Let’s go ahead with the chat with Georges Pascal Marchese. The first part is available here. This post will deal mostly with technical aspects of music for video.
Musical instruments and software
I am quite independent and, usually I do all by myself. I make use of several software capable to emulate the real instruments. I am not a great performer but I had to manage this situation in order to be effective. My approach is almost totally based on sampled instruments. Since the nineties I had been working with CD libraries and hardware samplers such as the EMU-E6400.
My mixing console was also an hardware model.
Sound selection in music for video
I prefer to start with a template that can be implemented using several methods. Years ago I was using a tool calle Biduleand I also made a tutorial about how to make a template using this software. Nowaday I am using several networked computers. The selected tool is Vienna Ensemble which is capable to manage the network and distributing the workload among the connected computers. In this way I can forget about computation speed, RAM and storage and get concentrated on the artistic part of the game even if the template is usually very demanding in terms of resources. Vienna Ensemble is very good in connecting the virtual instruments within the template.
Once the template is ready and all the sounds are loaded I use to route all the tracks to a software mixer to manage inserts, sends, groups and outputs. The mixer is obviously used also to balance the levels for single tracks as well as instrument sections and for panning. This process usually requires a full day, this is the reason why I use the template so I can be effective and fast enough to cope with the client’s timing.
A single management point for all the aspect of the production is the key to have a simplifiend yet effective approach to get the job done.
Technical approach to tracking, mixing and mastering in music for video
I use to record via MIDI. The program of choice is Cubaseeven if all the other DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) can get the job done.
Working with virtual orchestras the mix impact is reduced to the minimum. I do prefer to use the dynamic of the instruments insted of handling the mixer faders or using compressors/expanders. I also try, wherever is possible, to avoid using fader automation. A “pizzicato” made of 14 violins has a specific level which differs a lot from an orchestral “forte” and this has to find his way in the tune. Using the mixer would be much less realistic. Flutes don’t have the same loudness of brass or percussions.
This is true with orchestral music were I try to minimize the usage of the mixer and work more on MIDI velocity and CCs (Continuos Controls). When the track requires rock or pop attitude a good mixing phase is always welcome (if not fundamental).
Tracking requires a specific experience which I don’t have. I made something and I learned very important concepts which I use in my everyday music life, though. For mixing and mastering I often use presets.
Relationship with clients
I tend to accept only assignments were I feel I can add value. Sometimes, when I receive concurrent requests, I let the emotions to help me in the choice. I try to be competitive in price trying to keep a high value to the deliverables.
Many factors are to be kept into account. Working alone, in my own studio helps in this direction. The price also depends by the actual request of the client (finished tracks, raw tracks, score only, etc) With my actual clients I am in the mid level productions where budget is an issue.
Being a “lone wolf” helps a lot in this situation. Sometimes I involve other professionals. With one of this (Giammarco Mondi) I am collaborating for 25 years. He is, by the way, a wonderful guitarist and this helps me a lot in complementing the colours to be included in my productions of music for video.
I tend to be very precise while working (less in the rest of my life). Projects might need to be reopened even after a long time so is better to follow a method to simplify the recall and allow for faster modifications when required.
Precision and fussiness contrast with speed so, sometimes I need to recall an old proverb we have in the musician’s community:
There is not a finished mix, just an abandoned one.
At a certain point you have to stop and step further.
We like to close this post thanking Pascal for his availability and linking to one of the his productions so you can listen: the soundtrack of the movie East End (made by G.P. Marchese among others) available on Spotify.