Join Christopher Brooks for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding picture session essentials, part of Film Scoring with Pro Tools.
Picture sessions provide a very flexible and organized approach to film scoring. They can serve as an overview, a well- organized presentation, a template, a separate video server and a repository of ideas. Once we have the picture and track in the session, we should make some markers reflecting our spotting. Spotting is when you and the director decide where the music starts and stops, as well as its tone and dramatic content. The cue markers that we are putting in represent the four cues that the director and I have spotted in Reel 1, 1m1, 1m2, 1m3, and 1m4 all with unique titles as well.
I find that when you spot a film and you have so many cues. Some films have as many as 70 or 80 cues, that numbers alone or titles alone end up not meaning very much. If you keep saying you remember what happened in 3m18, you will probably get a blank from about half the people that you deal with. But if you say do you remember 3m18, the second half of the car chase, then everybody knows what you are talking about. So whenever you are making a name for a cue, just in casual conversation or when you are referring to spotting notes and telephone conversations and meetings, always refer it to as the cue number and its unique title.
If you have received any additional audio tracks, this is the time to add them in your session. Let's also add some tracks for the music. I like to use Shift+Command+N as a keyboard shortcut to get to the New Tracks dialog box. I am going to add 3 Stereo tracks. I like to use the keyboard command Command+Left/Right Arrows to switch between the size of the track that we are going to use. In this case, we are going to have 3 Stereo tracks. Let's name them.
Another keyboard command that I love is Option+Command+Right Arrow, and this takes you to the next track to name. When you are naming a bunch of tracks, this is really handy. Okay. I have prepared one of the tracks already so we can import it into the session. Let's open the Import Audio page. You will notice that the Bit Depth and the Sample Rate are the same as our picture session. So I can add them directly into the session.
We now have the choice of either importing directly onto a New track or into the Region list. In this case, let's put it in the Region list. I am going to move the picture out of the way so we can see our list. You will notice that in the Regions bin here, I have the file name selected to be displayed. Let's just drag that down onto Mx 1. Let's choose Spot and spot it. Because it was recorded to picture, it has an original time stamp that will be correct to this picture so we can spot it to that. And it should snap right to where it belongs. And there it is.
Once you have completed a cue, you should either bounce it and import it or record it directly into your picture session, depending on your setup. As the project progresses, the demos of each of your cues get at it. This allows for previewing whole reels for yourself and with the director and producers. As the demos are revised, replace the old ones with the new more updated versions. This should be done each time a cue is finished. If you are using two computers in your studio, the picture session can reside on the picture computer and slave to the sequencer computer.
This allows for more of the processing power of the sequencer to be used for sound sources and audio processing, and leaves the picture and picture related audio playback on a separate processor. Make every attempt to keep your picture session as up-to-date as you can. It will be your constant reference throughout the project.
- 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