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Celebrated radio DJ and music supervisor Jason Bentley takes his audience to Critical Mass Studios in Santa Monica for an inside look at the process of remixing a piece of music. Follow along as producer Jason Bentley and composer Tobias Enhus transform Carter Burwell's romantically lyrical arrangement of "Bella's Lullaby," from the score for the movie Twilight, into a beat-driven electronica piece. In this installment of Start to Finish, viewers will get an up-close look at the creative challenges involved in remixing this track, and tour the tools and techniques used at a high-end audio facility. Be sure to watch the final movie to hear the beautiful and haunting end result.
Jason Bentley: Now in his process and shaping, it's interesting to know some of the programs in his creative process. One program that you can talk about a little more is called Kyma, which Tobias, you really subscribe to this. And different programs that are more familiar to composers such as Logic or Pro Tools or what have you can essentially be routed through Kyma. Kyma gives you control over certain sound parameters but it lets you play in the analog or the digital world.
Tobias Enhus: It always is a very big part of my tool set, because it really is Lego for sound basically. It allows me to build anything that I want in essence. Jason Bentley: In this case you actually create the framework for what Kyma is doing with the musical parts that you are sending it. So that's what we are looking at here on the screen. Tobias Enhus: Yeah, this is basically the little program map that I made in Kyma that creates this sort of rhythmic pulsing loops. So I am feeding the parts of the queue into and basically this is a part random process, part controlled process of just creating interesting evolving bits. But it was really created for this project because we needed some sort of a basic structure of a bed, and that we could latch on to and then add our drums to and just set a nice tone.
Jason Bentley: Describe this kind of flow chart setup. Tobias Enhus: Yeah, this is the New York subway system right here that we are seeing. Basically, what I built for this particular little gadget is basically on this end we are seeing here is a drum machine with little pieces of analog drum modules, all connected, and the flow is going from left to the right. And basically, every little act that we see here, I can open up and we see the parameters that I can change here.
But what is cool about this environment, it's basically a programming environment that allows you to build your own pieces of software and then once you are done with writing the software, you execute it on the hardware, which holds a tremendous amount of DSP power. So if I make a comparison, for instance like Reactor or something like that of people may have heard of, is that inside these blue fields I can now write completely new programs. I can write completely new code, if I wanted to.
So this allows me to keep an open- ended Lego system. I can basically reshape the Lego pieces that I have available for myself to create larger structures. And once I have created a large structure and I am happy with that, I can just fold it down like this, whap!, and now it's just saved as one little application. Now I can grab this application and then start to build new structures again. So it's an infinite amount of tree building, branching out and building these structures that I can do with audio. And therefore, you also have really the benefit of the hardware that you have an enormous amount of computing power.
You have 40 processors available to do the computational part of this. So it really allows you to freely create any sort of sonic structure that you want. So for the main melody part, we talked about having a little bit more of a retro sound and to do that I relied quite heavily on my good friend, the Synclavier. That was the iconic beast from early 1980s and the rest machines hides back in the closet here. So that's basically a little super computer from 1984 and it gives a pretty cool low-fi, but yet a gritty sound to it.
I'll play a little bit of a melody bit here again, but this is all coming from d Synclavier, now together with Carter Burwell's piano. (Music playing.) Tobias Enhus: I'll stop there. So basically various sections of the piece, we will hear more of the Synclavier, less of the Synclavier, but it's just a basis to give it a little bit more of a body to stand up to the quite much larger arrangement that it is now with drums and bases and things like that than where it came from, which was sort of very sensitive, quiet little romantic queue.
Jason Bentley: Is this an endangered species now, because can't people just buy this in a box? Tobias Enhus: No. It is an endangered species. I mean it is a dinosaur absolutely. And it's a little bit of a novelty to use it. But even to this day, this machine sounds better than anything out there. So if you want to be the athlete of audio, and yeah you can run on the racetrack and maybe you'll get a good time. But if you want to win the Olympic games in terms of who's the best sounding here, the Synclavier gives that one little extra edge. So I am sticking to it.
Jason Bentley: So now you see why I came to Tobias in Critical Mass, as he does the heavy lifting, the big guns out with the Synclaviers. So very cool.
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