How to make soundtrack for film

I want to score my own short films, I play the piano and have a keyboard that can plug into my computer to create MIDI files which work pretty well in Garageband, but not all the Garageband instruments sound realistic. Are there any good, FREE programs that sound good with MIDI files to make orchestral sounds? (Like brass and strings?)


  • @Andy001z the thing is, most of these seem to focus on drums and guitars while I need a focus more on brass and strings. 

  • Isn't that something you can add. Normally they are packs you add.

  • edited September 2019

    @HeySiri ; One of my daughters uses Free Midi to Mp3 to convert midi scores for the ex to use in stage performance at the community theatre where the ex works.

    Its the third one down on this page.  Can't say much about it but they keep using the music so it must sound okay.  Edit: Oh, she uses an old version of Cakewalk to make the scores.

  • Ha yeah I use CakeWalk 6 but not sure you can get it anymore.

  • edited September 2019

     @Andy001z ; I believe she uses 9 from about 20 years ago if I'm not mistaken.  :)  I was thinking there was now a free version available but haven't checked into it.

    Edit:  Had a chance to Google...Yes, there is a Free version now:

    Even some Youtube tuts:

  • @HeySeri,

    I was thinking........ as a late career pro artist in the "real world" myself, there is something that tends to plague many (most?) of us working in the arts that might be relevant to mention here.

    We typically are 'short on money', which starts to set up a mode of thinking when it come to our problems.  We tend to think we should do everything ourselves.....both because of the lack of money, and also for 100% "creative control".  

    One of the hardest things to do is to ask for help on a project.

    My understanding is you are a HS student working on a film project that might serve as an item on a resume that might lead to future opportunities in this field.  Great!  (It is also fun....which is a great part of being an artist; work is also often fun.)  One of the things that a producer/director/or whatever (most any artist) needs  to learn to do is to be able to work with others to achieve a goal.  So while the film itself on the screen is important, how you get that film made is also important to you at the moment as a 'student of film-making'.

    Just like you with the overall film-making side of this project, there likely are young people in your school, or a nearby school, that are all crazy into music.   For them, having their name listed on a movie musical score would likely also be a "big deal".  Having the opportunity to score and then record the tracks would be a great learning experience for them.  And having the film 'out there' would serve them well for future career opportunities also.  A 'win-win'.

    So maybe look around a bit.  Put out a call.  Find someone to write and record that score for you.  While they are doing their 'music thing', you are using your best skills and most efficient spending of time..... doing your 'film-making thing'.

    Fuel for thought.



  • edited September 2019


    Comes with some strings, brass, and so on.  Can add instruments reasonably.

    This software is cool.....particularly since it is free.



    PS:  Was a pro musician from the age of 13 until came "off the road" in 1972.  Almost derailed the ceramics career.

  • @Jbaymore I do have that app by the way, but it’s only like sound loops. Not as original as I’d like it to be.

    and I have talked to my friends about them playing instruments for my film BUT I’m not sure how I’d record such a thing.

  • edited September 2019


    "...........BUT I’m not sure how I’d record such a thing."

    The point here is that would no longer be YOUR job to figure out.  That is the lead MUSIC person's job to accomplish.  They are working for the producer/director of this movie: you.  That is where they get to learn how to do stuff also.  They are into music.... that is their thing...... they need to learn how to get it onto "tape" (or digital these days).



    PS:  The version I have of that software (newest) is a full multi track studio type software and way far from only "loops".


  • @Jbaymore well... I don’t reallt have the budget for such a thing.... for like hiring someone. 

  • @HeySiri,

    You are not "hiring" someone in the sense that they are to get paid for this work.  Just like you, and like your friends that are the actors, and any folks helping out with filming and production, the people doing the music part for this production are doing it for the exact same reason you are.  It is fun, it is a broad "real world" learning experience, it is a chance to get into some serious depth about a field that interests them, it is a chance to get a major project completed, it is a chance to have that work show as a finished major endeavor that showcases their current skill to employers, schools, and of course their friends.

    It is like an unpaid internship.  People just starting out in a field typically jump at the chance to get some "real" experience under their belt.  It is an investment in the future.

    You don't need a "budget". You aren't promising anyone money.  You are promising them to use the product of their efforts in a small not-for-profit film.  You are promising to work with them professionally.  You are promising to take their opinions and efforts seriously.  You are promising to give the person you select significant "creative control" on a small movie soundtrack.  It is a start on building a career / profession in the music and film field.  For the right people, this is enough when they are just starting out.

    How much are you getting paid?  Nada, I'm guessing.

    Part of your "job" as producer is to find the person to score and produce the music for this film.  I'd start by talking to the heads of the music departments of your own and other local schools.  

    As a college professor (just retired) I have arranged such stuff for many students over the years.  This can likely work if you spend some time digging around for the right person.





  • edited September 2019

    @JBaymore how should I get the word out I’m looking for people then?

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