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Topic: OT: 30 & 60 second radio spots

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  1. #1

    OT: 30 & 60 second radio spots

    I\'ve written some music for my brother-in-law to use in some 30 and 60 second radio spots. The music will play from start to finish with a voiceover through most of the middle.

    My question is \"how long should my 60 second music be?\" Should it go \"wall to wall\" and fill the full allotment, or should I leave a split second of breath before the start, and after the last note resonates?

    I want to get it right the first time. And I don\'t want somebody down the line running it through a time squeezer to make it fit their guidelines.

    Thanks in advance for (most) any and all advice!

  2. #2

    Re: OT: 30 & 60 second radio spots

    Hi Jon,

    From what I remember, official radio commercial music was typically exactly 30/60, which included any fade out. You might have a hard end, like DA DAH!, and that\'s fine too. DAH! would end around :59 or :58.5 with a second or so of note reverb- as you suggested. In my day (maybe things have changed since 1985), it was accurate, but not THAT accurate. We had :60 sec spots that ran :58, and some that ran :61, and nobody had a cow. In situations where there are multiple spots playing back to back the next commerical will simply fire once the CART END (Cart looked like an 8-track tape & wonder what they use now?) signal is received from the previous spot, which the spot\'s producer determines. So again, really exact timing is not critical.

    Generally the same person doing production is the announcer too. They will start the music a split nanosecond before they talk - depending on how tight they want the start, and then with their hand on the fader, if their copy is a little short or a little long, they will simply manually perform the music fade out to match at finish. So unless you definitely want that ending DA DAH!, announcer will do the fading and you could be :32 or :62 and still be OK. So often radio spots would use music from cues that are 3 or 4 minutes long and not even meant for commericals.

    Good luck with your bother-in-law\'s commerical - if things have changed since the olden days, hopefully others will correct.

  3. #3

    Re: OT: 30 & 60 second radio spots

    Originally posted by JonFairhurst:
    I\'ve written some music for my brother-in-law to use in some 30 and 60 second radio spots. The music will play from start to finish with a voiceover through most of the middle.

    My question is \"how long should my 60 second music be?\" Should it go \"wall to wall\" and fill the full allotment, or should I leave a split second of breath before the start, and after the last note resonates?

    I want to get it right the first time. And I don\'t want somebody down the line running it through a time squeezer to make it fit their guidelines.

    Thanks in advance for (most) any and all advice!
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Jon, i always play it safe and have my music out around 58.5 for a :60 and 29 for a :30 ... otherwise you run the risk of a sloppy engineer cutting of the tail, and a b1tchy client!

    Now a\' days .... most spots are programmed (software) and the radio operator just hits GO and the spots run until he talks again.

  4. #4

    Re: OT: 30 & 60 second radio spots

    Also, for what it\'s worth, one of the things that we do ( http://www.grooveaddicts.com/index2.aspx ), when creating a spot, which can make you super cool (grin), is to create emphasis at :15 and :29, :45 seconds, this way they can use the \"cue\" for shorter spots.

    But as Joanne mentioned, they can basically cut it up anyway they want and many times use music that is not tailored for commercials.

    cheers,
    f. elliott

  5. #5

    Re: OT: 30 & 60 second radio spots

    Originally posted by filmtvbiz:
    Also, for what it\'s worth, one of the things that we do ( http://www.grooveaddicts.com/index2.aspx ), when creating a spot, which can make you super cool (grin), is to create emphasis at :15 and :29, :45 seconds, this way they can use the \"cue\" for shorter spots.

    But as Joanne mentioned, they can basically cut it up anyway they want and many times use music that is not tailored for commercials.

    cheers,
    f. elliott
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">This wouldn\'t work for me since I post-score radio and TV spots. The music follows the VO, sound bites and FX. And these never line up in :15 sec. intervals. I still do a lot of :30\'s for network radio buys, but spots that are bought in select major markets are now almost always :60\'s simply because a :60 is almost the same price as a :30 in local buys.

    But I do pull clean lifts from the major sections of the music so they can be easily edited into :10\'s and :15\'s.

    And, yes, keep your last reverb trail or your fade short, and have them completely out by :30 or :60.

