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nsmadsen

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  1. I'm linking the Youtube video directly, you'll probably get more views that way:
  2. It's an old trick when working with sampled strings. Double the notes with a synth that has a nice, full sound (usually a sine way so it's really clean) then duck it way down in the mix. Until it's basically more felt than actually heard. This helps beef up the string sound. You may only want to do it with mid-to-low notes. It doesn't feel dynamic enough to my ears, especially at the ends of phrases where you could pull the volume back some more. Taper the phrases so they feel more musical. It's not a bad piece! And definitely not a bad pacing for 5 hours of work. I think you'll find that your time will get better and better the more you work on these production tricks and such. In some cases you may be spending a lot of time and effort on certain CC data when doing a simple volume automation could achieve much of the same effect. Or especially when both CC and volume automation is combined.
  3. I read a lot and listen to several podcasts, including the Happy Fun Time Hour by UBK. When I have down time, I create test projects to use new pieces of gear in different (at least for me) ways.
  4. Awesome! The composition is really nice! A few things popped out to my ears: 1) It would be nice to hear a change of texture. Instead it's mostly strings with oboe. A moment or two with either thinned out strings by themselves or only oboe with perhaps a few lower to mid strings would change the texture. 2) Consider having the melody change to another instrument at some point. Even having the higher strings take over could be a nice change. Also a bit of a change in melody or harmony could be very effective too. Especially with loops, I try to not have strict repeats since the loop itself will be repeating. 3) There's not much low end in your mix. I feel the mids and highs outweigh the bottom end which is making the overall mix feel a bit lopsided and thin. Also I had to turn up the speakers quite a bit, so I'd also recommend looking into what your loudness level(s) are set to when bouncing out. Sometimes doubling a synth layer into your strings and blending it into the mix can help deepen up the sound. 4) I know you're doing a lot of CC automation, which is excellent. Have you also considered doing some volume automation (or envelopes) depending on your DAW? That can further help taper some of the phrases a bit more. 5) Finally I'd consider some tempo changes to let the musicality of the phrases really shine through. It's a great mood and the pacing of the piece is quite nice! I agree with you - this could work very well in a sad moment of a video game. Thanks so much for sharing! Nate
  5. Sure thing - glad it helped! Re: rates I've always charged by asset delivered, with the exception to a few projects which wanted an hourly rate. The reason why I didn't like hourly rates is because it created more work for me in keeping time sheets and reporting them to the client. And it also didn't define the total project cost for the client either. Example: If I nailed something then it might be cheaper for the client but if it takes many revisions and such, then it could end up being more expensive for the client. I've found that clients like knowing the exact amount they'll spend on a project. And yes, it does put some risk back on my plate but a large majority of the time, this hasn't been an issue for me. I've been able to deliver audio that the client is happy with. But please note - I do have a revision cap clause in my contract. This is because I once had a client want endless revisions just to see what I'd come up with. The client had no real goal - they were just curious. Ended up costing me a ton of effort, time and ultimately, money. So now I cap things at 3 full revisions. After that, there's an extra cost factored in. Hope that helps! Nate
  6. I'm sorry for misunderstanding you! I could produce a track like you've written in about 2 days. I don't know if that is faster/slower/on pace with you but that's about the length of time it would take me. I did a 3 minute track recently that took me 3 days and that was with requests for changes and tweaks from the client. So that ate up some of the time as well. That track is right here: I was working with a quite defined brief from the client so I didn't have free reign to go in some of the other directions I would've preferred. Another track I did in 1 day was: This track was for a game's promo/video and had VO literally all over it. What I'm sharing is the music only version, of course. No worries on the confusion. Working with only text can sometimes be an issue. Oh and for the record, your piece is LOVELY. Very wonderfully done! One more example - this is a trailer I wrote in 7 hours for FUNimation. You can hear just how much VO there is and some sound design as well.
  7. The Silver Surfer track is really cool! But one criticism of all of your tracks is a lack of predominant themes. While it is true that often you have to write music that acts as wallpaper in certain parts of a game, most devs will still want/need a main theme to really drive the game's story. This could be reused in various spots of the game's story. This is what I feel is lacking from your portfolio overall. You have some really cool ideas and your production's pretty good! I'd just work on crafting some really iconic themes that can hook your listeners and players.
  8. Completely disagree with your assessment. Many of the wonderful games I've enjoyed have had stellar soundtracks. With very effective and realistic mock ups of orchestras. And to be honest... you're kinda coming off a bit rude by making such a statement. Not all games need a full orchestral score. I've played several games recently that went in the opposite direction and the music was refreshing, original and helped enhance the game. And even with the games that DO go for a full orchestral score - is the music going to be dynamic? How does the music support the game's sound design and VO/narration? Sometimes less is better when you consider an interactive medium like a video game. But back to your question - how fast should a VG composer be expected to compose? I've seen deadlines as short as 3-4 hours. If you want to charge per hour, that's fine. I know plenty of audio pros that do that. Others prefer charging by the asset. My advice is to try one method and if it works for you - great. Use that! But if it doesn't, then consider the other approach. There's not really a right or wrong way. I would pick a few styles that you feel best represent you and your passion(s) and then showcase those. In other words, if you want to be an orchestral composer who's known for themes and sweeping melodies, then go in that direction. I wouldn't try and do too many genres and styles because very few people can be awesome at all of them.
  9. Hey, Thanks for sharing your piece! I enjoyed the opening but felt some of the grace notes were played unrealistically. When I'm improvising, I often play the grace notes a bit softer. Also some of the chromaticism didn't work as well for me but that could be a personal taste. One other thing you might consider is contrary motion as often your outer voices moved in the same direction. Overall, though, I dug it! I loved the ending! Thanks, Nate
  10. I went back and revisited this theme - simplifying the piano part and making the arrangement, in general, have a bit more space. While I still like the fuller, original version, I feel like this new arrangement hits a deeper mood and vibe. I hope you like it and thanks again for all of the listens and feedback!
  11. Thank you!
  12. Thanks for the feedback. I actually did play the piano part in live via MIDI with a sustain pedal. And the part isn't quantized nor are all of the velocities static. Also I did split up the lower piano part versus the mid to higher parts. What I feel is lacking is there are better libraries with a richer sustain than the piano library I used. But, all in all, it does a good job of showing what I was after.
  13. Thanks for sharing your stuff! I've got quite a few ideas for how you can make this (and future pieces) more effective. Many of the samples used are of lower quality. Also the production of the music itself could use quite a bit more attention. Things I would look at: more automation to help phrases come off more musical. more reverb/FX to help with the lower fidelity samples. your higher pitched string samples are poking out of your mix pretty bad, leaving a lopsided balance. your percussion groove is a bit lackluster. Look for ways to liven that up some. some of your mix is distorting and is quite muddy due to both the harmonies you're using as well as the octaves and panning placements. I like how you go from a full texture to a very thin one (with just the harp at 1:45 for example) but consider adding in another element to help keep some momentum happening. Otherwise it can start to feel sort directionless and random, in my opinion. I hope that helps! Thanks, Nate
  14. Here's a new piece I wrote just for fun. I recorded live cello for this one and am very happy with the cello sound. But, speaking honestly, I'm less happy with the piano sound. Thankfully, it's recorded via MIDI so I can swap that out for a better sounding library. Or maybe I just need to tweak the track settings. Either way, I'd appreciate both listens and feedback! Thanks Nate
  15. Thanks guys!