A Discussion of Hard Edits Versus Cross-Fades
As a music editor or music supervisor, you probably use different techniques when making changes to your music. At CSS Music, we watch a variety of television programs while making notes on musical styles, where the music is placed and how the music is edited. We know you’re probably familiar with the techniques we’ll discuss, but a review—plus our observations—may still be helpful.
When going from one piece of music to the next, especially when wall-to-wall music is used in a show, you can either back time from the end of piece of music—butt cutting your tracks so there’s always a conclusion—or start a track from a good point and fade out as the next track begins. We notice in particular competition reality shows, like Food Network’s “Chopped,” that hard editing is often used, with each of the exciting endings building in intensity. This proves to be a very effective way to heighten the tension. Even the incidental music used during the cooking portion of the show usually features a concluding final chord.
Watching a more leisurely reality program, one notices more use of the cross-fade technique. Is this because there’s not the urgency? Or does the fact that scenes run longer make this a preferred method? Or perhaps the repetition of today’s composition styling make this a natural solution? Either way, the end result is a smooth flow from scene to scene. One note: if a scene closes and is then followed by dialog, cutting to the ending seems to be the norm.
As mentioned above, CSS Music does pay attention to current trends and we’re constantly adding new tracks designed to serve the reality television market. Simplicity, good grooves, minimal theme development and button endings are high on our list of requirements for providing you guys/gals new material. Sure, we still have a surfeit of great tracks with a melodic evolution and exciting arrangements. But when you’re on deadline and want to make your editing go quickly and smoothly, CSS Music has you covered!