Sonic Fire Pro Review

One of my biggest challenges in video production is finding good music for video and motion graphic pieces I create. Typical stock music resources run a huge range of prices. Not only is there a variety of prices, there is a variety of quality. Another challenge I’ve run into is most stock music is edited for standard broadcast lengths. Which is great if you need a 10, 15, 30 or 60 second music bed. The full length is usually in the 2-3 minute range. So if your spot doesn’t fall into one of those lengths you’ve got to edit the music to match.

This year I budgeted some money to but some stock music. After looking a various different resources I finally landed on Sonic Fire Pro. If you’re not familiar with Sonic Fire it’s a combination of their software and layered music tracks. Here’s some of my major reasons:

    – It will create a track with a beginning, middle and end to any length you desire
    – You can adjust the timing of the track to match your edits. In other words you can retime a musical transition, build up, break down, etc.. to match the edits of your video
    – You can change the mix of the track. You want these instruments to fade in or out at a certain point no problem. They even have premixed moods for you like background, dialog, breakdown, lite, etc…
    – Imports your audio and scoring markers from FCP. Will also export your mix back to FCP for you.
    – Each track has about 6-8 variations of the arrangement. Different than the premixed moods but alters the arrangement of the song.

The music quality is not as great as some of the high end stock music resources (where you’d be paying $$$ per track) but the quality is good and the customization makes up for it.

Plus they seem to run deals to add CDs to your library at significant discounts if you are patient and budget for it.


May 25, 2010. Music, Video. 1 comment.

Creative|Ideas is Moving

I started this blog as an experiment and for personal growth. Hopefully a few others have benefited as much as I have from it. But I’m making some changes:

– I’m moving my blog from being hosted on wordpress to it’s own domain. This gives me some creative freedom (the design has been pathetic for awhile of my blog). It also give me some extensionability I’ve been looking for. Finally it gives me the ability to learn how to design and tweak the wordpress engine.

-My blog is no longer going to be known as Creative|Ideas but is being rebranded as If you look at what I’ve been writing about is mostly falls under church media and hopefully it helps you to be more creative.

So please jump over to If you’re subscribed via RSS please subscribe to the new feed: It’s a work in progress but all new content is going to be published at instead of here.

January 21, 2009. Blogroll, Books, Graphic Design, Links, Marketing, Music, Personal Growth, Random, Sound, Tech Stuff, Uncategorized, Video, Web Development. Leave a comment.

What I’m Listening To

I’ve picked up some new music over the last week or so and thought I’d share some of my thoughts about them. Now I have to admit I listen to music differently than most the people I know. Because of my live sound background I break apart the mix. I tend to focus so much about how it’s mixed and the emotions the music brings out that I don’t really listen to the words. I also tend to listen to music as background for when I’m working so I tune the lyrics out. Back when I was doing creative programing for the youth ministry I used to always listen to lyrics because I was looking for songs we could use and so I could know what the youth were listening to.

Coldplay’s Viva La Vida: A solid album. Stays true to the Coldplay style but a more guitar driven sound than their past albums. I’m betting this album is going to make for a great show on tour. Really successful bands like Coldplay always have a challenge to bring something new, but to stay true to their identity as a band and not alienate fans. It’s a delicate line to walk to bring something fresh yet not too different. Overall I like it but I don’t know how long it will stay in my mix. It might resurface down the road.

Amos Lee Last Days At The Lodge: I like me some Amos Lee. I think this might be his best album. The last one Supply and Demand got a little too breezy for me. All the songs kinda flowed together too smooth. I still enjoyed it, but ended putting it into a mix instead of listening to the whole album at once. His new album has a grittier sound to it. Still the same bluesy, soulful sound but a little grittier.

Sigur Ros Med sud I eyrum vid spilum endalaust To me Sigur Ros is one of the best creative music bands for me. And guess what it’s Icelandic so I have no idea what they are saying! So I don’t feel bad about not listening to the lyrics. So far I’m really enjoying this album, one of my favorites of there’s. I realized I was missing a few of their other albums so I picked up (untitled) and Hvarf – Heim

One last note. I’ve started buying more of my music from Amazon’s MP3 store. I get higher quality and no DRM like Apple’s iTunes store. I’ll check iTunes to see if they carry the album in the iTunes Plus format and if they have any good bonus tracks or videos. But usually Amazon is cheaper and higher quality.

June 26, 2008. Music, Random, Sound. 1 comment.

What I’ve Been Listening To: Jazz

I’m on a Jazz kick right now. I picked up The Essentials: Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane: A Love Supreme and Miles Davis: Kind of Blue

I’ve always enjoyed jazz music. If I’m listening to the radio it’s usually NPR, classical or jazz music. But I’ve always been intimidated in knowing what to buy. So I just started picking up some of the classics. These albums are great musical works. They have a great vibe for my creative work or just relaxing around the house.

I can’t articulate what differentiates good jazz from bad jazz music. I can just tell you what I like and I don’t like. I can identify the nuances of great musicians. But I want to educate myself about jazz. I also want to learn more about classical music too.

It’s like my journey of learning graphic design. Until I learned some basic rules of design (contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity) I couldn’t identify some of the reasons why I liked the way something looked. Or articulate why I didn’t like something.

