First thing, I didn’t know the original song before listening to your cover.
I think you nailed the original ambiance, the song and fit it with your flute interpretation.
I really like the mix and all orchestra instruments sound great with your purpose.
And when some are just able to mix extracts or songs, sometimes, you write, record, mix, play flute in front of a camera, call dancers to make a video clip…
Congrats for being able to finish all this stuff and not let ideas in your head!
But I have a question for some of you because I didn’t understand how to get that sound (or to emulate it): if you compare the lonely piano at the beginning, the cover’s one sound centered with some reverb on top where the original piano has some 3D-ish sense of depth (and being on the right side) with some “special soundtrack spice” in/around it. Any idea??
Thank you . I try to get ideas out quickly. I cant stew on them long or I get uneasy and stressed. Even if the ideas are not fully formed. Sitting in front of a camera is simply me trying to get over the stage fright. It sweats me to death but I plant my feet and do it.
This one took time. I started working on it when Hans Zimmer first released the song. Hans writes beautifully and simplistically. It is easier to replicate some of his work than say John Williams who writes comprehensively and is known for lydian twists and chromatic harmonies that are tough to replicate.
I copied Hans by ear, looping sections at a time over a period of days and weeks at a time taking breaks. I listen for sonic qualities and notes simultaneously. I have taken the Hans masterclass in the past and was fortunate enough to be picked for a personal feedback by him. Getting feedback from him directly has given me a lot more confidence in my orchestral writing. I understand his work more deeply and his reasons for his decisions. His mind works in simple ways and he highlights how important simple things in an orchestra are.
I played the piano part in my version on a keyboard recorded directly with line in. I didnt want to match the piano tone of the original completely ( part of getting things out ) and the piano in original is an ambient grand likely mic’ed from a distance using a combination of directional mics. A slightly detuned reverb with subtle elements of a reverberating 'drone note` is also added creating that haunting soundtrack spice. To replicate the depth of an actual piano, you would need to actually mic a piano, or in some cases mic a keyboard from a further distance ( i have seen it done ) . There are haas plugins or proximity plugins that can emulate the effect as well but at times it can create artifacts. I simply took the easy way for the piano
Great work here @FluteCafe , combining dance with music is a wonderful art form that you have used very well on this piece. I look forward to the vocal version, I suppose you could take a different approach to the mix at that point as well.
I need lessons in ‘planting my feet and doing it’, one of my weak areas!
I received the vocals from George and they are wonderful. I am working on mixing them in, they are fitting right in but not quite there yet. I have been busy last few days with work. I should have a version to listen to very soon
@ingolee@ManAbyss here is a sneak peak of the vocals , just an idea. I am still experimenting with the vocals, mostly automation at the moment. Its getting the delux treatment!
Wow, thanks for this details, it sounds like you spend lot of time and efforts to get that result… While I felt totally empty when I only reached 1% of this amount of work
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience about the piano sound.
I think sometimes an “odd” sound could be a “character” sound that let a print to the song. How much artifacts and side-effects is another topic but haas effect or phase-shifting tools probably help to get this.
Again, thanks for sharing this production and its background!
Very nice! It should be an interesting challenge to get that super-compressed, whispery Billie-style vocal to sit in the mix. The common thing I hear in Billie Eilish’s productions that really makes that style of vocals work is a combination of 2 things:
The musical accompaniment is always very, very muted in the top end. It’s almost like they low pass the music buss at 5k or something.
The vocals have tones and tonnes of “air” frequencies pushed (and compressed to control them).
So the airy part of the vocals fill up all that space at the top of the mix, and it all sounds super-intimate and yet clear as a bell.
that is spot on accurate. What I am working on is instead of lowpassing the whole backtrack, I have dry signal of the individual instruments in the vocal range muted out, but the wet signal still has hints of the open-ness. Vocals will be compressed to a pancake and pushed pretty strong, I have the tails of the ending syllables chopped up to cut down sibilance and esses bouncing all over the place. The trickiest part is tacking the sibilance in a Billie like mix. A simple deesser isnt enough, it has to be drilled all the way down to the waveform level.
So I have a rough vocal preview. It is far from done but I am working on a few things. Primarily soundtrack levels and de-essing before I push both the levels up. Its sounding good as is already. The vocals were very nicely projected in the higher register. Gentle yet powerful.
With that said I decided to ‘branch off’ from Billie Eilish’s production vision a bit and decided to go in my own classic and glammy kind of soundscapish vibe as opposed to the dry ASMR of the original track. Though I have retained some elements of the original vision. I figure if I am going up against Billie’s track I am going to need home field advantage and not play on her turf . Anyway here is a rough idea!
This sounds awesome. When you do the final mix, I hear fantastic opportunities to really automate the ambient fx on the vocals. They can be super close and intimate one minute, then the next they can be soaring, wide and epic, and then back again, and everything in between.
I reckon if you take full advantage of that aspect of the mix, it will absolutely add another entire dimension to the impact of the soundscape. Nice work!
I most certainly can, I am the queen of loudness
but… I am not sure if pushing it super uptop will work for this one. Anyway, here is a slightly more polished version, I have the vocal sitting tightly amidst the orchestral width, clear and focused but ambient. I have the vocal ambience automated to come and go as needed in different parts as Andrew suggested. Tighter in some parts and thicker in some. Harmonies add an extra touch.
A few more finer touches needed:
more delay and verb automation, going larger towards the end.
vocal level balancing
video production (possibly)
There are a few spots where the vocalist"s consonants are smacking a bit hard. Listen at 1:20 to 1:23 where she sings “Was I stupid to love you”. The heavy compression is really accentuating these sounds. I’d try to soften those somewhat. I don’t know what to suggest in order to accomplish that…Maybe reducing those spikes on the WAV file ?? Multiband compression in that specific frequency…I don’t know. It’s beyond me.
Likely the best approach. I will probably crop and crossfade and spot correct it. Thanks!
Thanks! and Thanks for the heads up about the vocal dip. The vocal treatments seem to be working well. At first I thought this project was too big to take on. Hans, Finneas and Billie together… yikes. A lot of time in projects like this, the end product tends to be underwhelming or way off from the vision, but this is looking to be on the right track. A great learning experience . My goal is to get right under the hood of a production like BE and understand what goes on, even if at a cursory level. Everyones input is helping shape it through and its very cool!
For the Vocal processing, a lot of multing is done to get the vocals larger. I wanted the vocals to come wider and juicier but still upfront. A lot of de-essing manual and automatic to keep the ambiance under control. Even though I love the cutting mono-tonishly thicker tone of BE, I had a defining moment when I mixed the vocals instinctively and I liked it. I was staring at a crossroad. I stopped right there and had a chat with Andrew @ColdRoomStudio to make sure my instinct wasnt guiding me wrong. He pointed me to continue in this direction , otherwise I would have likely second guessed myself out of it.
I noticed that the small clash at 0:32 has disappeared and new strings articulation tricks that I had not heard in the first version have either appeared or been uncovered, either way they sound really great.
The vocals are beautiful. I like the really airy treatment, although in a few spots I felt it was almost too much. I thought I heard some audible vocal tuning in a couple spots but on second listen it didn’t bother me.
I think the final chord could be delayed a bit for a more dramatic effect. I mean it as in a longer pause before (not actual delay effect on the chord).