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Old 12-13-2012, 11:57 PM   #1
ZOProductions
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Orchestra quality software?

Hey guys! I am sure you've all been presented with the question as to what to do about not having an orchestra at your disposal, but I cannot find a thread that addresses my own peculiar film score situation.

Call me naively ambitious (and justly so), but I ventured out to do an 1880's Western feature film with no budget and no crew. Newbie? No doubt! I had no other choice living in and set in Missouri and not have much creative minds in the area. With no availability to hire people I filmed almost the entire thing so far.

I have written my own scores and need to record them. How would you suggest I do it? I have no money and no access to it in this dismal economy. To get an orchestra is simply a dream. Is there any music creation software available that could give a real orchestra sound? I'm willing to earn the amount of money I need to get something like that. Thanks for your input.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:09 AM   #2
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You are not going to get an orchestral score on a micro budget.

The software is the easy or least expensive part. You can use Digital Performer ($500), Pro Tools ($150 & UP!!!), Nuendo ($900), Reason ($400), Cubase ($400), Sonar ($200) or any other DAW. What gets pricey are the orchestral sample/sound packs like Vienna Symphonic, East West, Miroslav Philharmonik, Garritan, Sony Cinematic and many others (these can get really pricey). And that doesn't include virtual instruments; synths & samplers, organs, pianos, drums & percussion, acoustic & electric guitars, etc. (inexpensive to Oh My God!) Then, to mix it realistically, you need a really great (preferably IR) reverb. A lot of guys/gals will add one or two real instruments to the sampled instruments to enhance the realism.

There are also orchestral "construction" libraries where where you get complete scored orchestral cues (with several versions - full, strings only, horns only, etc.) which you edit together as needed.

Sorry to be a party pooper, but that's he reality of the situation.

If you have a modest budget you can score within that budget; get just a few selected orchestral sample packs and a couple of virtual instruments. That's what most budding composers do, and then add something new with each score that they write.
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:00 AM   #3
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Hi,

As a composer myself I use a lot of VSTi's for my mock ups and low budget shorts/features. I use Logic Pro to host the samples and compose in, then use Pro Tools to edit/master the bounced audio file. I use a lot of East West's sounds especially their Hollywood Series and Symphonic Orchestra, which I believe would be very good for what you need as it contains the whole orchestra, I believe they have a 50% off sale too at the moment, which is a bonus.
Remember you still need a good knowledge of music theory and orchestration to get the orchestra sounding realistic.

Best,

Mitchell.
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:54 AM   #4
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The issue is the quality of the samples. If you think there isn't a MAJOR difference between orchestral sounds you get for free/cheap and the stuff people pay thousands for you are very wrong.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:56 PM   #5
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Thanks guys! I appreciate your input. Mitchell, could you post some links to some of your software? I'm grateful for this forum and the filmmaking community that we have here.

Gonzo, I definitely agree with what you said. If I had the time, I would patiently find everyone that was needed to make an orchestra.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:35 PM   #6
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I'm using Logic now with Native Instrument's Komplete 8 Ultimate -- this comes with a string instrument library that has 29 different ways of expressing a string (legato, sustain, glissando, etc...). It also automatically switches the bow direction, so they sound quite good. There are similar ones for brass and woodwinds, so if you're looking for good orchestra instruments, I'd give NI a close look.

Y'know, assuming you're insane like me and are actually willing to spend that much on digital instruments.

(The Kontakt player which plugs into Logic also works with other programs and I think even has a stand-alone mode as well.)

Edit:

Here's a screenshot of the setup window. Of the 29 different expression types, you can assign six per track. They're triggered by playing the red keys (outside of the instruments range). Usable in both live playing and in midi composing.



?? Apparently the image I linked to in my indietalk album isn't showing up. Here's a direct link.

Edit #2: Direct link to the Session Strings Pro page, which has audio examples.

Last edited by escher; 12-18-2012 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:10 AM   #7
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Orchestra, pretty tough. we have in the past used a live stribg trio though (violin, viola, cello). It's nice to have musician friends and access to a recording studio.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZOProductions View Post
Is there any music creation software available that could give a real orchestra sound? I'm willing to earn the amount of money I need to get something like that.
In short, no! You can get pretty close but that requires a serious investment (many tens of thousands) in sample libraries and very powerful computers with loads of RAM. It also requires excellent knowledge of orchestration, the sound of an orchestra and all the individual instruments and a good understanding of how to create space and depth using EQ and high quality reverbs. This is because even the best sample libraries still require considerable amount of work to sound convincing.

For mid budget (and lower) TV drama you can get away with a sampled orchestra but if you want "a real orchestra sound" you still need a real orchestra! Obviously, the further away you get from the best sample libraries (and excellent knowledge/skill) the less realistic will be the result.

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Old 02-24-2013, 10:56 AM   #9
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Sorry about my late reply,

You can achieve great results with limited money. However you have to know what you are doing in terms of both orchestral arranging and using the sounds you have to the best of your ability and the full potential of the sound set. Position in the mix of each individual instrument and the correct ambiance for the size of orchestra and the style of score

I use Cubase with the Miroslav Orchestral, Halion Orchestral and native instruments percussion sound banks. I augment with occasional live instruments as required and I have achieved what I feel to be good results that have fooled people that they are listening to a full orchestra.

If you want drop me a line (rabbott@abbottaerospace.com) and I'll show you want is possible. I'm not looking for paid work right now but if you want some help or collaboration as long at it looks like fun I'll be happy to help out.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:28 AM   #10
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you can create them from scratch if you use alot of great instruments in layers in kontakt and reason (^__*)
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