Want to ramp up the suspense in your film? Here are some ways to do it with music.
When it comes to horror flicks and thrillers, it’s all about building suspense. Creating a tense cinematic experience that puts your audience at the edge of their seat can be done in many ways, but one element that seems to really speak to the fear center of a movie-goer’s brain is music. So, what are some techniques professional filmmakers and music composers use when writing film scores to build tension and suspense? Well, StudioBinder shares a few of them in the video below.
There are many ways to build suspense with music, but the following three techniques from StudioBinder are definitely some of the most popular. In fact, chances are you’ve heard at least one (if not all) of them in pretty much every horror film or thriller you’ve ever seen.
You might as well call this technique a magic trick.
This is one of the most frustrating situations to be in when working in post: You’ve got your video—it’s beautiful, it’s gorgeous, and it’s longer than the duration of your music track. Damnit. But no worries, there’s a solution. You just have to figure out a way to extend it. So you go in, find somewhere in the song that can not only be easily looped but can also give you enough playtime to make all of the effort worth it. Then you do this again, and again, and again until your music track is as long as your video, finishing it off with a little crossfade to hide the cut. Boom! Five million hours later you’ve got a pretty decent loop of your desired music and all it cost you was a little bit of your soul.
Back when I was editing videos on the regular, I did this exact process constantly, not knowing that there was a better way. But there is, and it’s super simple and super fast and Peter McKinnon demonstrates it in the tutorial below.
This technique will basically let you do an hours-long job in mere minutes.
Editing is a long, drawn-out process that takes days, weeks, and even months to do, and yeah, there are many different ways to shave off your work time by making your workflow more efficient, but for the most part, you’re in it for the long haul. That is unless you’re wanting to edit clips to music. Usually, the process of matching up your clips to the beat would take hours, requiring you to zoom in close to your audio waveform, pinpoint each peak, and then snap every clip to those exact places on your timeline. This was painfully tedious, but in this video, Peter McKinnon shows you a freakishly fast way to edit your footage to music in Adobe Premiere Pro.
We take a look at Tom Petty’s impact on the world of music videos.
Tom Petty, who died unexpectedly this week at the age of 66, wrote timeless songs even when he was a young man, and had a soul old enough to fit effortlessly into a supergroup with Roy Orbison, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne, despite being the youngest member of the group, by far. He made it all look easy, which might have had the paradoxical effect of downplaying his greatness. But even if you never took much notice of Petty during his life, it’s almost certain that at some point you’ve seen one of the brilliant music videos he made over the years, either alone or with long-time collaborators the Heartbreakers.
The videos range from clever to surreal, but never lack Petty’s effortless cool, singular taste, and imagination.
Billboard chatted with Danny Elfman about scoring the Justice League music and the composer didn’t hold much back! We’ll give you a spoiler warning for some of the things he says, as you may just not want to know the fine details yet, and his quotes do give certain hints as to what will happen.
When asked what it was like going back to the DC Universe, Elfman said: “There are a few little fan moments. I instated a moment of the Wonder Woman theme that Hans Zimmer did for Batman Vs. Superman, but I also had two minutes where I had the pleasure of saying, “Let’s do John Williams’ Superman.” and that for me was heaven, because now I have a melody to twist, and I’m using it in an actually very dark way, in a dark moment. It’s the kind of thing that some fans will notice. Some won’t. It’s a moment where we’re really not sure whose side he’s on.”
He added that he created simple motifs for the characters in the film: “There are so many themes, you can’t just do a big theme for everything. So i created a motif for Flash, for Aquaman and Cyborg — but they’re very simple things, and [DC] understood. I said, “These things may never be used again, but I’m giving you all the components, should you wish to have things to build on.” So they either will or they won’t, but that’s how I approach a project like this. You have to take the attitude that this is the beginning of a mythology and it all matters, it all comes to fruition, and with any luck they will.”
And when asked if he liked working with Joss Whedon again after Avengers: Age of Ultron, he added: “It was the same as when I worked with him on Ultron. He appreciates melodies and pieces. He’s like, “Oh, you’ve given it identity here!” There was a moment where the Batmobile shoots out of a thing and he goes, “Go batshit crazy here! Batman the shit out of it!” When I’m using the Batman theme, I’m using the melodic sense of it, I’m wasn’t doing full-on Batman, and there’s a moment when he says, “No, right here, Full on!”
In related news, Warner Bros Pictures has released a video in which Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher talk about the highly-anticipated November 10 release. You can watch it below!
Justice League stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta, Billy Crudup as Henry Allen, Amber Heard as Mera, Kiersey Clemons as Iris West, with J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon, and Amy Adams as Lois Lane.
Fueled by the hero’s restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Justice League sees Bruce Wayne enlist the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
Directed by Zack Snyder (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Man of Steel), the screenplay is by Joss Whedon and Chris Terrio from a story by Snyder and Terrio. Whedon directed the additional photography for the sequel and is overseeing the completion of its post production following Snyder’s family tragedy. Justice League is produced by Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Jon Berg and Geoff Johns. The executive producers are Jim Rowe, Wesley Coller, Curt Kanemoto, Chris Terrio and Ben Affleck.
Are you gaga for Gaga? Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for a documentary called Gaga: Five Foot Two, an inside look at the life of Lady Gaga filmed over eight months. Directed by the filmmaker of Banksy Does New York and Me at the Zoo, the film goes behind the scenes with “pop provocateur” Lady Gaga as she releases a bold new album and prepares for her Super Bowl halftime show. It’s premiering at Toronto Film Festival starting this week, which is why this trailer is hitting now. Even if you thought you knew everything about her and have seen other films about her, this seems to be a very definitive inside look at her kooky, crazy, wild life and all that drives her to be so bold and innovative. I’m especially intrigued to see how she is involved in the creative process beyond just her music, with concerts and more. Might as well check this out. ›››
Raindance Film Festival has always championed the place of music in film. Over the years, the festival has hosted such musicians as Marky Ramone, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed. Over the last few years, our international Jury has included Lemmy, Tom Waits, Douglas Hart (The Jesus and Mary Chain), Beth Gibbons (Portishead) and Don Letts. This year Raindance will showcase an exciting line-up of feature and documentary films that explore the nature of music and musicianship.
Here are four stories about music to look out for at the 25th Raindance Film Festival.
Directed by Tom Gustafson
Inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s 1896 controversial play Der Reigen and the classic 1950 Max Ophuls film LA Ronde, in the early ’90s the Lincoln Center commissioned Broadway composer Michael John LaChiusa to create the musical Hello Again. This film adaptation explores 10 fleeting love affairs across 10 periods of time in New York City history, through 10 lust-fueled episodes.
This award-winning documentary is the story of a man, Ralf Kemper, driven to celebrate a long-forgotten music legend. Kemper finds the best players, arrangers and producers to create the album of his dreams. He showcases Jimmy Scott in the finest way possible, virtually bankrupting himself in the process.
Directed by Enrico Ciccu, Ken Nishikawa, Les Deciduous and Mike Rogers
The Screamin’ Telstars are a struggling retro rock band. One day, their leader, Tony, goes to buy a haunted guitar amp. Tony gets everything he’s dreamed of – but with a hidden catch. A hard day’s night in Japan with a faustian twist.
This new documentary from the creators of Big Gold Dream tells the story of what happened in the uncompromising world of Scottish indie music of the 1980s. The Vaselines, BMX Bandits, The Pastels, The Soup Dragons, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream and Teenage Fanclub all appear. Bursting with new interviews, rare archive, untold stories along with some of the most amazingly difficult, scratchy, noisy, genius pop music ever given to the world.
Michael Jackson‘s Thriller is perhaps the greatest music video of all time. It was the first music video of its kind, created as a nearly 14-minute short film that happened to have a chart-topping song playing throughout. The music video was such a publicized spectacle that it premiered at the AVCO Theatre in Los Angeles in 1983 and went on to sell out every night for three weeks straight. Thriller is also the only music video to be inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, which is a pretty big deal.
Now fans will get to experience Thriller as they never have before when it screens in 3D at the Venice Film Festival. After being announced back in 2014, the 3D conversion of the music video directed by John Landis is finally ready for audiences to see it. Find out more about Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D below.
A press release has announced that Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D was completed by Optimum Productions with assistance by John Landis, using the original 35mm film negative available in the King of Pop’s archives. It sounds like the process has taken longer than anticipated since the 3D conversion of the music video was intended to be released in theaters and on Blu-ray in 2015.
In addition to the 3D conversion, the sound from the video has been given a makeover as well. All of the audio, including Michael Jackson’s signature tune, Elmer Bernstein‘s score, and even the sound effects, have been converrted to 5.7, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos standards for the highest quality audio visual experience of Thriller since it debuted in theaters all those years ago.
