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Cinematic Synthesis Course – Evenant (Review)

evenant cinematic synthesis online course

Today we’re taking a look at Evenant’s online course Cinematic Synthesis – Digital Sound Creation. This course, hosted by producer and Ableton-certified trainer Big Jerr, is focusing on the creation of cinematic synth sounds heard in soundtracks of recent blockbusters and TV series like Dunkirk, Blade Runner 2049 or Stranger Things.

Over the course of 8.5 hours of video material and 5 learning modules, tutor Jerry DiPhillippo, better known as Big Jerr, teaches you everything from synthesizer basics to synth sound design, arranging synth tracks and mixing and mastering synth-heavy cues. In addition to the generous amount of video material, the course also features a selection of bonus resources. These include a collection of synth samples & patches, a custom GUI skin for Xfer Serum as well as all the stems & MIDI files of the song Big Jerr creates together with you in this course.

Evenant invited us to take their online course and in this review, we’ll find out together what and how much a modern composer can take away from Cinematic Synthesis – Digital Sound Creation.


Before entering the first learning module, Big Jerr welcomes you to his course and gives you a quick overview of what to expect. He also makes you familiar with the course materials, some traditional synthesizer concepts and important synth tech terms to get you started.

Apart from the course’s video lessons, Cinematic Synthesis features quizzes and voluntary exercises at the end of the modules to help you internalize what you just learned.


Learning the basics of software synthesis

As the title suggests, this first module serves as a quick introduction to synthesis and shines a light on all the elements a typical (software) synthesizer is made up of. Big Jerr explains the concept of oscillators, filters, envelope shapers and FX with the aid of his favorite soft synth, Serum by Xfer Records. In the module’s last chapter, Big Jerr goes about the basic functions of another widely used wavetable soft synth called Massive and guides you through the creation of a solid bass sound.


How to build your own cinematic synth patches from scratch.

Cinematic Synthesis‘ learning module 2 can be seen as the meat and potatoes of the online course. In more than 3 hours worth of video lessons, Big Jerr takes you by the hand and creates a variety of well-known cinematic synth sounds with you from scratch. You’re shown each and every step of the creation so you can easily follow along with your own synthesizer.

In a step-by-step fashion, you learn how to create all kinds of cinematic synth sounds like braaams, risers, bass pulses, plucks, lead sounds, arps and drones. Apart from creating more general synth patches, Big Jerr also shows you how to create trademark sounds in the style of Bladerunner 2049 and Stranger Things. All the sounds generated in module 2 are available as Serum patches found within the course material.


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Although the sounds created in this module are mostly geared towards cinematic music, they will also work perfectly in a modern pop or EDM arrangement. So electronic producers will certainly find a lot of useful material here, too.


In the next module, we’re dealing with some of the more advanced fields of synthesis like FM synthesis, custom wavetables and complex modulation techniques. To take your synthesis skills to the next level, you also learn how to create synth arpeggios with synthesizers that don’t come with an arpeggiator module. All the topics are again explained in detail using Serum and Massive.


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Creating a synth-driven trailer cue

Now that you’ve learned how to confidently program the synth sounds you have in mind, it’s time to put it all into practice by creating a synth-driven cinematic track.

Using the synth patches he created in the earlier lessons, Big Jerr constructs a full trailer-style cue with a cinematic intro, build up and climax section before your eyes. He also talks you through organizing your project and importing samples. Lastly, Big Jerr shows you how to freeze and flatten tracks in Ableton Live to fix synth tracks in place as audio files and to save some CPU usage.

If you want to learn about creating orchestral cinematic music, you might also want to check out Evenant’s other course on Composing Cinematic Music.


Mixing & Mastering of a synth-driven trailer cue

In the last, almost 2 hours long module of Cinematic Synthesis, Big Jerr gives you an over-the-shoulder look about how he approaches the mixing and mastering of his synth-driven trailer cue. He shows you how to touch up your audio files with EQ, compression and saturation and how to achieve a wide and impressive stereo image.

In a discrete lesson on grouping, you learn how to organize your files and session into audio groups to make mixing easier and more overseeable. The last video of the lesson deals with pre-mastering and how to apply those final touches to your track that make it sound polished and punchy. Using light equalization, compression and limiting to glue all individual tracks together, Big Jerr shows you various methods on how you can master your mix.


By the end of the course’s 8.5 hours of video lessons, you’ve learned how to effortlessly create cinematic synth sounds from scratch and combine them with orchestral arrangements. Since you now know how to control a synth’s plethora of knobs, sliders and curves, you’ve gained confidence in creating your very own patches which allows you to get away from the presets everybody else is using.

Along the way, you can pick up a good dose of power user tips on Serum and Massive. These enable you to create experimental and crazy sounds nobody has heard before. Finally, you learn how to put it all together by composing, arranging and mixing your own synth-heavy trailer cue. By layering complementary sounds and carve out their strengths using EQ & compression, you’re able to create a powerful trailer cue that will stand out from the crowd.

Although this course is mainly targeted towards modern media composers working in the film, game and trailer music world, any EDM or pop producer will benefit from this course’s tips on digital synthesis, too. If you find yourself browsing through your synth’s presets, never seem to find the sound you’re after and if you’re feeling confused by all the controls you can’t get your head around, this course might be just the right cure for you.

If you want to enroll in Evenant’s Cinematic Synthesis – Digital Sound Creation, you can do so by visiting the Evenant Course Shop and deciding on one of the two available payment plans. Students can either make a one-time payment of $199 or go for a 4-month payment plan that is $55/month. Regardless of which plan you choose, all of Evenant’s courses come with a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you should not be satisfied with the course’s content.



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