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Scoring with VASST TrakPaks

Use the audio tools you already know and you can create exactly the kind of music that impacts your audience
Building a composition
Here are the basic steps for using any TrakPak. Open your NLE/DAW of choice and add an audio track or two for the TrakPak content. You can use all the tools with which you are already familiar. Theres no need to learn any new software or concepts to use this music. For this tutorial, Im using Sony Vegas Pro 8. TrakPaks also work with popular NLEs such as Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro, and Avid, and DAWs such as Adobe Audition, Apples GarageBand and Soundtrack Pro, Sonar, ProTools, and more.

Next, drag and drop blocks Intros, Endings, and seamlessly loopable Section Blocks to match your production's message and timing. All the musical blocks are well-documented and easily mixed and matched. You do not need to be a musical genius or have to make precise on-the-beat edits to make TrakPaks work. There are even Full arrangements that are ready to run, just like standard production music, too.

Heres an example of an end-to-end arrangement from Piano & Pads. Its a snap to arrange various blocks into a longer segment like this. You may notice a few simple crossfades which help to transition from straight piano blocks to those with pads/strings. This is an optional approach; they work end-to-end just as well. However, it is a welcome idea to bring your own creativity and sensibilities to the compositions.


Sweeten your choices with accents as needed, including percussion. The Modern Incidentals really lend themselves to making unique music that precisely matches onscreen action. Plus, you can quickly build variations on themes which make your music score seem more like it was composed specifically for your project. In this example, two blocks butted together get added emphasis from a Discovery Cue placed to accent the ?flash video transition.

 

VASST TrakPak Audio Example 001.mp3

Another useful way to add some spice to your music sequences is to layer the different TrakPak elements. They fit together easily requiring only that you line up edges and choose similar tempos to make sure everything fits. This kind of layering can get rather complex as this example from Modern Incidentals 1 demonstrates.

Sony Vegas (and Sound Forge) users can see beat and section markers that display in the blocks. This makes lining up elements even more straightforward. Of course, many elements can be fudged into place bringing subtle and/or distinct musical hits to underscore your screen action.

You can also edit the various pieces to create new variations. TrakPaks are like plastic Legos toys where what you build is only limited by your imagination. Here a bunch of tight edits creates a modern stutter edit to begin the composition.

Shifting the pitch of some elements, if your NLE/DAW supports this function, is yet another way to create variations. Changing the pitch can result in new textures and other unique effects. For example, the same block is an octave lower making for a heavy, deeper sound to match the onscreen mood.

 
VASST TrakPak Audio Example 002.mp3

When you are happy with the compositions, balance the music with your other sound elements, such as voice and sound effects using the tools provided by your NLE/DAW. I sometimes do some equalization, light compression, and even add a touch of room reverb to better have the music sit in the soundtrack better. In this example, the guitar line was doubled and offset in timing slightly, then panned had left and right creating a larger than life guitar sound.

VASST TrakPak Audio Example 003.mp3

Finally, render your soundtrack along with your video as you normally would. Thats it. VASST TrakPaks fit into your workflow as easily as other library music, but give you the added advantages of easy duration and instrumentation customization without having to waste time learning new tools. Apply a little creativity, and use the audio tools you already know, and you can create exactly the kind of music that impacts your audience.


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Jeffrey P. Fisher is a Sony Vegas Certified Trainer and he co-hosts the Sony Acid, Sony Sound Forge, and Sony Vegas forums on Digital Media Net (www.dmnforums.com). For more information visit his Web site at www.jeffreypfisher.com or contact him at [email protected].


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