Confused on some composition basics: Sync'ing composition to video.


Going back to some basics. I'm getting confused on the subject of sync'ing composition to video with Tempo and/or Time signatures. I'm still relatively new to TV/Film composition and never went to school for it either so I'm prob. missing something obvious :\

A while back, I've watched a video where someone who scores (or used to score) for Disney timed things so much that it's as if he/she adjusted the tempo for every note.

And I just ran into this video where he changes the tempo quite often: (went ahead and skipped some of the early bits)

To me, this workflow seems too dictated, messy, and maybe potentially leaning to sounding tacky for current TV/Film projects. Currently, I ignore any brief tempo changes like the one in the video. If there are any significant changes, of course, I'll adjust the tempo to fit but not this much. For example, in a 2min cue, you will prob see maybe 3 tempo changes in my projects. Additionally, my time signature theory is almost non-existent so I usually stick to what I know, which is extremely limited.

Has incorporating this type of tempo changing stuff enhance your compositions?

I'm always trying to get better and want to avoid looking like a total idiot should I get involved with big projects in the future, lol.

**Tangentially, I disagree with the part where he states that "most of the juice that happens in a scene has nothing to do with dialogue.....dialogue is not something that moves us emotionally". I collect a plethora of information about a cue through dialogue and apply it to my compositions, including using certain phrases or words to highlight and/or enhance the scene.


  • I use a mix of dialogue, emotional swells, body language, camera cuts, and imagery. Pick which ones you want to highlight, and put the hits or time signature or tempo changes centered around those moments. Not to mickey mouse everything, but to carefully select what you want and build your composition around it. That way you're building around the actual film instead of just slapping a piece of music down based on nothing but your whims. It takes some planning, there's no art to randomness (@john cage) in my opinion. Especially for film.

  • mmm, nice, thanks for your input!

    Glad to see some confirmation that my workflow isn't a total disaster :D