Scoring for Film and Video
Fall Semester, 2016
What is this class about?
MUS 468 is a class that uses computers to compose and orchestrate music as underscore to motion pictures. This course will provide the essential topics a composer should consider when exploring the many aspects of music in synchronization with image. As much as possible, we will follow a professional paradigm with each student playing the role of composer, editor, music copyist, and conductor. Other roles may include musician, contractor and recording engineer.
Much of the material covered in this class will be presented through participation in laboratory experiences, however, conventional methods of lecture and study based on the reading material will be an integral part of the class, so careful attention to note taking applies.
What equipment and facilities will we use?
The classroom in Coulter 374 is equipped with Macintosh computers. There are two primary software applications resident on these computers that are used in film scoring process. Finale will be used for music notation and Digital Performer for sequencing MIDI and incorporating digital audio. Reason is on the computers and can be ReWired into Digital Performer as an additional source of sounds. You will be assigned a computer that you will use during each class session. You will have a personal folder in the "Project HD" volume on this computer. In addition, you will pick-up and drop-off assignments in the appropriate folder on the Coulter 374 "eMusic" server.
Headphones. Note that the university does not provide headphones for use in CO 374. We request that you purchase the "open ear" type of phones. This will allow you to hear your instructor in the room while listening to the computer or keyboard. You will need a 1/4 phone adaptor to plug into the mixer unit in the lab. We are recommending Audio Technical ATH-M2X headphones. These are inexpensive (about $30), and are readily available for purchase online.The following link link will give you more information. http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ATHM2X/
The CAT recording studio will be used as well. It is equipped with high quality video projection and audio equipment for presention of video. The recording studio will be a venue for recording of music composed by the students. The two editing rooms, MIDI-A and MIDI-B may be used for sequencing music and editing digital video respectively.
What materials will I need?
Digital video (DV and HDV) requires 216 MB of disk space per minute of program material. Digital audio (CD quality) stereo files use 10 MB of space per minute. Although most projects will be relatively short, a sufficient amount of disk space will be required to capture and manipulate audio and video for your projects. Hard drive space is limited in all venues. Therefore...
A personal hard drive is recommended. An external Thunderbolt, USB3 or FireWire drive is a low cost solution to limited disk space. Its plug-and-play interface makes it a good choice. Larger is better. An hour of video (DV) requires 13 gigabytes of data space--and more for HD!
USB Thumb (Jump) drive. Although these hold only a limited amount of data, the capacity of these little lifesavers is increasing. You cannot use this drive to record data but it is recommended you have one on hand to back-up data files or to quickly transfer a small file from one computer to another.
Data management is an important consideration when working with computers. Protect your data. Save and back-up often!
A binder with paper and manuscript paper for note taking and keeping up with tutorials and other handouts is recommended.
Do we use Blackboard?
A Blackboard account has been established for this course. This is a site for online resources that can assist you in learning material for this class. Assignments and quizzes will be posted on this site. To access the site, click or type the web address https://wcu.blackboard.com/ into the URL box of your web browser. You will prompted for your username and a password. Blackboard requires you to login using your Catamount email account username (everything before @). Your password is your Blackboard password (PIN). After logging on, click the Course Title (MUS 468 Film Scoring). It will take you to the Blackboard home page. The links should be self-explanatory. To access quizzes, click the "Assessment" button, and then click the assigned quiz link. Call me if you have problem or questions at 828-227-2400. Help with Blackboard is available through IT services on campus at the contact information below.
Monday through Friday 8:00am – 5:00pm
IT Services Helpdesk 828- 227-7487or
Toll free 866-374-8144 (24/7)
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the LMS Team at email@example.com or call us at 828-227-2930 or the IT Help Desk at 828-227-7487.
What is expected of me ?
Compose! Compose! Compose! The only way to become a good film composer is to write music in synch with picture. The more you do this, the more you will develop a "picture sense" - a flair for understanding the drama of the picture and writing music that complements the emotion and action. Completed class projects and tutorials should be submitted in a timely manner. Time outside of class will be necessary to complete class projects. The electronic music classroom in Coulter 374 is open most evenings and selected hours during the day. Check the schedule for available times. If an assignment is submitted after the due date, a letter grade per class penalty may be assessed. No assignments will be accepted beyond the last day of class.
Assigned readings from your textbook will support classroom activities. Although not all of this material will be discussed in class, you are responsible for the content. Questions for quizzes and exams will be drawn from this material as well as classroom activities. Please see the Class Schedule for the timetable of assigned readings.
Some prominent film composers, orchestrators, conductors, musicians and agents will be discused in class. A list of these musicians with web resources is posted on the web at http://paws.wcu.edu/bfrazier/468-4.html. Each student in the course will be assigned a musician to research and present examples of notable film music with biographical information about the composer to other students in the class.
Assigned film cues for listening and viewing will be used to illustrate concepts and techniques. Many of these will be posted on Blackboard (Ponopto).
Attendance and participation are important. The effectiveness of this class is dependent on sharing ideas among ourselves. Composition assignments will be presented in class and discussed in a seminar setting. Some classroom activities involve software tutorials that lead to the completion of a project. If you are absent, you are still responsible for the completion of this material. If you are absent for any reason, including field trips and tours, please let me know in writing, preferably through e-mail. Since class participation is a graded area, all absences will affect your grade.After three undocumented absences, your final grade may be lowered by a letter grade for each additional absence. (For more information about this university attendance policy, please refer the WCU Undergraduate Catalog.)
Punctuality is a courtesy. It also represents a professional attitude about your work. Students arriving late to class will not be allowed to take any quiz in progress and will be graded accordingly.
Will there be quizzes and exams?
Yes. Short quizzes based on the assigned readings, listening examples and video clips will be given on a regular basis. Some of these will be delivered via Blackboard. In addition, there will be a midterm and a final exam which will focus on the material covered in the course.
Will there be any special PROJECTS?
Projects and laboratory assignments demonstrating a wide variety of scoring techniques for media will be assigned during the semester. These skills and techniques may include:
* Scoring selected scenes from TV programs and films representing various moods and affections typical of effective musical underscore.
* Composing theme music and editing these themes for main titles, bumpers and other format music.
* Composing "source" music for film clips illustrating various popular styles and ethnic flavor.
* Underscoring advertisments with music appropriate to the content and subject matter of the commercial. This may include radio spots as well as visual ads.
* Creating arrangements and orchestrations using a pre-composed theme illustrating variation techniques to underscore various moods and affections.
* Creating an electronic orchestration from a sketch composed for a scene.
* Demonstrating music editing skills using pre-recorded music to "track" video in synch with picture.
* Preparing a videotape or digital video for scoring, including striping time code and inserting video punches and streamers as needed.
* Successfully spotting music to picture, identifying music starts and stops, key hits, and suggesting appropriate style, form, tempo and instrumentation.
* Creating spotting notes and cue sheets in prepartion for scoring.
* Properly notating musical scores and parts in preparation for recording.
* Recording and mixing music in synchronization with picture.
* Conducting music in sync to picture in a live recording session.
* Demonstrating techniques for synchronizing pre-recorded sound with picture using appropriate computer software.
* Analyzing notated music scored to picture, identifying characteristics of form, melody, harmony, meter, rhythm, instrumentation, dynamics, expressive qualities and synchronization.
* Identifying significant musical and dramtatic characteristics of motion pictures through analytical listening and viewing.
* Presenting examples of notable film music with biographical information about the composer to other students in the class.
Some short "works for hire" will be assigned during the semester. These will be completed and prepared for broadcast for radio, TV, digital disc and/or the Web. These projects will include...
*Digital Animation. We will collaborate with the Digital Animation students in the School of Art led by Mary Anna LaFratta. We will provide narration, sound effects and music for a short project that she will assign students in her class. The due date for the assigned is Friday, October 7. The topic is Nanotechnology.
