1 page explanation of The Score: Music in video games

The Score: Music in Video Games

This documentary explains from the beginning to the end what role video game music has and still plays in a video game experience. It opens up with a brief comment on what role game music plays and then continues on to talk about how game music was composed and what it sounded like when games first came out. Then it goes on to talk about what game music is like today and how it’s evolved. Afterwards, the film will show some examples of what music video games is socially. The finale of the movie is a wrap up of everything that was talked about.
Spencer Nilsen explains what game music was like when games first came out. He describes how the technology was and how that limited their ability to compose grandiose scores for a game. He says, although that was limiting, it required them to be more creative with sounds and it happened that they created unique sounds and songs for each character. Instead of it being one long loud score constantly playing in the back, it was more specific to the character.
Wilbert roget goes on to say how much game music has changed. How it’s now all about full scores and orchestras. How it’s loud and exciting and it has evolved to some impressive scoring. He states that it’s not as quirky as it used to be but composers are now doing some interesting things with game music, and using a variety of sources to create their sound tracks. He also adds on how much a single song affected the fans of a game, and how everyone wants to imitate or remix the song.
Jason, from The Made, goes to explain what kind of role game music plays socially. He describes chiptunes and youtube fan based videos and song remixes. The movie will show clips of each topic he describes, giving examples of fan based projects. It shows how much game music has impacted society and fans. It even shows how sometimes the songs are more interesting and memorable than the game itself.

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The Score: Music In Video Games Treatment

The Score: Music In Video Games Treatment

The scene opens to a black screen and all you hear is different clips of music from key videogames starting from the very first games to the most recent. Shortly after a voice over comes in and says “Did any of these songs remind you of anything? They should have reminded you of certain video games you have played, which means the people who made these songs did their job right.” The voice goes on to explain how music is a key component in video games and creating a great experience in the game.

Then the video will then begin to go through the history of music in videogames beginning with early games such as tetris and end with more recent games like Halo 4. The video will go into detail about when each game was created and how its music was influential and innovative for the time.

After the history portion of the video will go into the cultural aspect and how a culture surrounding videogame music has been growing more and more over the past years. Remixes of video game songs, orchestras dedicated to playing symphonic versions of videogame music live, and how the music has inspired people in different ways. This will include interviews with major sound engineers who explained how and why they got into making sound for video games.

The video will then begin to describe the Industry side of videogame music, companies dedicated to making sound for video games, programs used to make sound for video games, how the music changed with new developments in technology and what roles music has in certain video games. Then we will go into the process of composing music for videogames and the sound design aspect of it which will also feature interviews with sound engineers who have worked on major games throughout the years.

The documentary will close with summarizing what videogames are today and all the new and exciting things to look forward to in the realm of video game music.

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Movie CheckList

LMW II Production Checklist



Name: Rainer Schmidig________________________Phone: 925-963-1672_________
Email: Rainerisawesome@gmail.com________________________________________

Name: Miguel Poblete____________________________Phone: 510-261-6178_______
Email: MPoblete@yahoo.com_______________________________________________

Name: Dana Starrh________________________Phone: 661-805-2221_______________
Email: Danasaur8060@gmail.com________________________________________________

Spend 20 minutes assessing each group member’s knowledge of your topic. Go through the blog and write down any questions you have, possible leads for film topics and any other ideas to research. Make sure everyone has a basic understanding of the topic. Consider dividing up the group and taking on different aspects of the topic to delve deeper.

Note each group member’s knowledge level, and what they know/are focusing on:

Group Member                     Knows                                             About Topic

Dana Starrh               a lot

Miguel Poblete           a lot

Rainer Schmidig        a lot

Potential leads and sources for media gathering  (fill in this section as you brainstorm as a group):

Interviews, Screen recordings of video games, places where video games are played, Museums.

interviews: Don Veca, Jim Diaz, Wilbert Roget, Spencer Nilesen, fans of video games, audio engineers in the industry.

locations: Homes, Businesses, Outside, Conventions, Museums.

events: All the time.

•WHAT ELSE COULD YOU USE: archives: The Internet, School Resources.
What are the some interesting aspects of this topic? Go further than you went last term.

It has a large history. It is something that is often overlooked yet, plays a large role in video games.

•What questions about the topic do group members have?

Wondering what the main point of the documentary will end up being.

•What needs to be researched?  Who/how will this be researched?

Different types of sound in video games, technological advancements affecting audio in games, research people who make sound for games.

What skills do group members have?

Group Member Video Camera Still Camera Audio Field Recording lighting Video
Sound Editing Motion Graphics Music Producer
Rainer Schmidig x x x x x x
Miguel Poblete x x x x x x x
Dana Starrh x x x x x x

What would team members like to do?

