I have a few more tips on getting the most from your sessions by having a streamlined and effective workflow.
If you haven’t read the first part, it would be a good idea to stop here, go back and have a look at the previous post discussing templates.
But if you’re the type that doesn’t read the book but reads the synopsis on Wikipedia then here’s what you missed.
For modern composers, being a good composer is no longer enough to compete in this game. You need to have a multitude of skills ranging from composing to orchestration to sequencing (synthestration) and mixing. Often on smaller projects, you might even be doing the mastering.
Organization is a powerful tool to optimise workflow allowing for more streamlined and effective output.
One of the most utilized methods of organization in today’s world is templates (although I have some interesting thoughts on this… go back to the first post to find out more).
There are many other ways to optimise productivity through effective organization and each of us tends to incorporate these into our workflow as we begin to progress over time.
But for now, let's go a little deeper into the organization within templates and discover how to get the most out of what they can offer.
The concepts I’d like to discuss with you today are:
2) Kontakt Instances - making it easy to save groups of tracks
3) Buses - keeping your orchestral template organized
4) Stems - making it easy to export groups of tracks for mixing
Let’s take a look at why you should start incorporating grouping into your workflow.
Composing, like any other labor, has to be both organized and efficient. There has to be space for spontaneity and a bit of messiness, of course, but the more organized your system is the more productive your time will be.
Grouping stuff will serve many purposes. There are many ways you can organize tracks -- we will be discussing different approaches depending on our needs in a minute -- but right away these are some of the benefits:
First, it will give you quick control over groups of instruments. You may want to solo all the small percussion tracks to check on their width and L/R balance. Or you may need to isolate the low short brass and low percussion. In a big project with lots of tracks, it will take some time to solo individual tracks. But if you set up some buses, or if you have some track folders, it will be faster to just solo those buses or folders.
Another way of grouping is saving groups of tracks that you can load later, like saving Kontakt instances, or using the “Load track template” feature in Sonar (discontinued). Not only will you save time loading tracks, but you can also save the tracks premixed and pre-routed, so when you load them it already sounds good, and you are not dealing with problems right away.
Finally, working with groups may help you when you are exporting stems.
KONTAKT INSTANCES: making it easy to save groups of tracks
It is a set of 16 instruments. You may not use all of them, but you’d have them available quickly and easily. This frees you to concentrate on composing, not on technical, computer-related aspects of your project.
Remember that it usually doesn’t matter these days if you are loading more than you need. In most cases, you won’t run out of RAM before your CPU is maxed out. It also helps if these sets are then routed or bused out to auxiliary tracks that can be used to add automation or reverb... But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Back to Kontakt.
BUSES: keeping your orchestral template organized
I like using buses, and I route all my tracks to specific buses.
I have a basic set of 16 buses. This basic set is useful for three reasons.
- It allows me to listen to specific sections (high short strings, synths, etc).
- It gives me control over those specific sections. If I need more low brass in a specific part of the cue, I will automate that bus. That is more efficient than doing so in each low brass instrument track, and it ensures that I am keeping the balance intact for that section.
- And most important, it allows me to export stems quickly.
STEMS: making it easy to export groups of tracks for mixing
Last but not least
- I would love to know your opinion about the post: are you a film or video games composer? any recent scoring project? what did you learn during the process? what made you succeed in that project? how do you balance composing and networking to find new projects?
- If you think this post could help more people, can you help me reaching them sharing this post on your Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and/or your E-mail contacts?
- Do you want to learn everything I discovered on how to produce better sounding MIDI mockups? Join to my orchestral mockup production free course below?
- Do you want to know when we publish our next post? Register your email below and you'll be the first to know.
And, if you'd like to try any of our free contents...
Get the Basic Mockup Production FREE Course
You will receive 12 emails over the span of 2 weeks. They will be relatively short, easily digestible emails that can be read in one sitting. The emails introduce the basic concepts of Orchestral Mockup Production. At the end of the course, we will have covered the basic concepts that you need to know to be able to produce professional sounding orchestral and hybrid mockups.
Click subscribe button below and get the Basic Mockup Production FREE Course.