Virtual Instrument Libraries | The Hybrid Score

Jan 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Gary Eskow

VIRTUAL INSTRUMENT LIBRARIES FOR HIGH-END PRODUCTION

Polls


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Take the time machine back just a few years—to 2005, say, or 2006—and you will see that the model that composers working to picture followed was fairly universal. Their DAWs might differ, with Mac the preferred sequencer platform for most. Some worked on PCs, but most composers had multiple computers (up to a half-dozen or more) networked together. Limitations in speed, RAM and hard disk size made it impossible for them to produce scores under the time pressures that the industry imposed using only one or two computers.

Not that it was impossible to execute large orchestral tracks on one of these antiquated beasts. Even then, audio playback placed only a modest burden on a computer. If you wrote out detailed scores prior to turning on your box and were content with loading up just three or four virtual instruments at one time, with limited signal processors in-line, impressive results were achievable.

The doors have been blown open in the past year or two with the proliferation of 64-bit processors and large, cheap hard drives. And sample library developers responded. More articulations, greater realism, interfaces that are smarter and easier to use abound. Though composers making a living scoring to picture still sprinkle several computers around their studios, a single DAW—like the dual Athlon Windows 7 machine that ADK Pro Audio built for me two years ago—can hold lots of samples in resident memory, and it’s Usain Bolt fast.

Given the changes that have taken place during the past several years, Mix assembled a panel of composers who make their living writing music for film, TV and games. What do they think of recent developments, and how have new technologies affected their workflow?

Rob Pottorf

Rob Pottorf

THE PANEL
After spending a decade as senior music composer with Paramount Parks, Rob Pottorf moved into the film and television arena. His recent film projects include The Trial and Unrequited.

New Jersey native Kevin Kliesch is a composer and orchestrator who has lived in Los Angeles since 1996. Last year, Kliesch arranged Alan Menken’s score to the Walt Disney animated film Tangled, and is currently working with Menken on the score to Mirror, Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White, starring Julia Roberts.

David Newman

David Newman

David Newman is well known to Mix readers. In addition to scoring numerous major Hollywood films, Newman is a violinist and conductor. He was elected president of The Film Music Society in 2007 and, in 2009 was given the Richard Kirk Award, designating outstanding contributions to film and television music.

Florida resident Colin O’Malley is an Emmy-nominated composer who scores films, television projects and interactive games. His orchestral scores have been performed by a number of ensembles, and for the past several years O’Malley has worked as orchestrator and arranger for Yanni.

Still shy of 30, Nathan Furst already has an impressive list of credits under his belt. Furst scored Act of Valor, scheduled for release in February 2012, and has been contracted to write music for the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle Black Sands, which begins shooting in the spring.






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