  6. #6

    Re: OT: 30 & 60 second radio spots

    In my experience with TV and radio, which I\'ve been doing since about 1980, ending at 28.5 or 58.5 is WAY too early nowadays. Certainly it can feel different depending on the music and the spot, but with a hard end, you will be lucky not to have the editor/client calling you saying \"the music is short\" if you do that (I got those calls and stopped doing it)

    They like it as far up as you can take it without sounding clipped. How far that is will vary as I said, but beware of ending too short....sometimes what we as \"artists\" consider cool....a reverb tail that last a bit over a half a second....just sounds like dead air to your client.

  7. #7

    Re: OT: 30 & 60 second radio spots

    [quote]Originally posted by Tarkio Road:
    Originally posted by filmtvbiz:
    [qb]

    But I do pull clean lifts from the major sections of the music so they can be easily edited into :10\'s and :15\'s.

    And, yes, keep your last reverb trail or your fade short, and have them completely out by :30 or :60.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Agreed, many times we offer several versions of the stems/cues as well in addition to creating sound design elements in addition to the score or cue.

    Some times they will use both our pre-arranged cues as well as our sound design, and custom scoring, so for us it depends on their deadline, budget, what stage they are at with the project, etc...

    Sometimes they are still editing the tv spot, other times it\'s ready to go (VO) less the cue or score, and sound design.

    /fe

  8. #8

    Re: OT: 30 & 60 second radio spots

    Thanks all for the replies!

    Joanne - Weren\'t cart machines fun to watch? Some of the video ones were like parking garages. Now it\'s all servers and asset management software. (boring!)

    SWL - Regarding the tail, I\'ll manually give it a fast fade. I\'ll guarantee that it\'s not a hair over 60/30.

    filmtvbiz - Great comment about the :15 and :45 second things. This piece is specifically structured, so I can\'t make it easily choppable at the standard times. But I can make subtle composing changes and render the odd versions to match the time goals. It\'s for family (I\'m charging them one buck) so I don\'t mind going the extra mile.

    Tarkio Road - I have the luxury of having the voiceover follow the music. The spot is for an optometry business in Palm Springs (think old people with thick glasses). The target stations are \'50s oldies, jazz and \'40s swing. The music is big band (QL Brass!) and the jingle is a Bassie, negative-space, single piano line that comes in twice before the vocal jingle at the end. Each time the piano line comes in, the voiceover stops to ponder it. At the end the jingle is sung with the business name as the lyrics. And then a quick Ta Da! to punctuate it. We\'re hoping it really hammers the jingle/business-name into their heads.

    tomhartman - I\'ll definitely chop the reverb tail before 1/2 second. No dead air here! And I\'ve decided to fill the 60 seconds pretty completely. I figure I\'ll leave about 1/10th second of space at the start to (hopefully) give some tiny separation between it any whatever came before. I don\'t want our spot to sound like a continuation of the one before. (Then again, my intro is short and loud. It should stand out regardless.)

    Thanks again everybody. I\'m at 61 seconds now - even with the chopped reverb tail. Now I know the goal, so I can balance any final beat chopping with a slight tempo increase to get it just right.

    What\'s great is that my brother-in-law absolutely loves the initial demo. That makes everything else relatively simple. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  9. #9

    Re: OT: 30 & 60 second radio spots

    Hi Jon,

    You remember Carts too, and how about those funky manual erasers!

    It sounds like you are having lots of fun with this project. Maybe partly due to the shorter time and the more \"free form\" as compared to structured compositions. Also fun about short music is that you can have fun simply focusing on developing the hook i.e. \"the really good part\", and not worry about developing a beginning,middle,end.

    Maybe once it eventually airs, we can have a listen.

  10. #10

    Re: OT: 30 & 60 second radio spots

    Hmmmm, ive never had a client complain about dead air. I made this choice when i moved to this market.

    My first gig here was a :30 for TV with a sing out, the line was \"The right Choice\" --- i was dead on out at :30 with a quick fade.

    Then a week later i saw it air ...... and it got chopped, all you could hear was \"The right Choi\" Of course the next day i recieved calls from grumpy clients, I pulled and pushed a few things around and was totally out by :29.25 maybe.

    I dunno, point is, these things may be different from market to market, and still, i have had no complaints on national spots either. Hmmmmm.

    SWL

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