at taking on John Williams for Speilberg movies. I've read some threads on here where folks are talking huge bucks to set up recording studios, but I know guys who've recorded whole albums with simple software and excellent ears and produced comparable results. I'm just looking for the best software around now that won't cost me 10k.

To have to take it to someone else to match the sound with the image would end up costing more in the long run as I like the time to tweak and experiment. If there is cost effective software out there I'd like to try and learn the skills myself.

Also I need some MIDI capability and compatibility with some kind of notation software would be nice.

sheet Thu, 08/10/2006 - 08:43
True, we use computers and software to compose with, but they are used to write to with the video as a reference. We don't lock it to picture for the final. There are no great audio packages that do all this is required for video. The opposite is true. (Even if this were true, you would need a BUNCH of hard-drive space to handle all of high-res 16:9 HD, etc files.) This is why companies have paired systems together (Avid/ProTools, Logic/Final Cut, etc, etc)

It all depends on HOW you get your video. If they give you a digital video tape, then you are going to need a deck, monitor, master sync, some kind of machine control interface for your audio and video gear. This is going to eat up 10k easily.

If they provide you DVDs with segments, so that you can import those files into you DAW, you can compose to those. But in all honesty, that is not going to be the finished product.

If you are going to work for the big boys...they own their own studios, or have leases for facilities and staff. Anything sent to them as a calling card will be treated as a demo, and those guys are going to hire you and bring you to where their people work. Big boys have big money and have high production standards. There is much, much more to the process than buying a home computer and software. If there weren't, the big boys wouldn't put so much money into audio, video, custom software, the smartest people, etc.

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 08/10/2006 - 11:47
I use Digital Performer 5.1 on Mac OSX. With it, I can compose, track and mix to picture.

The process: The client FTPs me Quicktime files which I write and mix to (they're used as sync'ed visual reference). Then, I send them mixed-and-mastered audio files (AIFF or WAV) which, when finished, they marry to full-resolution picture via Avid or Final Cut Pro. On rare occasions, I'll actually conform the final audio to picture via Digital Performer's Quicktime export, but usually the production house prefers to do this (as do I).

You could put together a composition/mixdown DAW computer for around 10 Gs. Just make sure you have a capable sequencing/mixdown app, a decent audio interface and decent monitors. This might run you close to your limit, but, if work comes in, you could grow from there

Don't be intimidated. If you feel you're smart and capable enough, give it a shot.