Thursday, 20 October 2011

Commercial cut-downs

I mentioned in a previous post that Brian has advised me to start making cut-down versions of my compositions, to make them more usable for media.

I've begun this process and it's HARD. Typically I have to cut each piece down to these specific versions:
  • 60-second version that loops
  • 60-second version
  • 30-second version ("outro", or "intro")
  • 20-second version ("intro", or "outro")
  • 10-second version, and
  • 3-5-second version ("sting")
But anything that might vaguely be suitable for adverts apparently has to be 19, 29, and 59 seconds because UK adverts have half a second of silence at the beginning and again at the end. I haven't tackled this at all yet.

I'm having the most trouble with the 20 second versions, as by that point you've cut out all your repetitions, and it's become so condensed that it sounds a bit ridiculous and some major chunk of the music has to go. Once you've made that choice, though, the 10-second version and "sting" tend to come fairly easily.

The loops are difficult too, as I'm working with both audio and MIDI so can't just change the tempo a bit (and I wouldn't want to anyway; it would feel like cheating). So to get exactly the right length, I have to play with bars of different lengths, adding or dropping a beat here and there.

The first time I tried to do these commercial cut-downs it took me all day to cut one piece down, but thankfully I'm managing to speed up the process quite a lot as I get more used to it.

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