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How To Create Epic Transitions In Trailer Music

Last updated September 2019
The Confidential Music team has scored some of the world’s biggest movie trailers. We’re talking “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Suicide Squad, Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Interstellar,” “Disney’s The BFG,” “Jurrassic World,” “The LEGO Batman Movie,” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” to name a few. They even did the “Stranger Things 3” trailer recently. It’s no secret that Confidential creates moments of energy and tension using STITCH in Arcade.

Arcade is a revolutionary sample playground that allows you to perform and transform loops in real time. It delivers exclusive and carefully curated content every day, creating an extensive built-in library for you to choose from. STITCH, one of Arcade’s product lines, offers a game-changing collection of epic rises, fluid fades, and suspenseful swells.

In this video, producer & mixer Kyle Biane reimagines the flow of the track ‘Fringe Authority’ by manipulating his own live drums and guitar, creating a synth lead to build more momentum, and working with rises & effects using the Mega Waves 8 Beat kit in STITCH.

“A trailer is always proposing a question musically,” Biane explains sitting at the board, preparing to freshen up the 2014 track from the Confidential music library. “It’s really important, especially with dealing with the rhythmic tracks of a trailer, to keep that emotion… that energy flowing through it”.

Building anticipation and creating a sense of urgency are among the distinguishing characteristics of epic trailer music.

Using Arcade elements to update the track and give it a facelift

Before you start creating trailer music transitions, Biane suggests looking for any “pockets” in the sample where acceleration can be added or where things can be pushed towards the rises, downbeats, or drones. This is very big in trailers, he points out.

“My process is very simple: I start going through and listen to everything, just to kind of get a grasp of what’s going on.”

He auditions all of the sounds in the Beat Kit, searching carefully for ideas he can work with.

“I listen to everything.”

When he finds a sound, he tweaks it, tuning it down for “a little aggression.” He then adds a flutter macro to intensify the effect. Now he has created a foundation or fundamental sound that he can replicate in other parts of the trailer.

Modify Tracks Using STITCH

Once identified, you can modify these pockets – or any other loops – by using your MIDI keyboard or the macro sliders, effects, and modulation in STITCH. To further ensure unique, seamless transitions, Biane suggests playing back your sounds to hear the changes you’ve made and applying modulations and effects where needed.

He adds: “What’s really useful about Stitch in Arcade is that you can take one thing and reinterpret it as you go down the path of the trailer, all while keeping the energy and allowing that same idea to reinvent itself.”

When it comes to programming the STITCH macros and all the Arcade controls, Biane says that it “puts a little bit more emphasis on the performance on your effects. This way, we’re actually creating what we feel, playing against the drums, adding a bit of human feeling.”

Manipulating and organizing your own sounds

Biane creates two tracks that feed into one instance of Arcade. “The top one is just the drum groove, and the bottom one is where I input all my modulation and all my effects,” he explains, noting his organization. “That allows me to easily turn off and on all my effects that I’m applying to the track.”

In order to give a single drum pattern a uniqueness he uses a glitch tool in the repeat modifier, or a stutter effect, which gives the sound a new life.

Electrifying a ‘Boring Guitar’

“I had this guitar that was just this boring guitar, it wasn’t doing too much,” he said. “So I took that guitar and I resampled it in STITCH.”

Using the repeater modifier he built a pattern with it, which added more movement, and suddenly the boring guitar part was anything but.

Adding that human touch

This pro mixer really likes the big macros and the “very clean sounding” delay which has “good bounce” to it.

“One thing that’s really fun about being able to program these macros — and all the controls for that matter — is that it puts a little bit more of a performance-base into applying your effects versus just applying an effect and tweaking it over and over again. This way we’re actually writing in what we feel, playing against the drums, and I think it leads to a little bit more of a human feel,” he said.

Creating a Synth Lead

In order to get a high-energy vibe with a synthesizer sound, Baine has a go-to modifier in Arcade.

“My favorite of the modifiers that I found is this resequencer,” he said, which lets him “make things as crazy as you want with it. The way that it goes in and chops up the sample, lends itself to some really fun and cool sounds.”

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