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Let music editor and producer Skye Lewin show you a selection of audio editing techniques for cutting music to picture in this course on Pro Tools. He covers the basics of timecode, syncing a QuickTime movie with the Pro Tools timeline, alignment of music to picture, editing music, and editorial techniques that may require editing rights. The course also covers creating alternative edits, conforming edits, and exporting QuickTime movies for presentation.
So now that we're somewhat familiar with the musical material and the scene that we're going to be cutting our music to, let's begin to build the cue. But first, let's define what a scene and what a cue is. The scene is essentially this entire sequence of events that we're watching in the picture. It's a part of the movie that tells a specific part of the story. In this case, the scene begins when the security guards begin chasing our main character Eli, and it ends when he safely gets inside the room and bars himself in. The cue is our music that's going to accompany this scene.
It has a specific start and end point, and it has a specific arc that should score the emotion and the action within the scene. So a musical cue is really kind of like a miniature song or a miniature performance that accompanies what we see in the picture. So now that we know what a scene and a cue are, let's go ahead and build our cue along to the scene. So now let's zoom out to get a clear picture of what we're looking at, and let's move our audio so that we have the beginning of the file, since we chopped it off earlier. So the first couple of sync points we looked at earlier involved the piece of music that we wanted to play where the first door open when Eli comes running through the stairwell.
So let's go back and look at that again. Near the beginning of this cue, you can see here where the first build is, and I think that's a good place, musically, to begin on that cut. So let's find the zero crossing right at the beginning of that transient, and let's make a cut, and let's cut with the X key. Now we can locate ourselves to that door open marker that we made earlier with .1. on the numeric keypad, and then we can paste what we've just cut by pressing Command+V or Ctrl+V. And let's zoom in and look at that really quickly. (clip playing) Cool so we've got that kind of where we want it.
Now let's look at how we would join this section of the song with the next cut that we wanted to make. And in this case when he breaks through the door on floor three, where we made a marker number four, we may want to bring that next piece of music that we looked at in here. So now mute the music. Let's look at the picture here again. And let's find again that section of music that we wanted to use. So I'm going to solo the music. I believe it was this first break. So let's zoom in here and find the downbeat again.
(clip playing) Okay, right here we can hear the downbeat. We can even see the zero crossing right before it. So let's place our cursor there and make a cut and zoom out. And again, we can select and cut that music and locate to marker number four, which is the Floor 3 Door Open, and we can paste the music that's in our clipboard at that location. So now that we've done that, let's pre-roll a little bit. I'm going to zoom in a little more as well. And let's see if our edit is even anywhere near musical, because it may not be.
So let's take a quick look. (clip playing) It's actually not too bad, but it may not be perfectly zero crossing and phase aligned and whatnot. We may need to adjust the second or the first segment in order to keep it perfectly in time. So let's take a look at that. So we're going to zoom into it. We know that this piece is right on the beat, because we already made the cut there. So let's remove it by cutting it and then drag out the end using the Trim tool, which you can get by placing the Smart tool right at the end of a region.
And now we can see here's the beat where that music would normally go on to the next downbeat. I'm going to place my cursor right on the same zero crossing that we found before, and you can see here it's slightly different because on the left and right channels it happens in slightly different places. For now let's go with the one on the top, and what I'm going to do is use another key command. I'm going to press the S key, and what this will do is cut all of the audio in this region to the right of the cursor. So first, I'm going to zoom out so I can see this better, and I'm going to press the S key and that audio goes away.
And I still have the rest of the music that we have pasted earlier in the clipboard. So what I'm going to do is paste it back at that exact location now by pressing Command+V or Ctrl+V. We're going to zoom in a little further, and we'll take a look at our edit. So you can see that the zero crossing lines up on one side, but you can also see a transient here, which is where the downbeat actually happens. So let's see how well those line up, and we can do that by sliding with the Trim tool left and right. If you're in Grid mode, you're going to need to hold down Command on a Mac or Ctrl on a PC. And so now that we've been able to determine where that transient is, another quick way to line this up properly is to zoom in and find that transient on one end of the edit and move it to the same transient on the other end of the edit.
So we can now snap this using the Snap command, Ctrl+Clicking the audio file and bringing it into place. So you can see that this isn't a perfect zero crossing, but you can also see that the transient lines up, so that's almost more important at this point. But in order to avoid a pop or a tick in the audio, we are going to want to put a crossfade on in. So let's make a little selection. For now let's go into Slip mode, make a selection that's off the grid, and apply a standard fade by pressing F. Go back into Grid mode, zoom out, and let's listen to what we have got. And I'm going to un-solo so we can hear this with the production audio.
(clip playing) Cool! So that is a musical edit. There is no pops or ticks. It works. It's a little bit before the picture-cut, but it's so close that it plays as if it's on the picture-cut. So now let's take a quick look at this entire part of the cue that we have just built, starting at the first door open and playing through that second door open on the floor three. (clip playing) (Male speaker: Look out!) So now we've assembled the first edit in our new cue.
In the next video, we're going to work on building the arc of the song to maintain the same natural musical progression that the song has over the course of its entire length, but squeezing it down into the much shorter duration of our musical cue.
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