If you are new to stem and video music, let me share some insights about editing stems. Also, with bonus 5 tips for tailoring a track by editing stems.
What are stems & why do you need them?
Stem file is a track divided into different musical elements. They can also be termed as songs broken into groups into the individual files. If you go to the studio and ask for stems, they give keyboards in a file like mp3, bass track, guitar track, and strings. There can be a drum stem, a melody stem and a bassline stem. It gives more control to mixes, as everything is fixed in stems.
We create stems so that we can share work with others like collaborators. It is widely used in the audio and video music industry. Sometimes you might not want audio and stem helps there. It is also useful for remixes in commercials and TV. The stem produces a new product and saves money. For instance, you are starting a brand and you don’t have a brass. You can just use brass from another album.
Here are 5 tips for tailoring track by editing stems.
#1 Determine your purpose & learn from examples
The best way to tailor track in video music is knowing the purpose behind the stem creation and closely looking at different stem examples. This way, you will develop a better understanding and appreciation of applying those techniques in your work. Here is an example from our all-time favorite classic “The Beatles”.
First, let’s get clear on why we want stems. Maybe for producing a karaoke or simply stem mastering. After the clear objective, you can listen to the song and carefully identify the important aspects and group them into tracks. For instance, you might decide bass should be in its separate stem to master or replace in the techno-pop mix.
Likewise, vocals from this one can be categorized in 2 stems, backing vocal and lead vocal. Likewise, you can apply your intuition for orchestral, lead guitar and piano string. But this requires special attention and should maintain an appropriate time organization. Some of the final stems would be bass guitar, lead guitar, lead vocal, and percussion.
#2 Explain your expectations clearly
Once you know your purpose and find some mixing inspirations, talk with a mix engineer. Speak about your specific needs like types of mixes, file format, sample rate and agree upon the deliverables. It is better to finalize through email so that it can be used as a reference in the future. Some of the mix deliverables are TV tracks, master mix, vocal up, and so on. So, communicate clearly with the mix engineer to make the best stem for audio or video music.
#3 Give a logical name to tracks
A good track name helps to make your work a lot easier. This is to be done before exporting files as stems. Some of the stem naming examples probably used in audio or video music stem are Lead Vox, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Bass Box. But, if you have different mics of the same track, then give conventions like RH1, RH2 direct.
#4 Organize files and critical information
I recommend you to note the critical session information like sample rates and the project tempo. Similarly, try to organize track files in a particular folder like Artist name, date, and title. The file should be zipped and can be sent to engineers through dropbox or use the hard drive. If you are using a hard drive, then it should be compatible with both Windows and iOS.
#5 Focus on editing & cleaning process
Editing takes a considerable amount of time. So, make sure it is setting the quality. For instance, tune your vocal tracks, or clean up inconsistencies or noises. As sound designs help a lot in developing video quality, so does the stem to your video music. Also, make sure you export stems from the same starting position which ensures synch mixes.
Stem mixing has many opportunities with it together as discussed before. So, you can work on it or ask for the record labels. If you have clear targets and open conversations, you won’t have to take the call of a confused engineer. You will tailor your track effectively with these few hacks. Are you are looking for piano with grooving drums and airy guitars? Listen to this cool mix Ten Stems from BAM Music Catalogues. Also, do request for a custom quote for video music content from us.
Welcome to the new exciting listening experience!