One of the vexing issues for post-production on the third season of Star Trek: Discovery during the pandemic lockdown appears to have been solved by composer Jeff Russo and his team.
Russo: remote recording is working
Production wrapped on the third season of Star Trek: Discovery shortly before the coronavirus lockdown began, moving post-production work to be done remotely. However, there was one element that seemed impossible: Early last month composer Jeff Russo told TrekMovie he couldn’t begin to record the score until he could get the large group of musicians he needs back onto a recording stage. But later in April, we reported that Russo had joined some other Hollywood composers by recording musicians remotely. Russo’s first attempt at this “jigsaw” recording method was for the Netflix series Umbrella Academy.
Russo now confirms he has begun applying this method of recording musicians remotely for the third season of Discovery. In a Facebook Live chat last week, the composer explained how he has been scaling up his efforts to get to the larger orchestra he needs:
What we are doing is recording individual session players from here in Los Angeles. They are fantastic and most of the people I have used on the Star Trek scores and Picard scores and Umbrella Academy scores. So we will record each individual in their home and then combine all of it to make the orchestra, so we don’t have to put everybody in the same room.
It is not an ideal situation, but it is working. We were very hopeful at the beginning that it is going to work and started small. We started with 4 and then went got to 8 people and went to 10. And now we are about to go up to 26 people and then hopefully we will get to 35 or 40.
Indications from social media indicate recording with a larger group of musicians for Star Trek: Discovery began yesterday.
Just like the real thing, but might sound slightly different
Russo also explained how Emmy-nominated sound engineer Michael Perfitt has been working with the musicians to make this remote recording possible:
Michael Perfitt, who is my recording engineer and mixer, is and has been working diligently with the players to make sure they have the right microphones and the right mic pre-amps and where to put the mic in conjunction to the instrument. And then it is literally his mission to figure out how to take all these players and put them together and make it sound like it is at the Warner Brothers or Fox scoring stage, or wherever we record these things.
The composer also gave his impression on the results:
We have made it sound great. So when you ask will the soundtrack for [Star Trek: Discovery] season three sound okay, I say it will sound great. It will sound as good as it ever has sounded. It may sound slightly different. I am not sure it will sound too much different. I think we are going to do everything we can to make it sound as close to it as possible. We are working under a situation that is unprecedented… But it has been working really well.
Season 3 score will not change (much) due to the new setting
The big change in season three of Discovery is jumping the setting forward in time almost 1000 years. When asked if he sees this having a big impact on the show, Russo said that fundamentally the answer was “no,” noting they will not be trying to create music “that sounds like a thousand years in the future.” However, the composer did briefly discuss how the new setting will introduce some new elements:
There are new characters, there are new situations, so there will new musical motifs. There will be new themes. There will be new things musically to do. But will it change in a tone or tonality or sound? No. We are still Star Trek: Discovery. We are still Star Trek. I think that is the sound of it. The sound I created in season one and season two is going to make it into season three. Obviously, there are changes, but it is not going to be a significant departure for it. It will be a natural progression.
Season 3 still coming soon?
When the first season of Star Trek: Picard concluded at the end of March, CBS released a promo saying the third season of Discovery was “coming soon.” On that same day, executive producer Alex Kurtzman tweeted out a message that “Starfleet embarks on a new mission soon – Star Trek Discovery season 3 is on its way.” Today in their official announcement regarding the new series Strange New Worlds, CBS All Access stated that Discovery was “returning with season three later this year.” Earlier in the week CBS All Access set June 25th for the premiere of the second season of The Twilight Zone. and today they released a promo for what’s coming in the rest of May which made no mention of Discovery. Based on all of that, a good guess for when the show will premiere would be later in the summer. But as of now, there is no official date.
#Starfleet embarks on a new mission soon – #StarTrekDiscovery Season 3 is on its way. pic.twitter.com/7icyLaOcgo
— Alex Kurtzman (@Alex_Kurtzman) March 26, 2020
Watch Russo talk Picard, Discovery and more
You can watch the full Facebook Live event below, which includes Russo performing some of his Picard music on the piano.
Posted by Jeff Russo on Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.com.
The season 3 premiere won’t be in the summer. Since post production is still ongoing.
I predict a fall premiere right around September or October; probably November too.
Can’t wait to hear the score!
I seriously hope you’re wrong man but yes its possible now. I’m still hopeful for maybe a July/August premiere at least but not holding my breath.
With lockdown restrictions slowly lifting it won’t be long before they can all get back into the office, and work full steam to finish out the FX and score, even if they have to work 6 feet apart, in masks, and sanitize their work stations two or three times a day.
