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Jun. 16th, 2006

Yesterday I was looking at production software.


Cinescore from Sony Media Software.

(FYI, Sony Media Software bought out Sonic Foundry, so these are the guys that have Acid, Vegas, Sound Forge, and a number of other tools that I like.)

At first I was writing this off as a toy, a way of generating canned music quick-and-dirty style. Since I already have Acid, I wasn't overly interested. Still, it was worth a look.

As I got deeper into it, I started realizing that it was more than I thought it was at first glance.

The concept behind it is that you have a selection of a theme from a set of themes. A theme in this case originally looks like a song or a composition, and in one sense, it is. A theme is assembled by a composer, and is essentially created as song blocks that are assembled into an entire song. In that way it's like a streamlined version of Acid.

But it gets deeper. Each theme has several different orchestrations within it, so you suddenly have a lot more variety within a particular sonic space, while still having a cohesiveness. That's something that made me take notice, because that's a very nice feature that would cause me hours of work otherwise.

But that's not all. Each "block" has another parameter, called intensity. And intensity isn't just loudness or hardness, it's actually something that is subjectively set by the composer, and may be anything from a change in orchestration to a different style of playing to a different melody still fitting within the theme.

Suddenly this becomes something that can create seriously complex pieces of music that have flow and cohesive themes in relatively short order.

The downside is that you have to rely on "themes" that are made by composers, which means that as you want to expand, you end up buying "theme packs". It's a little like Acid in that way, where you purchase loop libraries, except that with Acid and Sound Forge, you can really make your own loop libraries. With Cinescore, there is no tool available to compose themes on your own (yet), so you are locked into the selections that are available, and that's still a bit skimpy.

Still, it's a new offering, and I'm betting there will be more theme packs available before too long.

I don't think it's necessarily suited to movie production as much as it is geared toward corporate or documentary style one-offs, or even commercials. And it beats the hell out of a static music library.

It's worth looking at.

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