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Topic: GPO vs Live Orchestra Recording

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  1. #1

    GPO vs Live Orchestra Recording

    Here's an article I just found, by a composer who prefers to conduct his recordings with live orchestra.

    http://www.music4games.net/f_merregnon_prague.html

    The author compares the cost and time and logistics of live recording as opposed to using computer-generated sounds. Surprisingly he finds a few dozen warm bodies scraping and blowing in a studio cheaper than a small team processing all the sounds synthetically.

    Can any GPO user who's worked with orchestras comment on this? I found the page because I was curious about the cost and logistics of orchestral recording.

    Those of you interested in commercial composition should browse around that site, if you don't already know it. Not my scene, but looks like a very useful central source if you like music for computer games.

  2. #2

    Re: GPO vs Live Orchestra Recording

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Smith
    Here's an article I just found, by a composer who prefers to conduct his recordings with live orchestra.

    http://www.music4games.net/f_merregnon_prague.html

    The author compares the cost and time and logistics of live recording as opposed to using computer-generated sounds. Surprisingly he finds a few dozen warm bodies scraping and blowing in a studio cheaper than a small team processing all the sounds synthetically.

    Can any GPO user who's worked with orchestras comment on this? I found the page because I was curious about the cost and logistics of orchestral recording.

    Those of you interested in commercial composition should browse around that site, if you don't already know it. Not my scene, but looks like a very useful central source if you like music for computer games.
    That's a fascinating article and I always love reading the thoughts of people who go 'against the flow'. He is wrong of course, doubly so if the composer is a computer/sequencer-based-composer, but still a great article and he makes a good case- so thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention Doug!

  3. #3

    Re: GPO vs Live Orchestra Recording

    Live recording may or may not be less expensive, depending on one's criteria and the circumstances. I posted before rereading carefully. What the composer says is that the man-hours for live recording and synthesis are about the same, if the level of quality is to be truly professional. So if he records in Prague, where musician labor is cheaper than sound editors in California, and far cheaper than studio time here, the producer may save money.

    There is an equation I learned when doing technical documentation that seems to have universal application. Vendor says to client:

    You can have your product fast, or good, or cheap -- but not all three.

    The better orchestral samples are sounding pretty impressive today, but producing good final output is never fast.

  4. #4
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
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    Re: GPO vs Live Orchestra Recording

    I think you can get by with a class B orchestra at $50 per hour per player in the USA

    For a 25 member band thats $5000 for a 4 hour session. About 30 minutes of music (although unions stipulate 4 per hour). Not bad really...Make it a full day and thats a measly $10K. You could do the strings/Perc in the AM and the WW/Brass in the afternoon in a small studio

    Thanks for the article...

  5. #5

    Re: GPO vs Live Orchestra Recording

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Smith
    There is an equation I learned when doing technical documentation that seems to have universal application. Vendor says to client:
    You can have your product fast, or good, or cheap -- but not all three.
    Actually, the rule is - pick any two.

    It seems to me that his concepts only apply if you are 100% sure of every part of your orchestration - voicing, bowing, etc. all perfect on paper. If you are good enough (or arrogant enough ) to work this way (and do your crossword puzzles with a pen, to boot!) then this can work, but I can't see how it takes any longer to write the same assumed orchestration into GPO, not spend a lot of time tweaking the orchestra, but use it to find mistakes or changes, THEN print the score and go to Prague.

    But what do I know - I'm still waiting for JABB, because I don't write for orchestra, just jazz band...
    Dasher
    -------
    It's all about the music - really. I keep telling myself that...

  6. #6

    Lightbulb Re: GPO vs Live Orchestra Recording

    I think it was Gary Garritan himself that wrote an article about the apparent affordability of today's orchestras - and how it's truly a viable option...

    Also, check out the interview he did for O'Reilly Media - where he asserts the correct presumption that having more people accurately emulating real orchestration will actually *help* bring more work to real players - rather than compete with them.

