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How I Scored the Trailer for Dark Pads and Sound Design Vol. 1

What is it?


Dark Pads and Sound Design Vol. 1 is exactly what it sounds like. It's a collection of eerie and beautiful sounds that filmmakers can use to enhance the emotion and feel of their films. These sounds were created from ripping paper, scraping broken cymbals, pitch-shifting wind, and messing up and distorting all kinds of things. I hope they inspire you to create something awesome!

How I Scored the Trailer

I started by finding all the cuts and figuring which ones I wanted to stand out. I marked everything that I wanted to hit.


Then I pulled in all my favorites from the Booms and Hits folder. I lined up Thunder Dome - a deep reverberated boom - with the first cut. Then I played around with different sounds at each of the cuts until I felt like my sounds were matching the picture. I had a lot of fun with this step.

I brought in the Heart Beat from the Rhythms folder and used that as the main pulse. At the end, I blended all three to make a full beat.


One of the biggest impacts you can make is to add rises and swells. These are what make videos feel larger than life. I started placing some of the rises from the Swell and Reverse folder. I made sure that the biggest part of the swell went right up to the cut and maybe even overlapped.


In my opinion, EVERYTHING sounds cooler with a low drone! So, I imported the Low Distorted Drone in and out where it felt right. I cranked the volume on it to make it the foundation.

Then came all the rest of the pads. I used fades to bring sounds in and out. You can get creative with these since they all work together. I also played around with doing hard cuts and switching pads for every cut, which also sounded pretty awesome! But I opted for the former for this project. Better Angels and String Texture brought everything home for me. String Texture has a real cinematic quality to it that brings the drama.


That’s it! I hope you have as much fun playing around with these sounds as I do.

This is the trailer:


Tips:


Most of these sounds are pretty loud so you can use each one on its own. But if you use the sounds together make sure you keep your levels down. If you see red in your audio channel, turn it down!

When lining up the booms and rhythms, move the wav file until the start of the transient (beginning of the squiggly line) lines up with the cut.


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STEPHEN KEECH

Stephen Keech is an American producer and film composer based in Nashville, TN. He has been professionally writing and performing music since 2006 when he began his career singing for the band Haste the Day. After years of touring internationally, Stephen settled down in Nashville where he expanded on his passion by producing records and composing original music for film and TV. Stephen has worked with clients such as Mazda, Express, Tractor Supply, Eureka, and Spotify, as well as creating original scores for award winning documentaries such as Revolution Picture's Remand and The Bears on Pine Ridge. Stephen strives to create meaningful and interesting compositions that complement the visual and narrative context of each piece, while invoking an appropriate emotional response.