Here is a new calculator, built on request by my dad Tom Nunamaker.
This was meant to find the exact tempo of an audio region with a known number of beats.
Example: if you have an audio region with four beats in it, and the region is 3.56 seconds in length, the calculator will tell you the tempo is 67.416 BPM. You would now be able to loop this recording and work with it in a grid.
In this video we learn the essentials of Timecode, a very important aspect of working with professionals in mixed media.
Being a film composer means loving more than just music, It means loving video as well – and though musicians aren’t always inclined towards the science-ey techno-speak of video editors, it is important for film composers to be on the same page. So with that, I would like to talk to you a bit about the bane of film composers – VIDEO TIMECODE!!
If you’ve never worked with timecode before, there is still a 99.9% chance that you’ve seen it in the form of a TIMECODE GENERATOR display, or put simply, that fast-moving code in a black rectangle at the bottom of a screen. It may look confusing but fear not, its perfectly logical and easy to read.
Video timecode is read in the following format: hours, minutes seconds, and frames. the hour number is often replaced by a film reel number, which is helpful for video editors.
As a musician working with video timecode, the extent of your interaction with it will most likely be limited to setting the timecode format in your DAW (more on that later), and synchronizing it with the timecode in the picture. There are many advantages to integrating timecode into your workflow, for example, you will now be able to send the video editor a single audio file (or stems) and say “just drop the file at exactly 02:10:27:22″. In fact, a good practice would be to include the timecode in the NAME of the audio file. all of your hitpoints, start times and end times will line up just as they did in your sequence. The problem with “eyeballing it” as I like to say, is that without setting the correct frame-rate, your audio will be subject to “drift” in the picture. It may sync up near the beginning, but after a few dozen seconds or so things wont be lining up right… this is partly due to a phenomenon in video, called “drop frame” and “non-drop frame”. Ok. Time for a little history lesson.
Back in the early days of black and white television, video displayed across the screen at 30 individual frames per second. Television sets were all analog back then, meaning no digital chips or cpus were controlling them, yet as a machine, it still needed a timing reference so that everything could stay in sync and display properly. Scientists figured they could use the incoming AC electrical current from the wall as the clock source. TV sets had interlaced screens, which is kind of like one of those holograms that shifts when you move: every other line shows one frame, and then every OTHER line lights up to show the NEXT frame and so on they alternate. The electrical current from the wall was 60hz per second, and because of the interlaced nature of video, the frame rate was set to exactly half of that. This was a great setup, and worked fine for a long time.
HOWEVER. Color TV came along, and something happened to TV sets. Televisions now needed to display more information at the same time, once the color signal was added into the video signal. This extra information caused some sort of resonating interference with the component that fired the lines across the screen, which would cause a very loud humming sound. This NEEDED to be fixed. But instead of replacing all of the television sets, they found a work-around, to alter the video signal which was flickering at the same speed, ever so slightly, down by a factor of .001. This reduced the frame rate from 30 frames per second, to 29.97. Ok. History lesson over.
Fast forward several decades, back to timecode. Here is the PROBLEM. 29.97 frames per second means that seconds going by in timecode are now WRONG, because the seconds are REAL TIME. this resulted in odd solution, what we now have today, called “Drop Frame Rate”. And Here it is, what you’ve been waiting for, the definition.
29.97 drop frame, means that the first TWO frames in the timecode are skipped every minute, except on minutes ending in zero like ten or twenty. This also means that in drop frame rate, you drop 108 frames every hour. So its a little cheat, if you inch across the timeline frame by frame from 8 minutes 59 seconds 29 frames, to 9 minutes, you’ll see the frame number skip right to frame 2.
29.97 drop frame is the standard when you are working in broadcast television. There are other frame rates with less complicated stories though. Lets name a few.
When working with films destined for the silver screen, the norm is 24 frames per second. A new frame rate has been appearing over the last few years, 23.98 frames per second. If you are a mathematician you may have noticed this is 24 frames per second reduced by a factor of .001. The broadcast standard for Europe, PAL, is 25 fps. When working with video games that have cut scenes, its up to the developer, because these can be in any frame rate they like. So be sure to ask them.
29.97 is also referred to as NTSC. in 2009 a new high definition standard emerged called ATSC, and is backwards compatible with NTSC, these are only used in north america.
In this video I discuss some of the considerations in place when building my template for composing in Cubase 6. DOWNLOAD THE KEY COMMANDS AND BASIC TEMPLATE HERE transcription: If you are a working composer in today’s industry, time is a big concern. And it’s a big WASTE of time to always be setting up [...]
Here are detailed instructions for scoring a film in Cubase. I have included an 8 page PDF guide, my custom Key Commands file, and also a working scoring template from which to get started. Film scoring is effortless in cubase, a real treat. I created this hoping I could help people out. Please do not [...]
Grr, don’t you just hate those “fowl” pigs?? All you want to do is just smash their poorly constructed buildings with various types of birds! Anyway, I have a little gift for all of you “Angry Birds” fans: the proper sheet music for piano! Now including FINGERINGS! Impress your friends and share! Download below.
Isn’t LA Noire great? A special treat is when you fire up the disc in your Playstation 3 (xbox too?) and when you hover over the game the main theme plays in a beautiful piano arrangement…. Well, sadly when you search for “la noire main theme” this is unavailable. Also, this recording is not on [...]
Here at Berklee, the way I think is constantly being challenged and altered. One aspect that has recently broken through in my consciousness is melodic writing. I’ve long been interested in orchestration, yet found getting an authentic orchestral texture quite challenging. Reading Rimsky Korsakov’s “Principles of Orchestration”, many things have all clicked together and it [...]
Spotting; watching a movie and deciding where to put the music and how the music will sound. That is the most blunt way to describe the process of “spotting” a movie that I can think of. On a deeper level, spotting is using your emotional palette as a composer to enhance a scene. Meticulously reviewing [...]
Creating the underscore for a film is very time consuming, to put it lightly. The time frame for production isn’t really set in stone either, it’s relative to the production of the film itself. I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that the movie releases get delayed all the time, nor should the reasons why [...]