    I try to make it clear that our virtual instruments and libraries are designed to inspire musicians, not replace them. Musicians are not being replaced, but the instruments they play are evolving into digital realms. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Stravinsky: All the great composers embraced new music technologies as they became available. Tchaikovsky was on the leading edge of technology when he used a new instrument called the celeste on the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy."
    Given that GPO gets you closer to a real performance than other libraries - AND - integrates with notation programs better than other libraries - it seems that GPO is the *last* place to look for value comparison of virtual versus the real thing. Perhaps you should be posting this question on the VSL, EastWest, or Sonic Implants forums...

    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  7. #7

    Re: GPO vs Live Orchestra Recording

    Hey, did anyone notice, this article looks to be written by the one and only Andy Brick, a user of GPO and friend of Mr. Garritan.
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  8. #8

    Re: GPO vs Live Orchestra Recording

    Perhaps Andy Brick will answer questions about the article here: he's popped up every now and then, having been a key player on the team that made the first GPO Competition performance happen.

    I'm hesitant to agree with Andy's assertions, but will agree with his caveat of "with the right composer". Adding to that, though, you must also have the right *producer*, namely one that is capable of giving you all the cues needed with exact times in advance and *locking them in*. If you don't have this, then it will be a big headache when you deliver the score and changes or additions are requested later.

    Now someone like me, being the *wrong* composer , would be willing to work for far less money on a budget production. Andy, on the other hand, would be able to swing the "is it worth it?" question far better than I ever could, being so established and experienced!

    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

  9. #9
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    Re: GPO vs Live Orchestra Recording

    I think the problem would arise when the client shows the finished music to the client's wife, who says its wonderful but wouldn't it be even nicer if that last note was on the clarinet and not the tuba. Back to Prague? Or back to computer?

  10. #10

    Re: GPO vs Live Orchestra Recording

    Hi Everyone,

    Indeed that was my article. I wrote that article in Sept 2001 right after finishing Merregnon 2. At that time the exchange rate was 42 Kc = 1USD At that rate you could get a top quality orchestra for about USD 10/player/hour-all in.

    I just came home yesterday from Prague where I rehearsed with the 96 members of the Filmharmonic of Prague for 3 days then headed to Leipzig where I conducted a concert at the Gewandhaus. The street exchange rate as of last Friday was about 22 Kc = 1 USD. That same player is now more than twice as expensive.

    If you do the math it was pretty easy to see that back then it didnt really pay to sequence certain big orchestral scores if you had the chops to write in a manner that would very efficiently expedite the orchestration and copying process. Please make no doubt about it. I saved a lot of game companies a lot of money and delivered high quality live orchestral scores for less than I would have had to charge if I was asked to sequence the entire thing to a quality level acceptable in A list games.

    Today, its much harder to accomplish this task. The dollar has been killed by the Euro over the last 4 years. My breakfast in Prague on Saturday morning cost as much as it would have in NYC. Sample libraries including GPO get better and better and sit more comfortably in the ears of the beholder. But what about going the other way?? How about a string quartet? If I can get 4 Julliard students to knock off 10 minutes of string quartet in one hour at a cost of $130 is there anyone who dare claim they could yield a satisfactory result with samples for the same fee? If sequencing a convincing 90 piece orchestra with a top notch sample library in the hands of a magician is a very daunting prospect I suggest sequencing a string quartet would be even more difficult and less cost effective.

    Please understand I love GPO and I definitely could not work on a daily basis without GOS. To a great extent sample libraries fostered my development towards live orchestra. This is precisely why I am such an advocate of what Gary is doing. On Sims 2 I had to actually call Gary on the phone to ask about one of the extended Celli samples in GOS. I didnt know how to put forth on paper that which I found in the library until Gary explained what that sample was doing. To a great extent, these libraries foster our development as musicians and I, for one, am all for that.

    I appreciate all of your comments and thank you for the opportunity to explain this situation.

    Best regards,
    Andy Brick
    ....................
    Phone: 917-327-0293
    Email: andy@andybrick.com
    Web: http://www.andybrick.com
    AIM: andybrick
    Skype: andrewbrick

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