A July/August premiere is definitely possible.
If CBSAA is still (until the new/rebranded service) planning one major original series per quarter, it does look like an early fall premiere.
But what about Lower Decks? Does it have a different composer? Where is it’s post at?
I seriously hope you’re right man but I don’t think it will be ready by July or August. September is more likely.
The lockdown restrictions are getting lifted but. The virus is getting under control.
All things considered
I liked his DSC score and I definitely LOVED his PIC theme, but I believe we need a new composer for SNW. John Debney would be an excellent choice as he is best qualified to emulate traditional space opera music.
So excited about Star Trek: Strange New Worlds! Captain Pike and his adventures on the Enterprise. Anson Mount has captured the fandom by storm.
Kurtzman said that one of the new composers that worked on the S2 Short Treks had been chosen for one of the new series.
I really liked the scoring for Q&A, and that was (I believe) the first time a woman had been the composer for Trek.
I’d really be happy if she is the one.
OH NO A WOMAN! LOOK OUT! A WHOLE BUNCH OF FANS MAY RIOT!
Well, given that all the EPs and co-producers announced are male, one would hope that there are some women in leadership positions on the creative side.
IMDB lists Jenny Lumet and Heather Kadin as executive producers and Akela Cooper as a co-executive producer.
I’m wondering if Kadin will have a more active role (as she has for the two animated series) given the number of other projects Kurtzman has in development.
I believe that Jenny Lumet automatically gets an EP nod as she co-wrote the story for the pilot, but it doesn’t sound as though she will have an ongoing role.
To be honest, I have no idea what exactly Kadin’s role is in any of the shows. I mean she’s a president of Secret Hideout and she’s certainly in a lot of interviews. But I don’t know if she’s more of a big-picture strategy person or how deeply she’s involved in developing the storylines and individual episodes. She’s never had a writing credit on any of the shows.
Jenny Lumet was a co-executive producer on season 2 of Discovery and a consulting producer for the first half of Picard season 1. No idea if she’s going to stay focused on Discovery or moving over to Strange New Worlds.
It seems like Henry Alonso Myers, Akela Cooper, and Davy Perez were brought in specifically for Strange New Worlds.
Remote music recording? Sound’s like they are under pressure for premiere along with CBS All Access’ re-branding in the summer.
This is nothing unique to Trek or CBS. It’s been talked about how Post-Production and scoring has been going on remotely by multiple studios and programs and films.
If things CAN be done remotely, why not? With so little content coming out thanks to Covid, though, you can bet that studios like CBS would really like to finish off the shows that completed filming to start releasing new content and generate some revenue. Even on traditional TV, advertising revenue is way down.
Why wouldn’t there be pressure? But the rebranding may have little to do with it.
There is a very limited amount of new content being released by any streamer. CBSAA had production done on Discovery. Of course they need to pull all the stops to get any new content out there that they can.
Big productions like Trek are likely to be far back on the list for reopening: Hours of prosthetic applications, bridge scenes with many actors and huge crews. None of this sounds amenable to physical distancing. At minimum, there would need to be radical improvements in air handling.
Who is scoring Lower Decks?
Maybe every new Star Trek show has Jeff Russo as composer.
The status of that show is a lot more murkier.
Discovery could premiere around July or August at the earliest.
From the Trekmovie.com story earlier this week post-production is apparently on schedule with no delays. I assume this means the music too. I would imagine it won’t be anything nearly as complex as Discovery, Short Treks or Picard. As for Discovery S3, let’s hope that happens sooner rather than later.
His music is terrible. They need to replace him with someone better.
IMO he has done a adequate to good job with Discovery and Picard and seems to be a big deal in Hollywood right now. I watched Ron Moore’s For All Mankind (Apple TV’s alternate universe sci-fi story of the Apollo program) this week and I noticed he did the music for that series.
Some fans ire for this era of Trek is bordering on lunacy.
Minor typo in the article if you want to fix it. Under the heading “Season 3 Still Coming Soon?” it should refer to the first season of Picard, not the third season.
I wonder how TrekMovie’s “adopted” show The Orville is going to handle this. In its first two seasons the show quickly established a tradition of using large orchestras for its operatic soundtracks. That’s going to be a challenge to replicate at home.
From what I’ve heard they haven’t finished shooting their third season yet. Unless they decide to cut the season short (just the episodes they’ve shot so far) there’s no rush to get a score done.
Russo, that’s great! Whatever!
Hey! Did you here about STRANGE NEW WORLDS!?! It’s got Pike in it!!!!