Here’s what John Landis had to say about the big news:
“I am so happy to have had the chance not only to restore but enhance Michael Jackson’s Thriller! We took full advantage of the remarkable advances in technology to add new dimensions to both the visual and the audio bringing it to a whole new level. Even though Thriller was shot traditionally, I was able to use the 3-D creatively. Let me just warn you, there is a rather shocking surprise in there!”
Since Thriller wasn’t reedited or recut for this 3D conversion, I’m curious as to what this shocking surprise is that John Landis is talking about. Those in attendance will also be treated to a screening The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, a 45-minute documentary and was only available on VHS from 1983-1990 and never available on any format since then. Fun fact: MTV and Showtime paid $ 250,000 each for the rights to the documentary, which is how the music video, the most expensive ever made to date, was funded.
Sadly, most of us will be waiting awhile to see Thriller in 3D since it’s only premiering at the Venice Film Festival for now. However, since the previous plan was to release Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D in theaters and on Blu-ray, I’m willing to bet that we might get to see the music video come back to theaters, complete with the making of documentary, sometime down the road. After all, Halloween isn’t too far away, and with two months between the Venice Film Festival and the spooky holiday, that should be enough time to get some kind of theatrical distribution plan together for the music video.
Stay tuned to find out when you can see Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D yourself. In the meantime, here’s the original video:
Movie scores have always been something I am interested in. Music touches our souls and our hearts, and Stanley Kubrick is a great example of this. It has been rumored that he made his film crew listen to Mozart before starting each day. Undoubtedly, music is such a vital element in film, it almost plays as much of a role as Jack in The Shining. It is everywhere within our lives. It is an important character in so many films. Even when silent films were popular, there was usually a piano or other instrumental track that was performed.
So much time, effort and meaning go into creating movie scores and soundtracks. It adds another layer to films that images and dialogue cannot. Starting with 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick started something new within his films.
He strayed away from the normal action packed soundtrack, which he had utilized in his films like Dr. Strangelove. Kubrick used the peaceful notes of classical music and it changed the tone of films. This music didn’t emphasize the action but helped deepen the plot and it became necessary in order to tell Kubrick’s stories. It almost separated itself from the film and resonated within the viewer to force them to think differently and adds dimension to the plot and the characters.
The songs he utilized in his films were not original and were not produced solely for his films– they were prerecorded tracks. This alone was a change from hundreds of previous films because directors hired outside artists or bands to record a soundtrack for them for their movie. I couldn’t help but think of Awesome Mix Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 from Guardians of the Galaxy when thinking of the scores of Kubrick’s soundtracks.
With an original soundtrack, the audience would hear a handful of new songs. This added to the mystery of many movies and appeal as people would be excited to hear their favorite bands perform new songs, or just hear new music in general.
Tony Palmer, a British film director of films such as 200 Motels and Bird on a Wire, said of Kubrick, “Before Stanley Kubrick, music tended to be used in film as either decorative or as heightening emotions. After Stanley Kubrick, because of his use of classical music in particular, it became absolutely an essential part of the narrative, intellectual drive of the film.” Music was no longer just there with pretty vocals and fluffy lyrics, but it provided significance to the story. Kubrick changed the way music was used and what it meant.
All of us can agree that Stanley Kubrick’s films were revolutionary both in plot and in production, and how and why he scored his films makes us appreciate this master even more. He made music meaningful in films and now we can’t even imagine a film without it, even dialogue-less films.
Now, doesn’t it make complete sense why “Polymorphia” by Krzysztof Penderecki was the perfect song choice for when it is revealed to Wendy how insane Jack actually is in The Shining? Check out this article about other great uses of music in Kubrick’s films throughout his career.
“Music is the one thing that we all understand, that we don’t understand.” Gravitas Ventures has revealed a trailer for a documentary about the work of composers, titled Score: A Film Music Documentary. This played at film festivals all last year and is opening in theaters this June, which is great news because I’ve been waiting to see this. The doc profiles the work of composers and also examines how important music is to movies. Featuring interviews with composers including Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Trent Reznor, Rachel Portman, Junkie XL (aka Tom Holkenborg), Brian Tyler, Thomas Newman, Bear McCreary, Moby, Garry Marshall, Jerry Goldsmith, and lots more. Hoping this goes deep into the art beyond just some chats. ›››