*Film Program Projects. We will coodinate with student filmakers in a documentary class and on a number of small collaborative projects. There will be two major films produced in 2016-2017. The production teams will solicit porfolios for consideration for their films this fall with most of the work to be done Spring 2017.
The CourseEval web evaluation links will be active during the last month of classes. Please take advantage of this opportunity to give us your feedback on the class.
Academic Honesty Policy:
Western Carolina University, a community of scholarship, is also a community of honor. Faculty, staff, administrators, and students work together to achieve the highest standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is a serious offense at WCU because it threatens the quality of scholarship and defrauds those who depend on knowledge and integrity. Academic dishonesty includes the following:
A. Cheating. Intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise.
B. Fabrication. Intentional falsification or invention of information or citation in an academic exercise.
C. Plagiarism. Intentionally or knowingly representing the words or ideas of someone else as one’s own in an academic exercise.
D. Facilitation of Academic Dishonesty. Intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help someone else to commit an act of academic dishonesty, such as knowingly allowing another to copy information during an examination or other academic exercise.
Additional information on academic honesty is available. For specific information on procedures for cases involving allegations of academic dishonesty, please see relevant sections in the Student Handbook.
Office of Disability Services:
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Western Carolina University is committed to providing equal educational opportunities for students with documented disabilities and/or medical conditions. Students who require reasonable accommodations must identify themselves as having a disability and/or medical condition and provide current diagnostic documentation to the Office of Disability Services. All information is confidential. Please contact the Office of Disability Services at (828) 227-3886 or come by Suite 135 Killian Annex for an appointment.
Student Support Services:
Student Support Services provides support to students who are either first-generation, low-income or those who have disclosed a disability with: academic advising, mentoring, one-on-one tutorial support, and workshops focused on career, financial aid and graduate school preparation. You may contact SSS at (828) 227-7127 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. SSS is located in the Killian Annex, room 138.
Writing and Learning Common (WaLC):
Electronic format (with hyperlinks):
The Writing and Learning Commons (WaLC), located in BELK 207, provides free small-group course tutoring, one-on-one writing tutoring and academic skills consultations, and online writing and learning resources for all students. All tutoring sessions take place in the WaLC or in designated classrooms on campus. To schedule tutoring appointments, log in to TutorTrac from the WaLC homepage (walc.wcu.edu) or call 828-227-2274. Distance students and students taking classes at Biltmore Park are encouraged to use Smarthinking and the WaLC’s online resources. Students may also take advantage of writing tutoring offered at the Biltmore Park campus on certain days of the week; call 828-227-2274 or log in to TutorTrac and select “Biltmore Park Writing Tutoring” for availabilities.
The Writing and Learning Commons (WaLC), located in BELK 207, provides free small-group course tutoring, one-on-one writing tutoring and academic skills consultations, and online writing and learning resources for all students. All tutoring sessions take place in the WaLC or in designated classrooms on campus. To schedule tutoring appointments, log in to TutorTrac from the WaLC homepage (http://walc.wcu.edu) or call 828-227-2274. Distance students and students taking classes at Biltmore Park are encouraged to use Smarthinking and the WaLC’s online resources. Students may also take advantage of writing tutoring offered at the Biltmore Park campus on certain days of the week; call 828-227-2274 or log in to TutorTrac and select “Biltmore Park Writing Tutoring” for availabilities.
Math Tutoring Center (usually included in Math department lower division courses)
The Mathematics Tutoring Center: (455 Stillwell, http://mathlab.wcu.edu, 227-3830) provides tutoring in all lower-division math and many CS courses, help with mathematical concepts in other disciplines, and workshops on study skills specific to mathematics courses. Tutoring is available on a drop-in basis, 9-5 and 6-9 pm Monday-Thursday, and 9-5 on Friday or by appointment.
Academic Calendar: includes dates for all breaks, university closures, final exams, etc. The academic calendar can be found at: http://www.wcu.edu/academics/campus-academic-resources/registrars-office/academic-calendar.asp.