Do you like to listen to music while working post-production? I very often do depending on the task at hand. Certain parts of post-production lend themselves well to music: color grading, logging and marking b-roll, stringing out a paper edit just to name a few. I was doing some of that recently and asked the Twitterverse for some good background music suggestions in the way of movie soundtracks. They ideas were great to so I thought I’d pass them along.
There are some aspects of post-production that don’t lend themselves very well to music playing in the background. Editing a music video is one task where I don’t listen to music even though after hearing the same song a hundred times I’m often ready to hear something anything else. I find it very distracting to listen to music with lyrics when editing interviews or anything with talking. Once I have assembled a complex timeline with interviews or voice over, natural sound breaks and background sound as well as music beds I will then turn music in the room off. At that point it often becomes a distraction.
But so much of the editorial process and building a good cut is all about think and feel and I find good background music helps me with this process. As a rock n roll guy I have guitar-driven tunes playing the room more often than not when listening to music (I’ve recently been jamming to Stereophonics and wonder what took me so long to give them a proper listen) but this year I decided to try more instrumental stuff in the background. A good source of background music can be found in movie soundtracks. While I have several gotos for movie soundtracks Millers Crossing is my favorite.
I wanted to build up a good list of others at the suggestion of my fellow editors so I asked Twitter:
looking for some good instrumental soundtracks as background music while working. Will be using Spotify. Any suggestions?
— Scott Simmons (@editblog) January 28, 2014
I got a good list of tweets in return. The wonderful world of Spotify makes listening to an album in its entirety as easy as a search and a click. In a world of Pandora and iTunes Radio I still love the coherence of the album. Call me old fashioned but it’s my favorite way to listen to music. Spotify has always had a free, ad supported option when listening on the desktop but they recently expanded that on mobile and tablet devices. On an iPad you can get an entire album while an iPhone will only let you shuffle.
When I asked for some soundtrack suggestions I got a some great choices to add to my favorites list as well as a few others. Those tweets are all below so I hope you might get some new music suggestions from this list just as I did.
A few new suggestions since this article published:
@editblog Hans Zimmer, Dark Knight-trilogy.
— Ville (@vipina147) January 28, 2014
— Jim Flores (@jimflores) January 28, 2014
@editblog there a James Newton Howard channel?
— L. Stephens (@BadBoyOfEditing) January 28, 2014
@editblog oscar peterson or ryuichi sakamoto
— melissa h roth (@melissahroth) January 28, 2014
@editblog The American Doillar, Keats Handwriting list, Sunlounger, Pretty Lights, God is an Astronaut
— Tom Chartrand (@tomchartrand) January 28, 2014
— Harold Green (@mediaguy777) January 28, 2014
@editblog Boards of Canada. Your edit will come out feeling like an 80s action drama.
— Tim Forster (@timfo) January 28, 2014
@editblog Besides the obvious composers (Zimmer, Desplat, Isham) I really enjoy “Hammock”. Not very rhythmic, but still very engaging.
— Josiah Burdick (@sojiah) January 28, 2014
@editblog try the inception or man of steel soundtracks I think they’re great
— Robbie Carman (@robbiecarman) January 28, 2014
— Scott Malkie (@scottmalkie) January 28, 2014
@editblog how about Olafur Arnalds (contemporary classical composer) very chilled.
— drc_online (@drc_online) January 28, 2014
@editblog Leo kottke has a few instrumental albums on spotify, or anything by Chet Atkins. Stereolab works for me sometimes too
— Matt Larson (@larsonian) January 28, 2014
— Hillary Knox (@hillary_knox) January 28, 2014
What are some of my non-soundtrack music-to-edit-to playlists?
This great instrumental album from a Nashville artist is tops thus far in 2014:
I tend to put on playlists by artist and some of my go-to background music while editing is The Hold Steady, Ryan Adams, Over the Rhine, The Decemberists and Band of Horses. For some reason I rarely turn to these artists during normal, everyday listening and reserve their playlists for in the edit suite. I like them all so I don’t know why. But by far my favorite thing to throw on while cutting away is Pink Floyd. While the concept album The Wall is my main goto from start to finish the entire Shine On box set went on to my first generation iPod many years ago. It’s still the clear winner.