I like to have a broad scope of musical styles I listen to. I like the variety. And I like listening to how the music is arranged and mixed. I think it helps me in my mixing.

February 28, 2008. Music, Random. 2 comments.

First Try At Multi-Tracking

A few weeks ago we celebrated our Pastor’s 50th birthday. I don’t think we do enough celebrating as a church. So celebrating our Pastor’s Birthday was a great way to show our congregation some achievements of our pastor. He’s not one to parade his achievements and he does a lot on a national level that our church doesn’t know about.

He’s written several book, one of them being “Lessons I Learned From Destroying A Church”. It’s about his first church in Sweetwater, Texas that died. In honor of that the music team performed a version of “Hotel California” with the lyrics changed to “Sweetwater, Texas”.

It’s an electric drum kit with 6 feeds to the board that I recorded from a post fade aux, 3 electric guitars, bass and lead vox. I recorded it into our Digidesign 002. I did a quick mix down of it. Mainly added compression (I love Smack) and EQ (Pultec Bundle rocks). Some FX (Trillium Labs Verb) on the vox and drums and Maxim on the master fader.

I really enjoyed the brief post process on this. Makes me want to get to the point where we record 32 tracks out of our board. This would be great for virtual sound checks and training. If we ever get to the point of recording an album we’d be all set. 2 ADAT cards for the M7 and an M-Audio Lightbridge and I’m ready to go for under $2k. Here’s a link to the MP3.

January 26, 2008. Music. Leave a comment.

iLove iLife 08

Maybe love is too strong of a word but I’ve been blown away by iLife 08.

To me it sounds funny to say it but this is the first time I’ve really gotten into iLife. I’ve been using Apple computers in 2001 on os9. Before iTunes and any other part of iLife were around. As they released the pieces of iLife, besides iTunes, I never really used. iPhoto at the beginning didn’t handle RAW files which my DSLR shot. I already knew Final Cut and DVD Studio Pro so why would I want to mess with iMovie or iDVD. iWeb is the newest edition but I’ve been using Dreamweaver for the church web page.

I’ve known and used the pro apps so why would I want/ need to use consumer grade products? Well I never had a good reason until now. I’ve taken a new look at iLife because:
-Need to turn picture montages around quickly.
-Equip other ministries at church to do basic video editing.

I first started with iPhoto for picture montages. I really like how it organizes your photos based on “events”. iPhoto gives me a very visual way of organizing my photos and quickly and easily organize and find my videos. The only down side that I’ve found is backing up the iPhoto library. I use ChronoSync for my backups. iPhoto stores all your photos and other files in one huge file. But it’s a package so you have to right click on the library and choose show contents.

iMovie 08 is a new application from the ground up. You can search on the web and find a huge backlash about this change. I know FCP inside and out but I always had the hardest time getting into any previous version of iMovie. But 08 has got to be the simplest editing program I’ve ever seen. I found it ver intuitive. Then add the ability to export the project to Final Cut Pro (minus transitions and Ken Burns). It’s a winner in my book. I have been able to show several people how to quickly make a video and free me up to do something else. If I need to fine tune a video I can export the project and open it in FCP. You can keep iMovie HD on your system. This is great because it has some big features missing from the 08 version. Features like effects and a timeline to edit to.

With it’s more intuitive interface I can see myself using it for picture montages to get the pan and scan Ken Burns effect. Even though I’ve gotten pic montages down to a science in AE. Picked up some great tips from Andrew Kramer at Video CoPilot

I haven’t really dug into iDVD or iWeb. iDVD seems simple enough yet you can produce some very polished looking DVDs. I haven’t compared the quality of it’s encoding process to Compressor. iWeb has some nice looking templates but seems limited if you’re not publishing to a .mac account. I think you can publish to a local folder and then publish to your own site using a FTP application.

January 24, 2008. Music, Tech Stuff, Video. 3 comments.

What I’m Listening To…

First of all I think iTunes gift cards are one of the greatest gifts I could ever get. Anyway I don’t know why but I’ve had some Led Zeppelin riffs running through my head. I don’t know if it’s been because I’ve been playing Guitar Hero or what. Even though there are no Led Zepplin songs in the game. So I picked up Mothership and have been jamming out on with my air guitar to it.

January 7, 2008. Music. 1 comment.

On My iPod: The Decemberists

Part of my personality is obsessive. I will go on kicks of listening to the same song/ band for a month and get burned out by it. The same will go with food. For awhile I loved Pot Belly Italian sandwiches, then it was chick-fil-a fries, now it’s Chipolte Carnitas Burrito Bowls and Sonic cranberry limeades.

That said I’ve been listening to The Crane Wife by The Decemberists at least 4 times a week since March. For me that’s a long time. It’s something about the music mixed with the poetry. I like how they weave the Chinese story of the crane wife into the lyrics of several songs. I think there is also some songs about Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. It gives the album a nice feel.

I’ve listened to some of their other albums and they haven’t caught me. Anyway that’s a little look into my personality and what’s been getting lots of plays on my iPod

June 27, 2007. Music. Leave a comment.