Those who write and produce for picture have an experience quite unlike others in music production.
Whether you’re soundtracking sci-fi blockbusters, historical epics, subtle character dramas, or even the immersive music of an interactive video game world, your relationship with the emotion of the visuals is a crucial consideration that your compositions need to work in synergy with.
There’s also been a move away from that type of big, John Williams-esque score, as increasing numbers of soundtracks harness sound-effect-like textures to create more delicate movement and impacts. Some of these free goodies will certainly help you out in that regard.
With a name that evokes the futuristic cityscape of Blade Runner, Tyrell N6 originated as a magazine’s collaborative idea to build a new hardware synth, the project was abandoned and this software version was released for free instead. Sonically, it’s pretty staggering, with a superb interface. It’d be totally fit to sit at the heart of your soundtrack mix.
As a film composer, you’ll often be called upon to inject a gradual build of rhythmic tension, minimal pulses or massive climactic impacts into your score. MiniSpillage is a solid free route to programming the perfect percussion track. With three fully editable drum pads, the drums can be synthetically treated in a range of tonally different ways.
It’s a certainty that you’ll need a couple of synths at your disposal, at the very least. Tunefish 4 has a great reputation for generating mammoth tones via its spline-based oscillator. It features a huge range of stackable effects, two LFOs and ADSRs as well as a sick noise generator. This is a fully-featured virtual analogue synth, freely available.
Quickly establishing themselves as one of the plugin world’s de facto shining lights, Valhalla DSP’s wares have been truly extraordinary. Freq Echo marked the beginning of their story. Though it’s labelled a delay, Freq Echo is a much more versatile creative effect than you might think, working as an equally effective chorus or vibrato. It’s just incredibly inspiring to work with.
We promised we’d include some noteworthy free services as well as freeware, and for soundtrack creators (or sound designers) a repository of royalty-free sound effects, uploaded by a fertile community of noise-makers is worth knowing about. Brush up on the site’s FAQ before downloading, but once you’re au fait with how it all works, there are multitudes of audio nuggets here to play with.