For the past few months I've been wanting to create more visual content to give the music a different canvas; being very fond of film/video game scoring has left me with a want for supporting material! To that end I'm going to be trying out making spectrogram visuals for a number of my tracks, the first being for Pixel.
I'm currently building a new template in Cubase and wanted to test out some things, so I wrote Pixel as an experiment. All the sounds are largely the ones that come with Cubase Pro 9, Native Instruments’s Komplete 10 Ultimate, and various iZotope beasts (the mid-point bass synth is from iZotope’s Iris). The piece itself is a sort of epic, computer-gamey, quasi-orchestral mess (to use technical terms) which is roughly in an arch form (A B C B A). I’ve written a little about it in the composition section.
The spectrogram shows the different frequencies of the mix throughout; as I'm working on my mixing/mastering, so this feels like the most revealing way of doing that!
A spectrogram is defined as “a visual representation of the spectrum of frequencies of sound or other signal as they vary with time or some other variable.”. In this instance I used iZotope’s Insight plug-in (an audio metering tool), playing the final audio through the plug-in and recording the results.
The idea to create a video in this way comes a Jonny Greenwood concert I saw over a decade ago, where they had a similar visual in the background during some string quartets. I was also watching through Jacob Collier videos, and his first upload spliced a number of iTunes visualiser streams to create the moving images - using a spectrogram to self-generate a visual accompaniment seems like a good development!
The screen capture itself was done through OBS Studio and then cropped/rendered in DaVinci Resolve - both INCREDIBLE, FREE pieces of software.
Here's the first of the videos, as found on my YouTube channel: