Logic Pro 9 Music Editing a TV Series

Hi One and All,

I'm turning in circles about how to organize my current cartoon TV series so that I can start reusing cues. I'm delivering 1 stereo full mix and 5 stems that split the mix up. The music is very closely scored to picture with quite a few sound fx punches.

I'd really appreciate hearing how others approach the task of categorizing and editing previous cues. My first choice, rather than edit the audio, would be to figure out a system whereby I create construction kits of the RMX rex loops, Apple Loops and soft synth themes and patches as they are related to characters and situations. Working in midi, if I could do it quickly, would allow me to 'score to picture'.

Well Myself, I use a combination of a filemaker database that has descriptors of themes or characters of all the cues for reuse, but I also have a running protools session with all the episodes and all audio & stems for quick browsing.... So I can quickly drag & drop those cues or sequences to adapt old cues or sequences to new episodes..
Cheers Tom..
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First thing that occurs to me is that the best way to use music in cartoons is to animate to the music. I know this doesn't answer the current question, but have you considered giving the production company a whole set of different length cues and beds, ie their own construction kit", and suggesting that they the can animate to this (as well as asking for new cues when necessary?). I've done thisa in the past and editors have been quite grateful in many cases.

My own system (which I mentioned in another post recently and also featured in Sound on Sound), is to keep all similar cues in one Logic project, and just use SMPTE offset for each new cue. The example is for production music versions, but similar applies to composed for series music.

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I've been asked to provide the music before the animation for short animated films with the National Film Board of Canada and even that is the exception rather than the rule in my experience.

So far, for this cartoon series, I've given the music before the animation for opening credits or when the music is visual i.e. on screen. This is the first cartoon series that I've worked on, perhaps it's more common than I can imagine.

Eli Krantzberg is going to be the music editor for this series and we'll be working with my ProTools audio stems. I'll score pick up cues for each show when needed.
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I've been asked to provide the music before the animation for short animated films with the National Film Board of Canada and even that is the exception rather than the rule in my experience.

The tradition of animation is definitely for animation to be done to music, but perhaps that's changing, probably due to falling budgets. I've only ver had to do music after animation and with the more traditional forma of cartoon music (ie with lots of sync points), it's was a big PITA.

Still it's always worth suggesting to them, at the very least cutting to guide tracks or click track so you have a tempo to work with.
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organization of cues

If you're looking for ways to keep all your cues and various files organized, I've found templates and folders to be really helpful. I was working on a movie project and I knew I would be working on many episodes, but there were certain themes that would be reused in different episodes.

So I made a template with every instrument I considered using and a generous track layout. For example, I can't live without XLN Audio's Addictive Drums (amazing), SonicCharge's MicroTonic (the KraftwerkMobile) and Stylus, made two tracks for each one of these. Added a bunch of ES1's, ES2's, and EXS's for backup, and added 10 mono and 10 stereo tracks.

So now with a solid template in place, I started working on episodes. Each episode had different dialog but there were times when music cues were exactly the same, such as intro music or transitional themes. So here's where I use folders: Let's just say that on episode one I've used 20 tracks; in episode two I used 24 tracks (ignore which kind of tracks for the moment). I create a new folder called Episode 1. I highlight all 20 tracks that I used above, duplicate them, and drag the duplicates in to the Episode 1 folder. I make another folder called Episode 2...duplicate these tracks and pack them in to t the Episode 2 folder.

This makes it easy to go and grab parts from different episodes and combine them with other projects. Plus it leaves your main tracks and similar instruments in place in case you need to revisit them for a mix or a bounce. Hope that helps.
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Logic not good for final score anyway


I've done exactly this about 5 years and must say that working with MIDI is really handy especially when you need tempo changes etc. and you can also place SFX in that Logic session. At the same time I have to mention that Logic is only good for scoring short episodes. You will never be able to score a 60 minutes film in Logic without scrolling a lot (it never shows the full timeline, for example, and other drawbacks). In my practice Logic got used to score for episodes, then the mixdowns of the episodes were used in Pro Tools.

When the episodes got revised I had to return to the original (Logic) score for that one and edit it accordingly. Then reimport the new mixes back to PT.

Sorry to say but for a big length sound-to-picture project PT is so much superior to Logic. It also slaves much better to video (the oldschool SMPTE method :D)

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