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Composer speculation

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Postby lizardgirl » Fri Oct 19, 2007 12:22 pm

This is all very, very interesting miafka! Thanks so much for describing all of this to us. :D
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Postby miafka » Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:10 am

Hi, sorry it's been a few days.. the smoke and ash from the wildfires here in Southern California has been terrible (hundreds of homes burned). It's gotten better but the air is still foul and there was an orange moon tonight (from all the ash and soot in the air).
>> What cue on Ratatouille did you not use the click track for?
Sorry, I can't remember exactly, but it was one of the emotional ones near the end of the picture. I remember we tried it a few times with click, and the conductor lobbied to try it without click.

By the way, besides the clicks that are heard by the musicians and conductor, there are also "streamers" on the screen to help the conductor out (not really the musicians, as we don't see the screen unless we make a point to look at it). "Streamers" are colored "bars" that go across the screen horizontally right before an important change, like the start or end of the part that will be recorded, an important tempo (speed) change, etc. It's programmed in (superimposed over the film as it's projected) to help the conductor know where he is and/or warn him of important things coming up.

>>What other Pixar productions have you had the pleasure of working on?
Oh, that's easy. Let's see... the one about the dancing penguins.. the one about the surfing penguins, the one about the escapees from the zoo... no! Stop! Wait! Don't throw those desks at me! :)
Er... have to say "no comment." If I said which ones I played on, it wouldn't be too hard for anyone to compare the CD pamphlets and figure out who I am. No big deal, but sorry (and of course I was kidding about the penguin films above. No need to flame me).

>>But I actually read the orchestra list on the CD to see who plays what, and I watch the making ofs for the music on their DVDs, so your contribution doesn't go unnoticed by me, anyway.
Thanks. A shame the Ratatouille DVD is being treated so poorly by Disney (ie, a bare-bones release) unless it's part of a master plan to release a 2-disc version a few years from now to milk more money out of it. By the time Wall-E comes out on DVD (over a full year from now) , the dust might have settled in the HiDef wars (if yet another media format hasn't surfaced by then).

Oh, and as with most films these days, Wall-E's music is being recorded "to disk" instead of "to tape" (Ratatouille was actually done to analog tape instead of disk because of the composer's fondness for old analog sound).
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Postby bawpcwpn » Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:43 am

miafka wrote:
Oh, and as with most films these days, Wall-E's music is being recorded "to disk" instead of "to tape" (Ratatouille was actually done to analog tape instead of disk because of the composer's fondness for old analog sound).


Really? That's a tad disappointing. Give me a vinyl any day. It sounds a lot warmer.
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Postby Sky » Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:28 am

As usual, thanks for putting up with my questions, miafka. :D


miafka wrote:By the way, besides the clicks that are heard by the musicians and conductor, there are also "streamers" on the screen to help the conductor out (not really the musicians, as we don't see the screen unless we make a point to look at it). "Streamers" are colored "bars" that go across the screen horizontally right before an important change, like the start or end of the part that will be recorded, an important tempo (speed) change, etc. It's programmed in (superimposed over the film as it's projected) to help the conductor know where he is and/or warn him of important things coming up.


Neat-o. What an interesting fact, there!


miafka wrote: >>What other Pixar productions have you had the pleasure of working on?

...the one about the escapees from the zoo


You mean, Disney's The Wild? ;) Heheh. For mentioning that we will throw desks at you.


miafka wrote:Er... have to say "no comment." If I said which ones I played on, it wouldn't be too hard for anyone to compare the CD pamphlets and figure out who I am. No big deal, but sorry.


Right. No worries. ;) I just wanted to know if you worked on one of my favourite soundtracks of all time, The Incredibles. I have probably listened that over 30 times (and counting), and have watched the making of the soundtrack, numerous times.

But you've worked on Ratatouille, which is just totally awesome for words. ;) That soundtrack would have to be my fav, or on par with The Incredibles. It's so delicious.


miafka wrote: >>But I actually read the orchestra list on the CD to see who plays what, and I watch the making ofs for the music on their DVDs, so your contribution doesn't go unnoticed by me, anyway.
Thanks. A shame the Ratatouille DVD is being treated so poorly by Disney (ie, a bare-bones release) unless it's part of a master plan to release a 2-disc version a few years from now to milk more money out of it. By the time Wall-E comes out on DVD (over a full year from now) , the dust might have settled in the HiDef wars (if yet another media format hasn't surfaced by then).


You're welcome.

Yeah, us Pixar fans are pretty riled up about it the whole Ratatouille 1-disc debacle. It's all for the sake of money, really. That's all it boils down to (sorry for the pun). I think it rubs more salt into the wound because of the fact that we thought that Pixar were better than that... I really hope we eventually get a 2-disc when this format war is over, with everything on it, but this has made me at least, lose a little bit of respect for Pixar (but not too much).


miafka wrote:Oh, and as with most films these days, Wall-E's music is being recorded "to disk" instead of "to tape" (Ratatouille was actually done to analog tape instead of disk because of the composer's fondness for old analog sound).


Maybe they wanted to go for a digital sounding quality, because the main character is a robot...? That's just a wild guess.
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Postby miafka » Fri Mar 21, 2008 12:36 am

Hi everyone. We just finished another group of Wall-E scoring sessions these past three days, and I'm getting more and more impressed the more I see of this movie. As I said before, I will NOT divulge any spoilers (it's bad form and not my place), but will give you an idea of what the sessions were like.

As usual, they took place at Sony Pictures Studios. On Tuesday we started out by going back to a couple of cues we did back in October that needed to be re-done due to changes (the scenes had been lengthened), then went onto the new stuff. Back in October the cues only had titles on the page, but no numbers yet (such as 3M1 or 4M2 for example) because at the time they didn't know the final order of everything. Now though, all the cues had numbers as well as titles.

Up on the screen the scenes were still in various stages of completion. Some parts looked fully rendered, while others were still only half finished. As you can see in the previews, the humans are quite large -- and what's really funny is to see the human characters before they've been fully rendered. In this stage of being unfinished, they're all white (no clothes, and even the skin is white) -- and look like huge Stay Puffed Marshmallow Men. The only other comment I'll say is that all you A-113 fans out there will definitely smile. :)

As with the previous sessions last year, it's a nice large orchestra (especially winds and strings). The music is really good, and matches the film nicely. Many of the cues had prelays (in this case, existing electronic music and effects) that will be combined with the orchestra in the final mix. On Wednesday some cameramen came in to take pictures and do a bit of filming... so who knows, maybe when the DVD gets released there will be some shots of us.

Everyone at Pixar was incredibly friendly. On Tuesday the director came out to say they'd be treating us to lunch the next day -- and then catered a great meal of salmon and beef outside the stage, joining us for lunch. And even though the sessions aren't over yet (there's still more in the future), everyone got a Wall-E poster signed by the director (with a tiny Wall-E sketch next to the signature).

I have to say that I'm just blown away at how the Pixar artists can make inanimate objects like robots so incredibly expressive. It's a testament to their artistic ability... and that extends to the writing as well. Today there was a scene where everyone in the room just completely cracked up laughing upon seeing it on the screen during playback. The movie's not finished yet, but I can hardly wait to see it in its completed form. Only three more months!
Last edited by miafka on Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Glyph » Fri Mar 21, 2008 12:45 am

Cool, thanks for posting about it.

I always assumed movies where usually mostly finished by this point in production, and the last few months where there just in case, to make sure they have enough time to mass produce it before it hits theaters. I guess I get a false impression from the trailers, which look fully rendered to me.
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Postby Sky » Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:54 pm

Thanks for the update, miafka. I'm happy to know that the recording has run smoothly. Pixar seems like a dream to play for...

Also, you might be interested to know that there is music added to the official website. At least we think it is.. ;) Personally, I love the whistling, the hovering and electronic noises in the background (they may have been added in post, not sure if you have heard them), and the general quirkiness of the music that represents WALL•E the robot. I just know this score is going to be great.
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Postby TheIncredible » Sun Mar 23, 2008 9:31 pm

Wow, miafka, I didn't even realize this thread before and it's great to have a musician speak about the score with us!

I'm just very curious. I currently go to school in a neighborhood somewhere by the ocean in LA and was wondering where they score the Wall-E score. I know there are many Sony Pictures Studios around here, but is the sound studio the one in Culver City?

Thank you and I can't wait to hear the riveting score in Wall-E.
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Postby miafka » Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:30 pm

If you go back a bit in this thread (I think page 6) I posted quite a bit on the earlier sessions for Wall-E and what scoring sessions are like in general (it's safe to read; no spoilers). Yeah, I'm sure a lot of people skip this thread now because it's an older one ("Composer Speculation"), but glad you found it 8) Yes, the scoring has been taking place at the main Sony lot in Culver City (which used to be the old MGM lot years ago) -- go back to my posts on page 6 to read a little about the stage.

Rachelcakes, I honestly can't remember if the music on the website is from the earlier sessions or something made just for the website. I don't recognize it, and am inclined to think it's music made specifically for the website (as is usually the case) but can't be 100% sure. At any rate, I don't think you'll be disappointed with the score.

Glyph, more often than not, movies (in general -- not just Pixar) are still being finished very close to their release date, and often the order of scenes chosen to be finished first are selected with the trailer in mind.
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Postby miafka » Thu May 01, 2008 7:38 am

Hi everyone. Well, the music for Wall-E is now finished! (At least as far as orchestral music). We had our last two recording sessions yesterday and today (April 29/30) -- and for a change they took place not at Sony, but at the Newman Scoring Stage on the Fox lot (named for Alfred Newman -- Thomas Newman's father, who was head of music at Fox and a prolific composer). The stage is quite large and has a wonderful history to it.

There's not really a lot to write about (as I won't post spoilers), but just wanted to let everyone know the music has finished recording. We basically spent the past two days recording the last reel of the movie, and it looks and sounds great. I just can't believe it's over though (it's been going on little-by-little since July). For the last day today we all got special Wall-E orchestra caps, and when it was all over Andrew Stanton came out to thank us.

I have to say, Pixar has managed to outdo themselves yet again with Wall-E. I can't wait until this comes out in theatres.

And well... I guess this pretty much takes this thread full circle, from "Composer Speculation" to "Finished" :)
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Postby Elikrotupos » Thu May 01, 2008 8:56 am

Some questions:

Have you recorded the Peter Gabriel's song too?
Can you realize "how much" have you recorded? (running time, or number of sheets... i don't know how to measure it :P)

btw, thank you for your "journal", it has given us a new perspective on pixar movies :D
Try to join the Up orchestra too, whoever the composer will be :P
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Postby miafka » Sat May 03, 2008 7:50 am

How much we recorded in total? Hm.. I'm not too sure. It's hard to remember because the recording sessions were all "spaced out" (sorry, couldn't resist that pun!) With most movies, the score is usually recorded on consecutive days, or on days very close to each other. Wall-E was different though, in that it was a little-at-a-time process (the first orchestral session was last July, and as I wrote in the previous post, the final two days weren't until this week). So it's kind of hard to remember and give an estimation. As far as the Peter Gabriel song, sorry, don't know anything about it. However, according to Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Wall-e-Original-S ... B0017LFKMY
it seems it will be included on the Soundtrack CD, and that its title is "Down To Earth."
So as someone totally objective, and completely, wholeheartedly unbiased (*cough*) I'd like to suggest that everyone here on Pixar Planet go buy the soundtrack. Hey, you'll get to see our names. What more could you want? 8)

>>btw, thank you for your "journal", it has given us a new perspective on pixar movies

Thanks, I appriciate that. I remember many years ago reading the posts of someone whom I believe was a technical advisor on the Star Trek Next Generation show, and found those posts absolutely fascinating, even though I didn't watch the show. As a studio musician, you don't typically get to pick the projects you work on, but I can tell you that working on a Pixar film is very, very special. You get to see firsthand the care and enormous enthusiasm everyone involved has, and it shows onscreen, as we all know.
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Postby Sky » Sun May 04, 2008 5:16 am

I would like to also thank miafka for the time spent updating us on the progress of the score of WALL•E. As a rabid Pixar fan, to have any inside information regarding a movie that hasn't even been released yet, is a thrill and very interesting to me, personally. I hope you get an offer to work on Up, as well as other future Pixar projects, as well. Good luck. ;-D

I just have a question, do you know why they edit out the orchestra players' coughs and chair-scraping and other noises for the movie, but not the soundtrack?
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Postby bawpcwpn » Sun May 04, 2008 5:59 am

I'd also like to thank miafka for posting these little snippets for us. They are very interesting.

I just one question: Are you allowed to take camera's into these recordings? Or do you need special permission? I've often seen on Soundtrack.net visits to recording sessions with photos.
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Postby lizardgirl » Sun May 04, 2008 7:04 pm

Yeah, ditto the previous two posts- it really is fascinating to know what happens behind-the-scenes, and we rarely have the oppurtunity to find this sort of stuff out in such detail, so thank you miafka!
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