This week in post production we looked at bringing together the different team’s assets into a single file, so we can start to look at mixing our replacement sound for ‘The Terminator”.
I volunteered to do the score as it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
I found an interview with Brad Fiedel, who composed the original score. In this, he mentioned that a lot of the hardware synths he used were pre-MIDI, so there was a lot of CV fun and syncing by hand.
I opted for a simple sound-alike replacement because the original soundtrack is so iconic and relies heavily on fairly analogue synths and sounds, which I enjoy playing with immensely. Because of this, I chose to record the parts live rather than sequencing, but recorded the MIDI at the same time as a fail-safe.
That is a Prophet 10 synth used in the iconic ‘Terminator’ soundtrack.
I was contemplating using Reason 7 for a lot of the sounds, but remembered the nightmare I had the last time I tried to use Reason and ProTools together using REWIRE. They technically do work, but there is an incompatibility issue when trying to use Reason 7 -64bit with Pro Tools x86, which requires installation of the x86 version of Reason, which wouldn’t be an issue if I have more than 2gb left on my 128gb SSD main system drive.
Instead, I opted to record both audio and MIDI directly into Pro Tools using my Novation X-Station synth/controller.
The score was relatively simple:
- a low synth drone when the Terminator appears on screen;
- dark, brooding taiko drums (the famous ‘dundund dun du dun’);
- another short synth pulse when a car crashes through the police station
- faster and more intense taiko after the crash while The Terminator gets locked and loaded
- synth horn pulse in unison with the taiko
The drone and the synth pulse were recorded with custom patches from the X-Station. I think I started with a basic 303 kind of sound and played around till I got it sounding right. I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was doing and it seems to have produced a decent result. The X-Station is great for modern synth sounds but doesn’t really have much by the way of percussive sounds.
Novation X-Station. I like it because all the buttons and knobs do stuff.
For the taiko, I ended up creating an instrument track and loading up a VST called Nexus by reFX; which is a Rompler soft synth with some amazing sounds.
I managed to find a patch called “Terminator 90bpm” which was a drum loop, but somehow amazingly had the exact kind of drum sound I was looking for. 😉
Because this was a loop and you can’t edit the ROM sample, I had to pay attention to the performance and get the velocity and length of the taiko hits just right while paying attention to the rhythm.
The patch was fairly velocity responsive and quite dynamic, so I couldn’t press too hard. Also the loop start triggering the 90bpm pattern if it was too legato, so that was a lot of fun to perform and took a couple of takes no not get double hits/start rushing/get too loud etc.
The synth horn was also a Nexus patch with some basic filter and amp modifier tweaking.
The music was imported into the master Pro Tools session without incident, which was also great!
Gratuitous stock SAE action shot
At the end of the session, we normalized the imported audio and had a look at loudness metering. We set dialogue to around -20dB and foley/atmos/sfx to -30dB