Group Member Video Camera Still Camera Audio Field Recording lighting Video
Sound Editing Motion Graphics Music Producer
Rainer Schmidig x x x x x x
Miguel Poblete x x x x x x x
Dana Starrh x x x x x x

Nominate a producer: this person manages the project planning and schedule.
Everyone must pick a primary role and secondary role.

Producer: Dana Starrh
(project planning and master schedule)

Sound: Miguel Poblete
(field recording, leveling, mixing)

Music/Score: Rainer Schmidig
(composition, production, camera operator)

Editor: Dana Starrh
(assembly, roughcut, final cut)

Motion Graphics: Rainer Schmidig
(title sequences, information graphics)

Animation: Miguel Poblete

Other: Vandad Odabaei

Team Name: Sound World Productions

Logo design notes: World as a music note, has headphones, also has a cord coming out of it.

Logo design complete   ☐ YES

Messages (themes) to explore for your topic: The change of sound in games, and the effect it has on us as gamers and in our culture. How the change in technology has effected the industry.

What tone best suits your topic? (authoritative, mocking, happy, calm, angry?)
Upbeat, Happy, euphoric, elated.

What does the finished project look like?
A comical, relaxed, uplifting documentary.
What does it sound like?
Pretty and Euphoric, uplifting, joyful, and dope.
Who is the audience? Who would want to watch your film?
Gamers, fans of music, ideally everyone.
Which techniques support your topic, themes, and tone best? (How will you make your film interesting and informative?)

X voice-over(narration)       ☐ host         X archival footage    X reenactments
X interviews                         X experts     X animations             X montage
☐ other(s)_____________________________________________________________


Who has something to say about your topic? List as many as you can – not every subject works out! You need to schedule TODAY – shooting takes place in the next two weeks.

Subject Name interview about realistic / fantasy? contact / lead information
phone, email, address
availability / dates confirmed?
Jim Diaz Sound Design Realistic jcdiazjr@gmail.com open schedule yes
Spencer Nilsen Music Composition Realistic spencer@illuminavisual.com open schedule yes
Wilbert Roget Music Composition Realistic 415.963.1518 open schedule yes
The Made Music in community Realistic Themade.org open schedule yes

Preliminary Interview Questions
What do you want to know about? How will you get people to talk about the things you want them to talk about? Remember, people don’t always think about things in a very clear way and rarely talk in “film ready” sound bytes. Write provocative questions!

• What is the importance of Music in Video games
• What is the most difficult part of composing
• How does music affect game play
• What is game music going to be like in the future
• How has game music progressed over the years
• Has technology affected the way you compose music
• What is the most rewarding part of composing game music

x Post Interview Questions to blog

An equipment reservation for an LMW camera kit must be made with the Equipment Room (ER) by Session 2. An LMW camera kit includes: ()

Equipment Needed for Production:

x video camera(s)_____     x still camera(s)_____         x tripod(s)_____
☐ lighting kit                          x audio recorder(s)_____   ☐  interview mic(s)_____
☐  shotgun mic                     x lavalier mic kit                   ☐  boom

The Equipment Room info sheet lists available equipment.

Commit to a production schedule by the end of Session #2. Rough Cut is due Session #7.
Look at when your projects are due and make sure you are giving yourself enough time to work.

x Create a Google calendar for your group. (easier with a Google account)


x duedates________________________________________________________
x shoot dates___________________________________________________________
x recording sessions_____________________________________________________
x editing sessions_______________________________________________________
x group class schedules__________________________________________________
x other________________________________________________________________



x  Confirm equipment reservations.
x  Confirm travel arrangements.

Identify good locations for your shoot(s).

Location Purpose: (interview, scenery, event) Distance from Campus Sound Conditions Lighting Conditions Access Times
Illumina Visuals Interview 10 min excellent excellent weekends 3-6
Wilbert’s Apartment Interview 20 min okay okay weekends 3-6
Jim Diaz’s house Interview 30 min okay dark weekends 3-6
The Made Museum B-roll and interview 10 min noisey okay weekends 3-6

Contingency Plan.
What could affect your shoot? Weather? Noise? Lighting? What will you do if an interview cancels, event cancels, etc.? EXPECT THE WORST.

Lighting could affect the shoot but sound should be fine because they are all in secluded rooms. Except the museum.

How do you plan to get to your locations?

Dana’s Car
Rainer’s Car

Research your topic deeply before you start. The more you know about your topic, the more you have to discuss with interview subjects. Take notes.

