Panning is in it most simple explanation nothing more or less than positioning instruments in a room: left, centre and right. In this video I’ll lay out the principles of this concept in more detail. And I give you some quick wins – tips – how to get the most out of the panning concept.
This is the third video in the series of ‘How to write orchestral music for film, tv and games’. If you haven’t seen the other episodes, you should definitely watch them too. They are about dynamics and balancing.
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Panning is positioning instruments in a room
Imagine that you’re in a room. In front of you is a flute player. He plays some beautiful melody lines. You’ll hear the flute sound in the middle of the room. Why? Cause the player stands right in front of you.
But when the player walks to the left side of the room, you’ll hear the sound of the flute more dominantly coming from the left side of the room. Even so, when the player walks to the right side of the room, you’ll hear the sound of the flute more dominantly from the right side of the room.
That is the concept of panning.
Why apply panning?
When you’re using only one instrument, panning is not a big of a deal. You can position the instrument everywhere in the room. But imagine you put an entire orchestra in the room. All those players won’t fit in the middle!
Let say, we have three instruments playing at the same time. A flute, violin and a trumpet. When they are all in the middle, they’ll fight for the first position in front of you. And the trumpet will win. Believe me. That instrument has the biggest projection power.
So the trumpet pushes the violin and flute to the background. And the violin pushes the flute even more to the background, cause that instrument plays louder. Probably you won’t hear the flute at all.
Now when you apply panning, you can position the trumpet to the right side of the room. The violin to the left side and keep the flute in the middle. Now they all have an unique position in the room and will sit better/fine in your composition and mix.
Tips and tricks
In the video I share some valuable tips and tricks about the concept of panning. You should definitely check it out! This section starts around 4 minutes and 7 seconds.