The making of a movie soundtrack can be done in different ways. However, there are basics that most filmmakers follow. Things may also work a bit differently with musicals because the music is often written as the story is written. Here are some basic ideas on how soundtracks get made.
Movie Soundtracks versus Movie Scores
Before getting into how soundtracks are made, it is important to understand the difference between a soundtrack and a score. A movie soundtrack often consists of songs to which the movie bought the rights. Sometimes an artist may redo the song in a slower or unplugged way to fit better with the theme or tone of the film.
A movie score is a much more significant undertaking. Think of movies like The Lord of the Rings and the Star Wars franchise. The music is written for the film. Like Hans Zimmer or Howard Shore, a composer watches scenes from the movie and puts down ideas. The director then gives input, and then the composer and an orchestra perform the music.
The music is recorded and added to the film once production is done.
The Basic Process of Making a Soundtrack
The basic process for most movies involves the use of songs that are already written. Once the movie production stages are complete, the background sounds and soundtrack can be added. The music director then chooses songs that will enhance or accompany specific moments in the movies. The music usually ups the level or the effect that the movie moment has.
The chosen songs are then added to the completed film. Some examples include movies like the Step Up franchise and the Fast and Furious franchise.
Musicals or musical films work a bit differently. Because the music is part of telling the story, it sort of needs to happen hand-in-hand. The theme for musicals is usually written from scratch and focuses on the scene that it will portray. Examples include The Greatest Showman, High School Musical, The Wizard of Oz, and West Side Story.
Creating a soundtrack or score that makes a movie great is no easy task. It takes very talented people to get the suitable compositions together or choose the songs that fit best. Putting together the musical background to a film is one of the essential parts of making a movie. The soundtrack or score has to increase the dynamic experience.