Reading (Books, Magazine, Website)

☐ Post Reading notes to blog

Viewing (Movies, Videos, News)

☐ Post Viewing notes to blog

Listening (Radio, Podcasts, Conversations)

☐ Post Listening notes to blog

INTERVIEW: Topic(s) Place(s) Person(s)

Your interview is a conversation with your subject. Your role is to listen and share with your audience.

x Review preliminary questions.
x Update questions/talking points based on research findings
x Practice asking questions in group before interviewing subjects.

Topics for discussion:

Evolution of game music
Game music today
Game music in the community
Game music in the future

Each day of production needs its own checklist.

Equipment Checkout:
Do you have everything you reserved?

x  camera (s)           x  tripod                   ☐ batteries   x cables
x  mic(s)                  ☐ white card            ☐ lights         ☐ other__________

x Batteries charged for the shoot?
☐ Lighting kit lamps working?


x Storage Media
☐ consent forms
x pens/pencils
x batteries (disposable
x snacks/meals
x beverages/water bottles

Equipment Setup:

Camera: Audio: Lighting
x LMW settings on
x White Balance
x Iris
x Gain
x shutter
x zebra
x neutral density filter
x timecode
x focus/zoom
x mics connected
x mics turned on (if needed)
x mic settings checked
x camera inputs set
x gain levels set
x channels set
x headphone volume set
x mic proximity tested
☐ backlight check
☐ lights focused
☐ shadow check

Location Setup:
x equipment placement
x electrical outlets
x lighting sources
x background setup – (move clutter, decide what works in camera frame)
x crew positions

Location Teardown:
x equipment packed
☐ forms signed
x clean up any trash or mess
x return moved items to where they belong
x check space before leaving for items not packed

Equipment Check-in:
Don’t forget to get your footage off the P2 Cards before you return them to the ER. You can return the camera and check out a card reader to do the transfer later.


Logging Material: Log and Capture/Log and Transfer

x Set the Final Cut Scratch Disk to project directory (defaults to Media Drive)
x Save the Final Cut working file
x capture media to project directory scratch (capture batch preferred)
x make notes
x organize clips into bins
x save work

Motion Graphics

Group Discussion: Using Motion Graphics in the Project

How can motion graphics work with your project?

We are going to add some animated characters to bring titles in

What style of graphics fit your topic best?


x Collect Images
x Collect Facts and Information
x Produce motion graphics in After Effects
x Export for use in Final Cut

c  Design your lower 3rds. Make sure your design is consistent with your overall theme. Be mindful of what titles you use for your subjects- these words affect how your audience will respond to them.

Rough Cut is due in Session #7

x  Compare assembly edits as a group
x  Make a new sequence to combine best elements of assemblies
x  Add b-roll, photos, graphics and other visual material to sequence
x  J and L edit techniques applied
x  audio levels matched between clips and edits

Rough Cut Test:
x  Watch project without sound
x  Listen to project without image

Do these tell the same story? (If not, re-edit  to make clear)


Rough Cut Finish

x  Export as DV/NTSC quicktime (progressive)
x  Test the export – play it back
x  Check the file settings. Make sure they match what is required on syllabus.
x  Place a copy in the class dropbox directory for the project.
x  Make a compressed version for online use
x  Upload to YouTube or Vimeo
x  Link to  Rough Cut on the project blog


x Ask for specific feedback about your work (editing, story, tone)
x Take notes of feedback from peers
x Do your peers understand your story?
x Discuss as group
x Decide what feedback requires attention – things that should change in your project.
x Make adjustments to post-production schedule
x Schedule editing suites for continued rough and fine edit work needed ASAP
x Ask for feedback after the workshop. Talk to classmates, friends and instructors


x Create music that works thematically with project
x Make short, ambient soundscapes that move your project along
x Share progress on blog


x Refine project editing
x Add b-roll
x Add lower thirds
x Add other graphics and sequences
x review entire project for completeness


Picture lock is the end of visual editing on the project. The project is visually “locked” and no more changes will be made to the edit sequence from here.

x Review edit

Do you need to make changes? Make them now.
x All changes done.

Group members must agree that the project is at Picture Lock


Audio Post-Production and Conform
Audio editing is done after Picture Lock. Once your final edit is done visually, the sound is handled next. This is to minimize the amount of time spent conforming the two parts of the project into one final file.

x remove any duplicate or unused audio from project
x export audio from Final Cut into Soundtrack Pro
x Separate dialog onto separate tracks
x Make a track for ambience and background sounds
x Adjust the pan position of dialog tracks – usually center or close to center
x Adjust levels of regions to match each other per track
x Adjust levels of tracks to match each other
x route the dialog tracks to an axillary bus for processing
x Apply EQ to remove low and high end from dialog tracks
x Apply limiter or compressor to dialog aux if needed
x Adjust background sounds and ambience
x Add music or score to the project
x Adjust the level of the music
x Listen to the complete project and readjust any levels if needed
x Return the project to Final Cut Pro


x Create a master sequence for final processing.
x Insert the final edit sequence into the master sequence.

