Following the popularity of the first instalment of ‘Made with Concept 2’ we bring to you Sci-Fi Tension. These short video series demonstrate just how easy it is to create rich sounds quickly and easily using Concept 2. Here Matthew Collings takes us through the process of designing a short musical piece for a sci-fi scene. He’ll use some of the great features of Concept 2, including the Granular Oscillator and Convolution Reverb to create motion and tension.

Watch part 1 to listen to the music, then jump over to part 2 to find out how it was created.

Missed the first one? Find it here.

Part 1 – The music

Part 2 – How to

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Video transcript

Thanks for coming back for part 2. I’m going to walk through how I put together the musical backing for this short sci fi scene now using Concept 2.

So I’m using a couple of instances here. The first thing I did, having looked at the scene was I felt it needed a little forward motion or momentum, also something that can maintain the tension of the scene.

I found this little plot preset, it had nice analogue feel to it that I really liked and I’m using the arpeggiator in Live here just to, quickly give something a little motion, give it some movement, a little bit of movement on the arpeggiator, but not too much just to maintain that sort of pulse keeping through the scene that seemed to work really well and really quickly.

After doing that, it felt like we really needed something atmospheric to underpin this sort of dark feel the that the scene really had. So I reached into the ambience presets and Concept 2 here and explored a couple of things. The environment ones were all too naturalistic, wasn’t what I was looking for room tone as well it was all too static. Sci fi section is where it started to get quite interesting.

I use this preset called The Thig, which as you can see, has a wind howling, file loaded into the granular oscillator. So this is really nice because it’s got something that’s moving around.

There’s a lot of variation in the way the grains are generated. It’s quite eerie, it’s it’s got a lot of movement to it, I added an LFO quickly with drag and drop to the cut off, it started to get really interesting, though when I added convolution reverb, and I added in this sound, which is a lettuce recording, quite unusual.

But you can hear that this really adds another dimension and makes it a lot more three dimensional. There’s a lot more atmosphere going on. That’s a really nice evolving sound. So I don’t have to worry too much about automating this, just kind of doing it itself. I added in a really nice, evolving, eerie background to the scene that I really liked. And again, that came together nice and quickly. So after that, you can see that we’ve got a lot of, little movement, little flickering elements that kind of, you know, vaguely match up with the animation.

I wasn’t trying to synchronise anything to too much because I don’t think that was really needed. You totally get the vibe really, quickly. So how do we put this together? I actually made this preset from scratch and it did come very quickly. And I call it the text scroll. So basically, it felt like something that you would see in a film, one sort of text appears on it. So it’s saying like, oh, you know, this submarine is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

I was then going to sort of mangle that and evolve that to get those flickering animations. I’m using the Granular Oscillator here with a very small grain size and quite slow rate. So it’s just making these little grains as you can see and just pulsing them out and then moving through the file using the LFO. So it’s not too static. I added in a second oscillator there with a very, very fast gain as well here. And then adding a little ring, a little flanger.

And again, it started to really get interesting when I added the convolution reverb in, and so I used the electric razor here to give that sort of slightly sharp sound a little bit more wispy tail coming out from the electric razor impulse, which was really, really nice, and then performing it to the scene. I went a bit nuts on the notes because I didn’t want to have a static note. So I kind of freestyled around the keyboard to get this really, evolving feel.

Let’s see what it sounds like on its own. So again it’s not too synchronised, but it just picks up the kind of vibe of what’s going on here. So if we look at all those elements together, this is the scene that we have.

So I thought that was a nice treatment for this scene, it came together really quickly using Concept 2 and the nice thing about that was I was combining presets and elements of the functionality and also designing something bespoke myself, but just doing it really quickly and getting something I think some pretty useable pretty quickly. So, yeah, thanks a lot for watching.