Recording a Film Score with The Faded

By Gene Blalock (The Faded)

L.A. rockers The Faded have been avid Line 6 users for years. In this article, front man Gene Blalock describes how Line 6 gear helped him and the band score a documentary about a subject close to their hearts.

In June 2009, I was asked if I would be willing to score the feature-length documentary film Skin Trade about the horrors of fur production. Though I’d done many music videos for my own band and others, and even helped write some music for an independent film a few years back, this would be a much larger project. As vocal advocate for animal welfare, this seemed like an ideal opportunity to put my efforts toward their best use.

ASSEMBLING THE TEAM

I called the other members of my band, The Faded, to let them know what I was thinking. As they are all unbelievably good at composition, I knew that I would need their help to create a really compelling soundtrack that would draw in viewers and help carry the message. Once I had them on-board, we got to work. On a scene-by-scene basis, we watched rough edits of the film and started to compose the score.

RECORDING

We used our Pro Tools® HD system to build prototype tracks. Using Propellerhead Reason®, we had a virtually unlimited palette of sounds and tones to weave into our musical scores. As we refined each music cue (for a total of 37 separate compositions!), we made extensive use of Line 6 gear. Our POD® X3 Pro multi-effect went direct into Pro Tools via S/PDIF, and we played Variax® Acoustic 700 and Variax® 500 modeling guitars, and a Variax® bass. The end result is ultra-clear sounds tracked without the need for mic’ing cabinets or spending hours tweaking our configuration.

By using the dual amp modeling in the Vetta® II HD amplifier and POD X3 Pro, we were able to track multiple guitar tones simultaneously and later perform A/B comparisons to choose which sounds we liked best.

As for synths, although we ended up using many Kurzweil® K-2000 sounds, we also used it to trigger Reason. Even drums and vocals were processed using Pod Farm™ and GearBox™ plug-ins. By keeping as many elements within the digital domain as possible, we were able to rapidly develop tracks and refine them as needed, while maintaining high-definition production standards.

MIXING

When it came time to mix the cues into the movie, this setup provided a great deal of flexibility. When we found that a guitar tone was overpowering during some section of the dialogue, we were usually able to switch tones using the plug-ins to provide the most appropriate tone during that time. Similarly, Reason allowed us to switch samples and synths on the fly. Ultimately, this flexibility enabled us to complete the scoring quickly while maintaining high-quality standards throughout.

Check out The Faded at their website, and on Line6.com as part of our Emerging Artist series. Want to learn more about recording with Propellerhead Reason? Make sure to read Line6Piper’s popular Propellerhead posts in the Line 6 blog.

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