Color Correction

x Adjust individual sequences or clips by applying color correction directly as needed.
x Adjust overall look of video by nesting the fine edit sequence into a containing sequence.

x  Add beginning and ending titles to the master sequence

Export Master sequence
x Export finished master sequence from Final Cut.
x Test the finished file
x Verify the file settings are correct
x Upload finished work to the class dropbox for the project.

Create online versions

x Use Adobe Media Encoder or Compressor to create delivery versions of project from master sequence file.
x Upload compressed version to Vimeo or YouTube
x Embed video on project blog.


x  Does the project succeed in communicating its message? Yes
x  What kind of feedback has it received? Good feedback, just minor technical issues and a couple edit comments


Places to show work
☐ Online_____________________________________________________________________
☐  Festivals__________________________________________________________________
☐  Distributors_________________________________________________________________

Wrap Party!

Don’t forget to save your receipts and turn them into Jerry Smith (forms available from your instructor) for a $50 reimbursement.

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Our interviews

Spencer Nilsen and Wilbert Roget talked to us about many different aspects of video game music and sound. All the way from how it used to be, up until how it is today. They explained technological advancements to us and also went into detail about the importance of music in video games. Spencer  worked for sony on many games and Wilbert  works for Lucas Arts. More to come about these interviews so stay tuned!

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Interview Questions

  • How would you describe the evolution of sound in games
  • In what ways do you feel the change in technology changed the advancements in video games (both console and computer)
  • How do you find inspiration to design certain sounds and music for games
  • What ways have you noticed the change of sound in games, via your job
  • What technological advancement do you feel helped out game sound design the most
  • What are some of your favorite games you’ve worked on, and why?
  • What is the main objective when working on sound and music
  • What is the process of making music and sound
  • What is the most difficult part of composing and designing
  • Realizing that video game music is looked down on, does that affect the way you design and compose
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Upcoming interviews

I will be interviewing a music composer at LucasArts, Wilbert Roget.

Emily Ridgway is also a sound designer at Zynga I will be getting a Skype interview with.

There are also a couple people from Double Fine I’m hoping to interview.

Spencer Nilsen, who worked with Sega, is also another interview I hope to get.

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Computer History Museum


A museum of computer history that may be relevant to the change of video game technology

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Digital arts museum…


A small museum that recently started up in Oakland. I would like to check it out and maybe interview some of the people who run it and attend it…

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Logo Designs

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Myst & Riven

The music for each game in the Myst series has fallen to various composers. Originally, the Millers believed that any music or sound besides ambient noise would distract the player from the game and ruin the sense of reality; Myst, therefore, was to have no music at all. A sound test eventually persuaded the developers that music heightened the sense of immersion rather than lessening it. Using a plug-in synthesizer and his Macintosh Quadra, Robyn Miller composed 40 minutes of some of the most easily-recognized music in video gaming history. He would also produce the music for Riven. For this game, Robyn created three leitmotifs – one each for Gehn, Catherine, and Atrus. The music of Riven has a rich, mysterious, and tribal sound that incorporates bits and pieces of Gehn’s motif, to reflect the influence he held over Riven. To make this unique sound, Robyn blended synthesizer and real instruments, including some very interesting percussion features. Rather than compose the pieces before seeing the ages and areas of the game, Robyn allowed the game areas to dictate the sound of the music. All in all, there are 54 minutes of music in Riven.

For Myst III: Exile and Myst IV: Revelation, composer Jack Wall created the music, developing a more active musical style different from Miller’s ambient themes. Wall looked at the increasing complexity of games as an opportunity to give players a soundtrack with as much force as a movie score, and tried to create a distinctive sound that was still recognizable as Myst music. In Revelation, Wall adapted the themes for the recurring characters of Myst, and collaborated with Peter Gabriel, who provided a song to the game as well as voicework.

The audio for the game was another difficult task. The worlds of Myst were obviously not real places, but each age had to sound real or else the player wouldn’t be drawn into the game. The Miller brothers, along with Chris Brandekamp, a friend of theirs, began their search for sounds, and found them in some very unlikely places. Because some real-life things didn’t sound real, the team had to find different options – for example, the sound of fire in a boiler was created by driving over the gravel in the Miller brothers’ driveway. The sound of a large clock chime was made by striking a wrench and transposing the resulting ring to a lower pitch. Even the sound of bubbling water wasn’t left out – it was made by sticking a large tube into a toilet and blowing into it!

SOURCE: http://mystolgia.angelfire.com/home.htm

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