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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 let's continue assembling this cue. We've essentially made the first edit and made the first transition from one part of the scene to the next, but the next thing we may want to do is make that section build a little bit more than it does naturally because we're condensing a long song into a short amount of time. So that brings us to the point of maintaining the arc, or the build, of a piece of music. Really what we're trying to do with any edit is to contain all of the different changes, or at least many of the different changes, that a piece of music naturally has and present those throughout the course of our cue, so that the song naturally builds and changes.
Then of course we want to sync up many of those builds and changes to the proper part of the scene, so that it feels natural and scores the scene appropriately. Continuing with this edit, the first thing we may want to do--I'll zoom in to see this a little better--is break this section in half. So let's listen to it first. I believe there are two musical phrases in there, but let's make sure. (clip playing) (Male speaker: Look out!) So essentially, the second musical phrase has a break in the second half of it.
One quick and easy way to do this is to slide out the beginning of the second region and see what it does musically, and essentially combine the two so we get a change in the middle. But let's see if there's even a change that we had. So quickly, we're going to listen to that. (clip playing) You can hear that actually there is a new element in the music here. So let's find a downbeat that we can edit these two parts together on. It should be really easy to find since we're already in time with this edit. Let's find where that downbeat happens.
(clip playing) (Male speaker: Look out!) Okay. So right here is where our downbeat happens. So what we want to do is essentially slide this over towards that point, get it close. And we may want to delete the crossfade, so we're going to double-click with the Selector tool or grab it and just press the Delete key, zoom in again, and just take a look to make sure that our transients line up. And here you can see that they're not exactly on, and that is common, especially when you're editing older music that may not have been recorded to a click--it's going to be very common.
So you really need to listen to make sure that things are going to sync up. So here in this case, let's find the beginning of that transient, cut the music off to the left using the A key command, zoom out a little bit, grab the remainder of that region, and cut it. Then we'll zoom in again and find that same transient on the end of this region. So here you can see that we're zoomed in at sample level, but I can't select in between where the actual zero crossing is.
So in this case, we have to just choose one side or the other, and one way to do that is to paste and just look at the waveform. Here you can tell it's going to be better to paste it earlier than it would be to paste it on the next sample, because in there it looks late. But obviously, the most important thing is to listen and follow what sounds right. But at such a small level, it's really going to be almost impossible to tell the difference. So we'll go with this. We'll paste it here. We'll zoom out. Let's put a little bit of a crossfade on here, just to smooth it over. So when I'm making this crossfade, I'm typically going to end the fade close to the transient of the attack that we're ending the fade on, but not too far over it.
Essentially, the goal is to get the transient to play through, so that we're not cutting it off by fading it in too much. I'm just going to use the regular preference default by pressing F. I'm going to zoom out again. I'm going to listen to this transition. The important thing is, if it sounds good, it's good. If you hear it clicking or popping or phasing then the fade needs to be adjusted. So we'll listen to it to double-check that there isn't any of that, but because this is such a short fade, we're not likely to have that problem here. So let's go back to the start of our edit and we're going to play from here. (clip playing) (Male speaker: Look out!) Cool! So the fade itself seems good, but one thing that came up when we watch this that I might want to improve is the transition in the middle.
So when we have the electric sparks flying and the security guard hits the wall, we might want a bigger boost in the intensity of the music. So because this music may have a similar change later, we may skip ahead and find a different section to use for this edit. So let's do a little preview and see what we have later. Solo the track and check a similar part right before a similar break, basically the next time this happens, and see what plays there. (clip playing) That's cool! The difference is that it has a bit of a melody on top of it now.
So we have to be careful if we do introduce it, to do it in a way that doesn't cut that melody in half or edit it in an unnatural way. I'm going to check this next break as well. (clip playing) Same thing. So let me listen one more time to this section here and decide if we want to use that or not. (clip playing) I think that's got a long enough phrase that we're going to save that for the next section rather than try and put it on before the cut to the Floor 3 Door Open.
So let's move on from here and see what happens next naturally in the cue without doing any edits. (clip playing) Okay. So that's actually pretty cool. We've got this little stutter effect when he tries to go in the door and is denied. I actually like that, so let's keep that. From there, let's see what we might want to do next. (clip playing) (Male speaker: There he is! So what I want to do now is find a piece of music that picks up the intensity after Eli tries to open the door and finds it's locked.
So let's look for that. I believe we already found one later in this cue here on the next section, but let's listen again. (clip playing) Yeah. So now we have another element that definitely picks up the intensity, so let's find that downbeat. (clip playing) There it is. Let's go in and find the beginning of that transient attack. I'm going to just select it and cut it, so I'm keeping it in my clipboard to paste it wherever I want to paste it later. I'm going to zoom out a little bit more and go back here and look at our edit from where that might come in.
We want to put it right around the time that he tries to open the door and finds it locked. (clip playing) (Male speaker: There he is!) Cool! So we could put it right after the stutter. The thing that we have to keep in mind if we do that is that it needs to stay musically in time. So let's put it first right here and listen to what happens and see why this might not work. (clip playing) (Male speaker: There he is!) It actually sounds pretty good, but what we've done is we've repeated the melody in a way that's not natural.
So what we want to do is use this same piece of music with a new element but find a piece of it that has a continuation of the existing melody, so that we let that play unaltered. So let's drag out the region on the left and listen to how that melody continues after that stutter break. (clip playing) (Male speaker: There he is!) Cool! So now let's find that same piece of the phrase from the region on the right. (clip playing) There it is.
Let's get in there and find the downbeat, make an edit on that transient, and that's what we'll use this time. So I cut off the bit to the left that I'm not going to use, zoom out a little so I can see it better, cut the region, and I'm going to find the place where I want to paste it again. (clip playing) Cool! Right in here, let's go in again and find that transient on the downbeat, which is right in here. There's our transient, get in right on the start of that transient attack, and paste.
Again, we're probably going to want to put a crossfade on that. Let's put a little, small one since it's probably going to play pretty well with that one at all. But let's hear what it sounds like, just to make sure. (clip playing) (Male speaker: There he is!) And would you look at that? We've got another nice little natural change in the music that just happens to pop up right when he walks through the door. (clip playing) One of the best quotes that I've heard, and I don't know who said it and I wish I did, but they said, "Some of the best music edits really only have one or two edits in it." You really just let the music play, but sync it up in just the right way.
So that's something I try to live by. We've already got a couple of edits in here, but it's not too bad, considering we're almost done with this cue. So now let's look at what happens after that next break. (clip playing) So the music picks up again, which isn't bad, but we may instead want to actually start taming the music down, since the cue is winding down.
So let's see what happens later in the cue. It looks like we might have something that might be a better fit later. Let's listen to that again, so kind of auditioning again. (clip playing) So where this breakdown happens, that will definitely be something we'll come back to, and we'll use that later to end the cue.
But for now, I actually want to check and see if we have a stutter effect in here and if we do, we may actually move this section up earlier and use the second break for the first break. But let's check it and see if it even exists here. (clip playing) It's different, not quite as pronounced, so we'll leave what we have. The last thing that we may want to consider here in this section of the song is that we need to shorten this down so that we get to the ending of the cue a little bit sooner. So let's go ahead and do that. We'll condense this last section so that we can get to the end in an appropriate amount of time.
(clip playing) Okay. So I'm going to shorten these phrases even more and cut in a half phrase, so basically cutting about a two-bar phrase right now. So I'll find that transient, make a cut. Now, we'll go later in the song and find the second bar of the second phrase from this section. (clip playing) So right here is about where that starts. Let's dial it in. (clip playing) Zoom in, find our transient.
(clip playing) It's over here. Get in there really close, find the exact spot, cut it. So now we can literally delete this whole section in the middle, since we're cutting it out, which leaves our cursor on the end of the previous region. And since we want to move the next region directly there, we can Ctrl+Click that region, and it will snap there. Let's listen to what it sounds like without a crossfade. (clip playing) We should put a crossfade on it anyway, so we'll go in there, do a small, little crossfade, and let's find a spot that will start winding the cue down, and probably do another two bars, just to make it natural.
(clip playing) So right here would be the next point, which is after another two bars. So let's make a cut there as just kind of a reminder, and let's listen to what happens next. (clip playing) So there's actually a nice little change there. We might want to incorporate that change before we cut to the end. So let's do that really quickly; let's see how that will work.
(clip playing) So what we'll have to do is make one more little edit in here or just change this entire section. But I do like this natural change of chord progression here, so we'll probably try and keep that-- (clip playing) --and instead, just edit this last chord change onto it-- (clip playing) --except what I noticed here is that this actually uses the same chord change.
So we can actually go ahead and take this entire section, cut it, select the section that we're replacing, and just paste it right on top of it. We can go in by zooming in here and make sure that our transients are lined up. They're obviously at different levels, so we'll absolutely need a crossfade here, but they're in the right place. And we can just make a crossfade. One way I like to do this sometimes is I'll just click either right on the grid or near the gird and just Shift+Tab right to the beginning of the transient and just press F to fade it. Let's take a listen to that. (clip playing) You know what? I think I put it in the wrong place.
We need to go back to this point. So let's check that out. So again, Ctrl+Click it, snap it earlier, and have a listen to that. (clip playing) Yeah! That's the right place. So now let's put a crossfade on it. It looks like we have the remnants of the old fade that got interrupted by our snap, so let's click with the Grabber tool to select it and delete it. Again, let's just check to make sure that our sync is still good. Cool! Let's do another little fade, and now let's listen to our work. (clip playing) So now we've kind of outlined the body of this cue, we've maintained sync on a few great hits, we've got this build starting right on the cut to the door, we've got a nice change happening about halfway through the stairwell, and we've got a nice change happening as Eli comes through the door on the third floor.
And then again another nice change happens when the music stutters as he tries to enter the locked door, and yet another nice change happens when Eli closes himself into the morgue. (clip playing) So now the only thing that's missing is a start and an end for our cue, which we're going to do in the next video.
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