I’m a film composer and sound designer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. I love writing scores with unique sounds made from string instruments like the ronroco, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and bass. I use a combination of real and virtual instruments to create a professional sound that can meet the requirements of low and high budgets.
I am a freelance film composer and audio engineer with experience in film, commercials, video games and podcasts. I am a certified Pro Tools user and have extensive experience producing music in Logic Pro X. I have experience using third party VSTs including EastWest Hollywood instruments, and Native Instruments Komplete 10 Ultimate. I have experience with professional audio plugins including Waves, iZotope, and Slate Digital.
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Interview with Ryan Baker
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I am most proud of my work on No Sunday West of Newton. It is the first film where I was the on set sound mixer, the composer, and sound designer. I recorded all of the sound on set. I recorded and mixed all of the foley and ADR. I composed all of the music and got to collaborate with another composer and learn more about the composition process through that relationship. It’s the first film that I used a combination of real and virtual instruments and I think it turned out incredibly well for a mostly virtual score.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I’m working on creating the sound effects for an independent 3rd person shooter video game, and I’m helping another composer produce the music for a short film.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: No, I don’t know anyone else on SoundBetter at the moment.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Analog. There are an infinite amount of variables within every parameter of analog recording. This makes for a more organic and human sound that works much better with the fluid, on screen motion of the film medium.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will do everything in my power to make the best music possible for your film, with the budget that I am given.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I get to help tell stories through the medium of film.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Q: What’s your rate? A: It depends on the project, how much music is needed, and what kind of music is needed. Q: Can you work remotely? A: Yes! Most of the work I do is done remotely with people I’ve never met in person.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I don’t compose, notate, play, record, and mix everything myself. Just like a director hires a crew of talented people who are better at each of their respective roles on a film, I as a composer hire different people who are better at playing instruments, recording, and mixing. If the project had a lower budget, I’ll gladly do everything myself, but if the budget allows it, I’ll hire the best people I know to get the job done. Making films is an incredibly collaborative process and that does not exclude the music department.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What is your budget? What kind of music are you looking for and how much music need to be written?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Let me know your budget for music. I can change my composition process based off of your budget but if you ask me how much I’ll charge, I’ll usually give a larger number because to make the music the best that it can be, I’ll have to pay for musicians, studio space, orchestrators, and mixers. If you have a smaller budget I can do everything myself. You get what you pay for.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: If we’re talking just music gear, I’d take a nylon string acoustic guitar, a MacBook, a solar panel array, a ZOOM H4N, and a MIDI keyboard. I thinks that’s all I’d need to keep myself entertained and make some great music.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: When I was a kid my parents gave me a digital video camera and I made all kinds of videos with my friends. I’m high school I became more interested in music and graphic design. I ended up going to college for music technology and while I was there I met a group of filmmakers. I ended up writing music for their videos and rediscovered my love of making video content. I changed majors to Film Scoring. It’s been 5 years since then and I’ve scored over 30+ films.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: When it comes to film scoring, my style is simple when I think about it. I try to create music that matches the emotions that are conveyed on screen. I usually do this by playing different chords on a piano while watching a scene until something sticks and I know I’m going in the right direction. I create non-intrusive scores that enhance visuals while not being mundane repetitive chordal structures.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I’d love to work with Martin O’Donnell, the composer of the Halo video games. He created the modern video game scoring technique and pioneered the way game scores are programmed. Marty has an incredible style that he manages to shape into different genres while still making it his own.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: It is said that one of the most important parts of making a film is casting, and the same goes for making film music. Choosing the right instrumentalists who understand the goal of the music is key to getting good tracks. I’m my experience, working with musicians that understand film music can go a long way in creating a score that works for the screen.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Orchestral and stringed instrumental scores. Scores like those of Gustavo Santaolalla, and Michael Giacchino are what I enjoy working on the most.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Cooperation and teamwork with the direction of a film. When it comes to film, the director’s vision comes first and the music must always be used to enhance that vision. Music in a film should never distract from the story and bring attention to itself.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I try to bring color and texture into a song. A great theme and instrumentation can go a long way, but the bed of sound the comes underneath of a melody is what sells a scene in a film. I like to experiment with ways to create organic background textures that mirror the feelings evoked by the visuals.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: It depends on the project, but I normally like to start to work on a film as early as possible. I love it when a director wants me to score something for a film based off of the script before shooting begins. I’ll schedule a spotting session with the director and we can decide where there should be music. It’s best to communicate with the director about what emotions the audience should be feeling during each scene. Once I have basic themes written based off of the script I’ll wait until there is an edited version of the film. Once I have the film, I begin composing everything in Logic Pro. If the budget allows it, once I finish composing I’ll send the music to an orchestrator who will notate everything for instrumentalists. If the film has a smaller budget, I will hire solo instrumentalists to record and blend them with high quality virtual samples to create a realistic sound. I will do all of the mixing myself and send the music in the desired format to the editor.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I compose all of my music in Logic Pro X with a Mac Pro. I use EastWest, Native Instruments, Soniccouture, and Spitfire virtual instruments.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Orchestral Film Composing for Short and Feature Length Films
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Michael Giacchino, Martin O'Donnell,