Join Christopher Brooks for an in-depth discussion in this video Tempo mapping to picture, part of Pro Tools: Filmscoring.
The traditional first step in writing a piece of music, after staring at a blank sheet of paper of course, or a blank sequencer in this case, is to establish a Tempo. Certainly this isn't the only approach, but it's one that you'll often find helpful when composing for picture. Let's start with a scene that we've already spotted. We have our picture session and have made into a template for a new cue. We've looked at the scene a few times and gotten a rough idea of a Tempo and maybe even some musical ideas or themes in our head. Let's zoom out a little bit and go to the downbeat of our first cue, 1m1.
If I double-click on the downbeat, I can change the Tempo. I think around 88 beats per minute is a good place to start. All well-cut scenes have an intrinsic tempo, or tempos. The cuts have a certain pace, the dialog, even the action within a shot will seem to be at a certain speed. A good tip to keep in mind is that it's not always a good idea to match the pace of these elements. Contrasting that pace may be the best choice. Think about how John Berry plays action scenes in the James Bond series.
He sometimes scores those scenes at as slow as 60 beats a minute. Okay. Let's have a look at our cue. The first think I want to do is change the display to Bars and Beats so we can talk in musical terms. (Metronome tapping.) Okay, I saw two things going by there that I liked.
The first is that the main title happens right there, and there's a cut right before it that I really liked. I want that cut right before the main title appears to be a structural downbeat. So let's identify where it is. First of all, let's hide the picture for a second and check our Nudge value. I'd like to nudge in Time Code frames. If you use the key commands Option+ Command and the Minus and Plus keys, you can toggle between some preset nudge values. One second five frames.
This value can be set in the Preferences. One frame, a half a frame, a quarter of a frame and a hundredth of a frame. Let's leave it at one frame. Let's get our picture back. Okay. Let's identify that cut. The first thing I want to do here is make my Movie window a little bigger so we can see it, and we'll play. (Tap) That's the cut right there. Let's nudge to it.
Now what I want to do is I want to identify a beat by using the keystroke Command+I. That identifies the beat. I want to make that Bar 11. Now you notice it changed the beginning Tempo, so it's one consistent Tempo of 94. 94 is not so bad. Let's back up a few Bars and see how that looks. (Metronome tapping.) Right on the cut. I can also imagine the music working really well starting in the downbeat and growing by Beat 3 with the title as it comes in.
So there was one other thing that I noticed here. Around Bar 4. (Metronome tapping.) Let me nudge to it, about right there. I'd like that to be the downbeat of Bar 4, but instead of moving it the way that we moved to Bar 11, I'm going to actually locate to Bar 4 and identify that Beat.
It's already identified as 4. I'm just going to create an anchor. I'm going to zoom out a little bit here so you can see what I'm doing. I'm going to grab this anchor and just drag it over to that cut. This is really good for when you're locating action within a shot. Let me zoom out so you can see this. If you've noticed, the beginning Tempo has changed to 75 and the Tempo after Bar 4 has become significantly faster. There's another thing that we can do with Tempo.
Let's delete this anchor for a second. I really like to cut to the downbeat of 11, but I'd really like to start slower than 94 beats a minute. Here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to select the region from 1 to Bar 11. I'm going to go to the Event list and select Tempo Operations > Parabolic. Parabolic gives me the option to make this a curve, either negative or positive, but in its neutral position it's just a straight slope. What I want to do is I want to calculate the end tempo.
I want the downbeat of Bar 11, as well as its Time Code value, not to change. So let's display Time Code for a second. We can see that the downbeat of Bar 11 currently is at 34 seconds and 14 frames. That's what I want, but I want the beginning Tempo to be slower. Let's say around 88 Beats per minute. That now calculates a new Tempo of 100 for me, and I have a constant slope of Tempo changing between Bars 1 and Bars 11. Let's have a look at that.
(Metronome tapping.) That's exactly what we wanted.
I think it's perfect. The same functions that we've been using here can be used after a piece of music is written as well. If you want to adjust what you've written for this scene or repurpose a piece for another scene, you can manipulate the tempos in much the same manner.
- Importing and displaying video for scoring
- Setting up inputs and outputs
- Working with picture sessions and OMFs
- Importing MIDI data such as tempo and meter maps
- Matching tempo and beats to existing music
- Using Elastic Audio
- Printing guide stems from cue sessions for use in live recording
- Exploring Pull Up and Pull Down
- Multitrack recording
- Mixing tracks
- Preparing for final dubbing