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Topic: Using real orchestras for film scores – how much longer?

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  1. #1
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    Using real orchestras for film scores – how much longer?

    How much more time before even the major studios require all orchestral scores to be delivered by the composer using his/her sample library? Some will argue that even if libraries improve in the next few years and get even better, there will still be no real replacement for a seated orhestra. Most people would agree with that statement. But will the producers and studios agree? Or will they start to follow the TV industry trend? Sure, the top guys like John Williams, Howard Shore, James Horner, James Newton Howard, etc. will demand and get a real orchestra. But for the up and coming composers with little to no clout, well, they are in a position to demand nothing.



    Just wondering what the rest of you think about this.



    Cheers. :-)

  2. #2

    Re: Using real orchestras for film scores – how much longer?

    I doubt orchestras on a whole will be thrown out the window. I dont think it will change much from today (that said... lets see what VSL has up their sleaves - then maybe I might change my statement)

  3. #3

    Re: Using real orchestras for film scores – how much longer?

    When VHS came out, there was a great cry from the film industry that it would hurt the industry. The opposite happened. VHS pretty much created a larger demand for more movies from Hollywood. Obviously, Hollywood is having some trouble now due to home theaters and movies on demand. But the public still demands more quality films. Is it possible that this is what is happening with sample libraries? It seems that there is a definate reasurgence in orchestral writing and therefore a demand for quality orchestral scores. What do you think?

  4. #4

    Re: Using real orchestras for film scores – how much longer?

    Quality of music and recording aside, a real orchestra is sometimes used for the snob value alone. I recently did an orchestration gig where this was certainly the reason for using a 65 piece orchestra.
    In any case, when time is of the essence I still think that it is quicker to work with "live" players.

    D

  5. #5

    Re: Using real orchestras for film scores – how much longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daryl
    ...In any case, when time is of the essence I still think that it is quicker to work with "live" players.

    D
    Right on !!
    (The bean counters have always signed checks, not autographs .. ).

    Probably a little more wiggle room in film,.. but try making major ( or even minor ) timing changes ( on a live scoring stage) to a pre or semi mixed library track behind a cue for television .... then you'll find out who your real enemies are .. ( you won't even want to show others that you carry a cell phone ).

    -- atonal

  6. #6

    Re: Using real orchestras for film scores – how much longer?

    I've tossed this idea back and forth. Basically it is what it is. Low budgets will use samples and big budgets will use live orchestra. Period.


    Will sample scores go into movies that make big money. You bet.

    But, with that being said. It takes forever to score a film with samples. Too long. When I was doing a lot of live scoring I could bang out a score in about 5 to 8 weeks. With samples the time has doubled.

    As samples get better you will hear more sampled scores in big films not as a replacement, but as a means of artistic choice. Not every cue sounds better with live orchestra, but most do.

    Ars

  7. #7
    Senior Member Nigel W's Avatar
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    Re: Using real orchestras for film scores – how much longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske
    Certainly, at some point, samples or some other virtual instrument technology will rival the real thing. We've got a LONG way to go before that happens, though. Anybody who doubts this is either engaged in wishful thinking, or hasn't heard a real instrument for a long time.

    Lee Blaske
    Agree -listening to a real instrument- preferably played live and unamplified- will soon answer that question. Actually, I dont think samples will ever replace the massed artistry of an orchestra of skilled musicians. I saw a virtuoso cellist close up at a concert last week, and his mastery of the instrument and passionate playing reminded me that even very good music made with samples can't get remotely close in terms of dynamics and flowing interpretation.

    Whether there's some technology around the corner which will make the illusion more possible, I don't know; but it won't give anybody the ears and intimate knowledge that a long time working with one instrument brings.

    So, however good the samples get, the Real Thing will always have its place. Aren't we all glad of that?

    Nigel

  8. #8
    Senior Member Nigel W's Avatar
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    Re: Using real orchestras for film scores – how much longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by awpmusic
    according to who? You and me - yes - but for the average listener in an audience I don't think it matters at all - they just don't notice.
    they may not notice,but I bet in an A/B test most people would prefer the human one. Depends very much on the material and style though, and how far individual instruments are exposed, so in that respect you have a point.

    Nigel

  9. #9

    Re: Using real orchestras for film scores – how much longer?

    The bigger risk is changing tastes. In a decade people may expect post-hip-hop soundtracks for all of the big action films. Orchestral scores may start to sound dated and fuddy-duddy. Sure, orchestral timbres will still be used for tear jerkers, but will many romances be made with budgets for live orchestras?

    John Williams' Star Wars made the big film score cool again. Anything that can become cool can also become uncool, given enough time (only to become cool again, given more time).

    -JF

  10. #10
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    Re: Using real orchestras for film scores – how much longer?

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst
    Anything that can become cool can also become uncool, given enough time (only to become cool again, given more time).
    -JF
    It's not whether it's a sampled or live orchestra or any of this technical stuff. It's whether a musical genre becomes overplayed. 250 years ago everything was live -and everything was quite capable of going in and out of style.

    Audiences, I agree, could probably spot the difference on an A/B analysis (although I don't know so much actually) - they care more about whether the noise they're listening to appeals. They are not musicians and an A/B game wouldn't really be a real world scenario anyway.

    It's genres - not orchestras or electronic or anything like that in my view.

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