January 24, 2017

Using Alternate Mixes

Doing It Movie Editor Style

At CSS Music we’ve always believed in providing alternate mixes. In fact, our PowerTrax library was built around this premise. And you’ve probably noticed some new Project Platinum albums with alternate mixes and even some cue loops. The question is, how to most effectively use these in conjunction with the full mix cut? And what exactly are these alternate mixes?

Starting with the latter, an alternate mix is generally the track sans melody. This allows the alternate track to provide “space” for (usually) dialog. These mixes can also be simple stems—i.e. drums and bass, high synth sequencer, rhythmic pad, etc. Or with some of the CSS Music vocal tracks, we’ll supply a full mix without the vocal. Cue loops are very sparse repetitious sections of a track that typically run :15 to :40 that you can paste together as needed.

How to best use these alternate mixes? Let’s create a typical scene—we’ll call it “Catching The Wiley Walleyed.” Here’s how you’d use a track/companion alternate mix. (We’ll assume these are all hard edits.)

INT. truck; on way to lake; dialog                            Alternate mix
EXT: boat launches in water                                     Full mix; action section
EXT: talent in boat; ambient SFX                            No music or light rhythm
CU: casting from boat; montage of casts                 Full mix; quieter section
MS: talent talks; decide on different locale             Alternate mix under
EXT: LS of boat moving                                          Full mix; action
CU: casting from boat & dialog                               Alternate mix
CU: fish strikes!                                                        Full mix; timed to track ending

The beauty in this type of editing is your show sounds like it has been custom scored. Plus all dialog will be heard without having to duck the track very much. CSS Music recommends you audition our PowerTrax library and Project Platinum volumes 14-19. We think you’ll be cutting like a film editor in no time!

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