It’s beneficial to get into the habit of creating ‘cut down versions’ or edits of your tracks. At the very least producing:
- A 60 second edit.
- A 30 second edit.
I also recommend:
- Narrative/Background versions (the track without lead melodies/instruments).
- Bumpers – short edits lasting up to 15 seconds.
- Stingers – very short, lasting around 5-10 seconds .
Why create Edits?
In essence you’re saving video editors the chore of having to chop up and fit your music to their project.
For example, most TV commercials will be 30 or 60 seconds long. By creating versions of these lengths, you can increase your chance of sales – because the video editor doesn’t have the added workload of trimming your music down to fit their project.
Edits also offer the potential of generating further income, as many libraries will allow you to price your versions separately from the main track.
How do I know which Edits to Create for which Library?
For the majority of libraries, their edit requirements are usually self-explanatory within the upload page, with some containing additional upload fields for separate versions.
Certain libraries – such as AudioJungle – expect you to upload edits in one bundle, with no option to price them individually. This means the buyer will only pay one price for your original track and all versions. In this situation you may prefer to increase the price of the track incrementally, dependant on how many edits are included.
Exclusive libraries will usually stipulate the edits they require from you when you sign a contract with them.
Workflow for Creating Edits
I’m often asked if each edit should be in a separate project file, or in the same project as the origin track.
Personally I prefer to keep all of my versions in the same project file. The reason for this is simple, if I should need to remix or alter the project in any way, then tweaking a plugin for the main version (for example; EQ-ing the drums slightly differently) is ‘global’ and will also affect all of the subsequent edits.
If each version is in a separate project, it would take a lot more time to open up each one, make the required change, save and export, with the added danger of making a mistake, or not mirroring the changes in the main version correctly.
When one project contains more than one edit, I use Markers to keep edits organised by length, longest to shortest.
For example, my Logic X template already contains SMPTE Locked*, colour coded, markers representing each edit length I’ll need.
*This is important; SMPTE locked markers mean they will stay the same length in time even when the tempo of the project is altered. So visually, the ’60 Second Edit’ marker will always represent 60 seconds of time, whether the tempo is 85bpm or 165bpm.
Using markers as a visual guide in the project window also makes it easier to make the initial edits to cut down the length of the track to fit.
Tips on creating Edits
There’s no getting around it, sometimes it can be rather fiddly to get perfect edits, it often involves a little bit of musical ‘fudging’ to get the music to fit the time.
I often hear the joke of using a cymbal swell to cover up a multitude of musical sins, but other points to consider are:
- All of the different versions should be convincing – and work as a piece of music in their own right, not feel like another track that’s been hacked to death in the edit.
- Consider composing the 60 second edit first, lengthening it could be an easier process than cutting it down.
- Shorter versions, such as the 30 second edit, should start immediately with the main ‘theme’ of the track.
- The shorter the edit, the shorter the ending.
- You should allow enough time for reverbs and effects to ‘ring out’ at the end of an edit, but keep it to a minimum. The edit must be exactly the length stipulated.
- Never use a fade out.
- Cues should allow for easy edit points. Often, melodies that don’t resolve make editing difficult if not impossible, which means that they are far less likely to get used.
- It’s acceptable to lengthen the final chord or reverb tail to achieve the exact length. Don’t alter the tempo in any way.