More than a week has passed since I was at the Hollywood Music Workshop for Game Audio which was held by Cris Velasco. Apart from how awesome it was to meet him in person – and believe me, he’s the kind of guy everybody wants to be friends with – it’s been a real eye-opener in many regards. I will need some time to process it all, but here’s a summary of what I learned:
- I always thought that video game music is – like film music – something you can only do if you’re located near a studio and well acquainted with somebody. We were told otherwise. You can get your foot in the door even from far away. Internet makes it possible. That’s good news!
- I discovered the benefits of a Universal Audio interface and its plug-ins. I think Cris mentioned he uses an Apollo and a fellow student in the course even brought his own with him. In fact it took my less than 3 days after the workshop to get me such a device and replace my old RME Babyface which wouldn’t work properly anyway.
- I – once again – realized that my music needs additional polishing. I’ve come quite far with my level of knowledge about mixing and mastering, but now it’s time to take the next step. Hours of watching YouTube videos (channel recommendation: In The Mix, Musician On A Mission) really helped me understand a few things, and those nice UA plugins made me dive into it even more.
- I had terrible fear of the workshop because I knew I wouldn’t be able to work with my usual setup which means only reduced set of samples and a notebook instead of my powerhorse desktop station. But – no need to fear at all! The Dell Inspiron gaming notebook that I brought along proved quite capable of handling Cubase, Vienna Ensemble, Vienna Instruments and Halion6.
- Without going too far into detail, I – among many other things – learned that game music consists of layers of music. I didn’t know that. During the workshop Cris asked us to come up with 3 tracks – main theme, ambient and combat music – for a random game (I got Uncharted – yeah!). Below you find the tracks that I managed to pull out of my hat right there and then. (Tracks 2 and 3 are meant to be loops).
- I also learned about music implementation. This was actually not part of the workshop, but a colleague of mine had audio implementation software on his notebook and explained it to me when we had drinks after the workshop. It’s basically a giant audio file manager with the ability to play audio, control transitions, fade in, fade out, crossfade, layer etc. Very interesting! The problem is I can’t recall the name of the software. Too much info for one day I guess. 🙂
I’m going to share some more insights – but not too much, since Cris wants people to attend the workshop, and I hope those Hollywood Music Workshops continue to happen in 2019.
Main Theme “Uncharted”: