Going Punk Rock
Whilst I was doing the Pirates of the Caribbean sound replacement project I was also propositioned by Nell Madden another audio engineer to compose and record a music track for sound replacement project she was working on. The scene they were working on was from the movie The Breakfast Club (see video below) and I was to replace the music starting at 1:10 to the end of the clip.
Guitar Composition and Recording
The first thing I did was to jam along to the video clip and come up with some form of creative idea as to what I what the track to sound like, I started to gravitate more towards a Punk Rock vibe so I decided that was going to be the basic genre of the track. The person in the clip is very energetic so having a fast paced, up bet Punk Rock sound seemed like it would fit in well like the scene so I knew I needed to compose the track in a Major key at a fast tempo. I chose the key of E-flat Major because the guitar I recorded this with at the time was tuned to E-flat and this key would be the easiest for this tuning because my root note would be the open E-flat string. Visit this link for more information about guitar chord theory and what the root note of a scale is https://nationalguitaracademy.com/what-is-the-root-note-of-a-chord/ . As for the tempo I chose 200bpm because it felt like a pace that worked well with the video and I enjoy composing and recording at higher tempos due to the fact I mostly deal with Extreme Metal. With all of this stuff worked out I composed a few different riffs for Nell to listen to and provide me feedback on which ones she preferred so I could form my final composition around the sound and feel of those tracks. I have include an example of these tracks below.
Audio clip of the guitar riffs.
After Nell had listened to the track she sent me a table indicating which ones she liked and didn't (see image below) from which I used to do my final composition.
I composed the guitars along with the video inside of Pro Tools (see image below) so I could better work out the feel and pace going between the different scenes, it also helped to make the music fir better with the dudes actions. After I recorded the guitars I then recorded a Bass guitar track to bulk up the sound for the drum recording to come next.
Audio track of the final guitar composition with bass.
Another thing that I didn't mention before is that I recorded the guitar and bass as DI tracks and used amp sims inside of Pro Tools to produce them sound, this meant I could easily do the recording without having to mic up a loud guitar amp. It also meant I could record the tracks now then re-amp them later.
Luckily enough I happen to live with a drummer so finding someone to play and record the drum tracks for me wasn't difficult. I gave him the final guitar and bass track to listen to and work out some ideas before we went into the studio, I gave him a brief run down of what I wanted which was to follow the upbeat Rock groove and keep pushing the song forward.
I went with a simple drum setup using only 8 microphones which were for the Kick, Snare, Tom 1, Tom 2, Tom 3, Over Head Left and Right, and Room, see images below.
The drummer used a little unconventional setup with 2 floor toms and only 1 rack tom but it looked interesting enough so I went with it, I made sure he had his Hats and Ride on different sides to produce a more interesting stereo sound when he switches between them. This is the same for the 2 Crash cymbals as well 1 left and 1 right to produce a better stereo image, then just a China cymbal in the middle. I didn't do any specific research for this setup I just relied upon past studio experience and came up with this basic setup.
Below is a short video clip from the tracking session.
The process I used in this session was to get the drummer to play along the the guitar tracks in their entirety and work out the feel and groove of the song, then go into the different sections and record a few different takes until I got a take I was happy with. Due to the fact the song short and simple this process was done relatively quickly.
Now with the drum tracks recorded all that is left to do now is some basic drum editing, finalising the tones for the guitar and bass tracks, then onto the mixing stage which I will discuss in an upcoming blog. To better explain the mixing process for this track and have you listen along with what I'm doing I'll probably do a video log if I can work out a way to do a screen capture with good audio, something I'll need to research further.
Until next time.