Friday, February 24, 2006

Creating music on my PC

One of the most important tasks in making movies is finding soundtrack music. There are several options available:

- Hire a composer/band to record original music
- Pay a licensing fee for commerical songs
- Buy a CD of royalty-free music
- Find public domain/non-copyright/Creative Commons music
- Purchase and install "virtual studio" software

The first two options are too expensive. Royalty-free CDs aren't cheap either, and the selection on any particular disk is limited. I've used public domain music in my videos, but again, they're limited and certain licensing rules may prohibit a "for-profit" situation.

I'm currently working with the last option. "FL Studio 6" is the most complete virtual studio currently available. You'll be creating .wav, .mp3 or midi songs or loops only minutes after launching it. There are so many cool features available it's going to take weeks just to discover them all.

The program is very useful for creating instrumental riffs for background soundtrack music. The ability to create something like a 30-second snippet of music as background for an action scene is really useful. And the tone and mood of the music can be subtly tweaked for maximum effect.

I'm still learning how to use it, but eventually I'll create some .wav samples and post them online. I realize that I'll never be a Mozart, but with a program like FL Studio 6, at least there's a chance I'll eventually advance to somewhere between "absolute hack" and "earnest beginner".

One thing I've learned is to always set realistic goals.


Gaz said...

Hiya Bob,my oldest daughter (Catherine) is studying music tech,at collage so give us a shout if you need any help,P.S her tutor told them about expensive progs,then told them,"but you can download them illegally off the internet,like i did"so much for honestey?

CT Bob said...

FL Studio 6 is priced reasonably at $149, which is cheaper than some music need to pirate it. I've been using the online tutorials to learn it, but if I get stuck I'll email you to ask Catherine.

The best part about FL is the built-in music; I can create a usable background soundtrack in minutes. Not exactly a song, but the kind of thing that you hear in the background during an action scene or dramatic moment. I'm looking forward to putting it in a movie.