Posts tagged #Custom Composition

Co-Founder, Brian Hall Speaks About Composing Music For Picture

Just last month our Co-Founder and Creative Director, Brian Hall took the stage and shared his personal and professional relationship with composing music for picture.

Taking place in front of a packed house at Mississippi Studios in part of the ongoing international CreativeMorning series for creatives, Brian drew from his deep well of experience and shed some light on the complex collaboration between music and film.

Watch the whole talk here.

Original Music // Depactus

Sometimes what makes a great soundtrack is the space between the music. We used silence as an instrument in a recent collaboration.

Our friends at Instrument always kill it and their newest film for Depactus is nothing short of compelling. Bringing together an ominous VO narration with striking and surreal imagery brought forth a dynamic film that not only showcased the intensity of surfing, but conveyed the moodiness and awe-inspiring nature of the sea itself.

Giving respect to the humbling imagery, our team of music supervisors and composers worked on a soundtrack that accentuated the raw power of waves and what lays beneath the surface of the ocean. Our team of producers—Tim Shrout and Rob Dennler—worked closely with our Creative Director and co-founder Brian Hall, going with a grittypowerful direction with his soundtrack. Mimicking the fluidity of water, his music was equal parts silent serenity and bombastic dissonance crashing in like waves on rocks.

The collaboration of music and picture is a dance. Great dance partners don't step on each others toes and when it comes to writing a soundtrack, there's a lot of potency of knowing when not to take the lead and simply follow along in silence.

 

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Take a tour of New York in the new Levi's "Commuter" film

Levi's just released the first of their new "Commuter" summer series of films, and things couldn't have started with more style. We had a lot of fun working with our buddies at Instrument on this one.

This inaugural video rides around NYC with Kyle Garner, owner of Sit and Read Furniture. The scenery is bustling and full of life, showcasing the grit and beauty that is to unique to The Big Apple.

As mentioned previously in an earlier post, Marmoset's Original Music Team took the path of a modern Motown vibe, crafting a chill, vintage sound that resonates cooly fresh, yet at the same time, familiar and timeless.

Using the city as a muse, we paid respect to the urban landscape while adding a flare of soul into our score.

Starting out with warm bass grooves and organ textures, the soundtrack lays a rich bedding underneath the narration throughout the film. Keeping things steady, the music ascends into focus with lively percussion and horn arrangements, bursting out at the seams.

Stay tuned for more explorations in this Levi's exclusive film series.

Share A Coke Collaboration Shines with Summer Vibes

It's official, summer is in full effect. This means backyard BBQs, outings and reunions of every kind. It's the season to step out into the sun to make and share stories. Our recent collaboration with Wieden+Kennedy for the Coca-Cola Company personalizes this summer of sharing with their "Share A Coke" campaign. 

Over the course of this summer, Coca-Cola has replaced their logo with what might be your name; see if you can find yours HERE. If you don't find your name (sorry to folks named Ezekiel), you can make a custom order

Our friends, composers Johnny Clay and Kelly Ann Masigat (The Dimes + Trimountaine) really capture the essence of summer in their original composition for this piece. Bouncing along with joy and a youthful spirit, this song matches the vibrant energy of this spot with steady, marching drums and ascending acoustic guitar. Masigat's voice holds a sunny disposition with her conversational lyrics, narrating throughout the sunny, moving imagery.

This collaboration of music and story is filled with a ton of energy, interlocking with music and imagery. Check out how the drums pick up at 0:35, lifting the scene into a celebration of sight and sound. Enjoy the sweet summer vibes.

Finding the Perfect Song // An Interview with Joe Simon

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We recently featured the short film "Budapest" from our friend Joe Simon. Over the course of a day, he filmed a captivating portrait of a beautiful, historic city. Check out the vignette HERE.

One of the striking and successful elements in Simon's film is the use of music and how it moves the images on screen. The sparseethereal song "Dusk" helped create an vivid atmosphere of reflection and perfectly glided with the sweeping landscapes on screen. We caught up with Joe Simon and chatted with him about how he arrived to find the perfect soundtrack.

M: What was the process of finding the right music for "Budapest"?

