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13

Working with Video in


GarageBand
Skills Acquisition
Working with video in GarageBand is in some ways pretty similar to creating a pod-
cast, in terms of skills that you may require and features that you may use. Review the
steps mentioned at the beginning of Chapter 11, as well as the tutorial video (on the
companion DVD) that accompanies Chapter 11.
Bear in mind that GarageBand also has an excellent Help menu where you can search
for what you need to know. Just click on Help > GarageBand Help
What Do I Need to Think about Differently
for Working with Video?
Think about any movie you have seen or any TV documentary you might have
watched. Think about the major components that make it worth watching.
n An engaging movie or video
n Dialogue in the movie
n Backing music to support the action
n Sound effects
Film and documentary composers are usually handed a completed video to work on
music and sound effects are added late in the creative process. You cannot usually edit
the video (if you are working professionally).
The absolute and overriding question to ask yourself is whether the music fits the pic-
ture. Think about only adding or creating something that supports the picture and
helps to underpin the emotional and dramatic content. Watch good examples of TV
programs and movies for which you like the soundtrack and think about why you like
them. Ask yourself a couple of questions: What kind of music and sound effects are
suitable? What is the mood you wish to convey?
Another good rule to think about is that less is moredo not fill your soundtrack
unnecessarily. Space is sometimes good, as is silenceif it is appropriate. There are
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no absolute rules, and in fact it is very common for a composer to work up several
different soundtracks to the same movie section, each one differing greatly.
Your choice of actual sounds to use is critical. Sometimes just a solo instrument can
conjure up a mood better than loads of layered effects and complex patterns.
Remember that you have a lot of choice, especially with virtual instruments and loops,
as well as the ability to add or create sound effects.
Specific GarageBand Skills for Working with Video
First, find a movie to which you need to add a soundtrack. (See this chapters lessons
for some suggestions.) Its best to save or store movies you want to use in the Movies
folder that you will find on your Mac, under your user name (see Figure 13.1).
You can start by choosing a podcast as your type of project (although you can actually
start with any kind of project type in GarageBand). Then, with the Podcast track
selected in your new project, go to the right-hand screen, where the Media Browser
should be displayed. Click on Movies and drag a movie onto your podcast timeline.
You will then see the message shown in Figure 13.2.
If you then drag the movie onto the timeline, you may get the message shown in
Figure 13.3.
At this point, the movie will appear, and you can start adding a soundtrack.
If you do not choose a podcast as your type of project, you will need to start a new
project and then go to Track > Show Movie Track (the shortcut is Command+Option
+B) and insert the movie as described a moment ago.
Figure 13.1 The Movies folder on your Mac.
Figure 13.2 Error message when adding a movie to a Podcast track.
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Maki ng Musi c wi th GarageBand and Mi xcraft
From this point on, you can record audio and add voiceover tracks and MIDI tracks,
all very much as described in the earlier chapters.
Extra Advice for Creating a Movie Soundtrack
n Keep your Audio tracks separate from each other if you are using different sounds
that you will record (voice, guitar, and/or other acoustic instruments recorded with
a microphone).
n Be prepared to work with virtual instruments and add MIDI data. This gives you a
wide choice for your sound palette. Think of yourself as a painter at this stage
what tone colors are good for your film or documentary score?
n Work very carefully with the timeline in GarageBand. Display your project in
minutes and seconds and at all times work to match up exactly what is going on in
the video with what is going on in your soundtrack. Be prepared to move your
regions around very carefully on the timeline, so that they match and synchronize
with the video.
n Work sparingly with drum loopsonly use them if they are definitely a good fit for
your video. Your film score may not conform to a specific tempo and speed, so
think a little less about the metronome and the beat of your song. Think a bit more
along the lines of the orchestral composer who doesnt work with beats at all
youre creating a mood primarily, and drum loops sometimes make this tough to
achieve. Its an excellent assignment to not work with rhythmic-based loops at all.
n There are many sound effects loops/clips that you can use in a GarageBand film
score. Find them by opening the Loop Browser and then clicking on the Podcast
icon at the top of the Loop screen (as discussed in Chapter 11).
n Think about panning the tracks left or right of center to get a true stereo image to
your film score. This is a prelude to working with surround sound on more
advanced music software programs.
n Always cut down your soundtrack to the exact same length as your Video track.
GarageBand wont allow you to edit your video, so the music needs to fit the exact
length of video. Dont leave the video playing without any soundtrack.
Figure 13.3 Error message about audio in your movie.
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n Use markers in your film score to help you chart out clearly what might be
happening during the movie. (Remember that you can click anywhere on the
timeline and type P to add a marker.) Markers can assist you if you need to find an
exact moment in the movie where an event with which you would like audio to
synchronize happens.
Using Fades/Ducking in Film Scores
This process is the same as for a podcast track. (See Chapter 11 for details on how to
use ducking.) Ducking is good for voice or dialogue tracks, so that they stand out from
your musical soundtrack. Also be prepared to use the automation on each Audio or
MIDI track to allow tracks to change their volume levels and to allow cross-fading
from one Audio track into another.
Using a Master Track
You can always display the Master Track for your project. Simply go to Track > Show
Master Track. (The shortcut is Command+B.)
Note that this track looks different. There is no solo, mute, or arming available on this
trackin fact, its purely an automation track. No audio, video, or MIDI ever appears
on it.
All the Master Track does is act like a main final fader on your songs volume level, so
this is how you can engineer for everything in your song to fade in and fade out. Do this
by clicking on the horizontal line to create marker points that you can then drag up and
down, as shown in Figure 13.4.
Note that these markers will control the volume of all MIDI and audio in your song.
They will not affect the actual video.
Also note that you can add effects to the Master Track; but once again, be very careful,
as any effects that you add now will equally affect all the different audio and MIDI
regions in your song. To add effects to your Master Track, click on the track to select it
and then open the Track Info window (Track > Show Track Info or use the shortcut
Command+I) and add effects using the screen that appears.
Saving and Exporting Your Project
When youre satisfied that everything looks and sounds good, go to the Share menu to
see what options you now have (see Figure 13.5).
Figure 13.4 Automation points on a Master Track.
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Choose Export Movie to Disk if you want to store the file separately and send it to
people outside of iWeb and iTunes. You can also use iMovie to further edit the movie.
GarageBand will render the movie with your soundtrack embedded as a stereo Audio
track.
Figure 13.5 Options for sharing your movie and soundtrack.
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