Mixing music and talk
November 21, 2010 5:43 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know of any online resources dealing with mixing music for a narrated audio documentary?

I'm looking for some basics. How to handle a musical bridge or bed seems like it should be intuitive but it's not working out that way for me. I choose music, spend hours or days on placing it, editing it relative to the other tracks, to no good effect. I've searched transom.org without finding what I'm looking for.

One questions is how to choose the right section of a piece of music for the situation at hand. It seems a needle in a haystack to find the right bars in a piece that match up with the rhythm of the speaker, mood, and almost as important, the time you have to use this in--usually 30 seconds or so. All this without the listener being too aware the music is there or that it's ended when it does.

Since I may never come across just those bars, I guess I need some help with how to handle a piece of music that mood-wise is perfect, editing it down to a small sample in a way that doesn't show the seams?

I'm using PT. Thanks much!
posted by brynnwood to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have an audio background. I've done a fair amount of corporate video through a local production company.

Is it possible you're over-thinking this? My impression is that making this work just requires a little judicious gain-riding; in particular, ducking the music during voiceovers.

We've never worried about matching the tempo of the music with the rhythm of the speaker, and we loop and fade as needed to fit a particular music bed to length.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:09 AM on November 21, 2010

about "editing it down to a small sample in a way that doesn't show the seams"

if fades arent working, you can use some delays/reverbs done with the sample in reverse, then reversed back, try some things like that, or create small mini-looped sections, kind of recreating what a sampler would do. if it's less ambient than it might be good to use something that time-stretches or lines music up on a beat-matched grid.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 9:57 AM on November 21, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for this,

Overthinking is a possibility always, but in practice, my "loops" are pretty obvious and seem so upon casual listening. I'm hoping to find some examples of how to do this, much less delays and reverbs, online.

I've checked the usual sources for both, but haven't found anything relevant. Thanks for taking the time to reply, ZMT and YYYW.

BTW, wannabe instructors, make yourselves known. This is a class I want to take.
posted by brynnwood at 10:58 AM on November 21, 2010

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