JS: I wanted to find a song that was a little mysterious, started off slow and built up to a really nice climax. I love searching for music on Marmoset because of the "Arc" search, it makes my life a lot easier that I can find music specifically to hit the high points I've planned for the edit. I had a quick deadline editing this film, I wanted to edit this in Budapest within 12 hours so I had to limit my music search to 1 hour and I happened on this song about 45 mins into my search. As soon as I heard it I knew it was the one. 

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M: What led you to decide to choose "Dusk" out of so many songs? What was it about that song?

JS: There was a few things that made this song perfect. 

1. Started off very slow, almost ambient. This allowed me to open with the right shots to create anticipation

2. A solid build throughout the song

3. Built to a great sounding climax.

4. The instruments had the right sound to fit the vibe I pictured in my head. 

 

M: How important do you find music to be in your projects?

JS: Music is huge, it's a large part of our storytelling process. The music sets the tone of our films as well it enhances the emotional content. Different music will make your viewer feel different things about the same footage/story, it's so powerful. 

Continuing along with Simon's point about how music can set the tone of a film, here are 2 examples of "Budapest" with a different soundtrack to showcase how completely different the mood can be by changing the music.

In this version of the film, we used the song "Silverleaf" by Glass Wands. This piano-led ambient piece starts off sparse and ultimately ascends into a beautiful crescendo with strings and synthesizer.

In the second of two examples, we took a more energetic approach with the song "Bright Beginning" by D.V.S. This music evokes a sense of hope and moves at a quicker pace with an elevated pulse from the drum machine.

What can go wrong with Original Music?

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In effort to start a dialogue on custom composition and the intersection of music and film, we've invited Marmoset Co-Founder Brian Hall to guest write for the blog today. In a start of a monthly series, we get a glimpse of the process behind the evolving story of creative collaboration.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section and let us know about your experience


It's awe inspiring to consider the raw amount of content that is being made in the 21st century. By now, we've been lucky enough to bring original scores to hundreds of projects. As we've slowly found our stride, we've developed a pretty clear picture of what defines a really healthy collaboration.

It's a simple task to talk about what defines an effective collaboration. For fun, we thought we'd explore some early warning signs that can ultimately lead to ineffective collaboration. Further, we thought we'd use kitchen metaphors to articulate each issue.


Right Kitchen, selfish chef.

The best way to describe this one is to quote the great Paul Simon in his song, "The Boxer.""A man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest." In short, musicians are a stubborn, passionate and sometime irrational breed, In nearly every case, we grow up with music as a healthy, but nonetheless selfish way to hide and find refuge. At the heart of this escapism is simply "me." We are in a sense telling our own story. When it comes time to tuck away one's own narrative in order to serve another...the immature composer, above all, falls short.


Wrong cooks, right kitchen.

This one is straightforward. Above all, a good collaboration requires that all parties, whether in peace or in war, can make each other's output more mind blowing. As a filmmaker, you must remember that like Marmoset, every musician has a niche. It may be nebulous, it may be broad, but it is nonetheless a niche. I can speak from experience, musicians write music the most convincingly when we are writing a type of music that we love and therefore innately understand.


Right kitchen, wrong cookbook.

There are typically three turnkey decision making parties on any given project. Sometimes there are less, sometimes there are more. In different situations actual authority is dispersed very differently. It goes without saying, the music makers are generally perched toward the bottom of the chain, hoping they can find a way to scratch their own creative itch, and simultaneously account for and meet the needs of all parties. This is not easy. The more articulate, intentional and direct you are with your talent, the more focused, excited and and enduring you will find them. Scattered and unclear direction = grey hairs.


Right Cooks, different languages.

I've engaged with plenty of clients that feel insecure about their ability to talk about music at a high level. Let me assure you, it is not necessary to be able to eloquently talk in terms of the "technical" characteristics of music. I consider it the musician's responsibility to distill abstract feelings and ideas into concrete, definable musical direction. If from a high level, everyone is aligned, then the musician should be able to align with you, regardless of your background or lack of ability to articulate details.


Good food takes time.

3-5 business days is generally enough time for a composer to get you a first pass on anything under 3 minutes or so. Revisions take longer. Additionally, a lot of editors like to edit to music, but the reality is that composers make better work when they are composing to picture. There are ways to make either approach work, but if you've spent a lot of time sourcing your own licenses, you'll need to be prepared to reinvent your post production experience. You cannot start a pork belly slow cook at 3 pm and have it ready when guests arrive at 6:30 pm.

- Brian Hall