Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
Forum Statistics

181,879 users have contributed to 42,190 threads and 254,623 posts.

In the past 24 hours, we have 3 new thread(s), 18 new post(s) and 58 new user(s).

  • What do most film composers use for a DAW? I know its not Pro Tools.

    I just Watched youtube video after youtube video and they have the camera interviewing the composer just far enough that I can't make out the DAW. I can see enough that its not Pro Tools. I think most of them are Cubase but they could be sonar or logic too? Maybe even digital performer. My question is what is the industry standard for film composing? Because all those composers were using the same software. I just couldn't tell what it is. What is a DAW interface that looks like Cubase?

  • last edited
    last edited

    @Jeffrey Peterson said:

    [...] What is a DAW interface that looks like Cubase?

    Nuendo! 😊

    -> [URL][/URL]

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • I used to use Sonar like 6 or 7 yrs ago. Then I switched to Nuendo, and have been using Cubase for the last 2 yrs or so. It brilliant!

  • Well, I'm a film composer, and I compose in Pro Tools.  And so does James Horner.  Of course, he does "Avatar" and "Titanic", and I do indie films that maybe open in one theater, but that's beside the point.  I mention Horner because there is a long promotional video of him on the Avid site talking about the benefits of Pro Tools.

    Most other composers I know use DP, especially those in their mid-forties or older - they probably started with Performer or Studio Vision and stayed with it.  Most my age or younger I know use Logic.  Curiously I don't personally know anyone using Cubase or Nuendo.  

    I really like Pro Tools in combination with Vienna Ensemble Pro.  Unlike James Horner I don't use any of the built-in VI's nor many of the effects. One of the conveniences is that you have to deliver in Pro Tools, and it saves doing a conversion or OMF, which can be time-consuming and annoying.   The score window is workable, not great, but the midi editor is better than Logic's in my opinion.  Also, Pro Tools can do 23.98, Logic seems to think all 24 frame is the same.  Again, small point but annoying.   

  • last edited
    last edited

    @john_1332 said:

    Also, Pro Tools can do 23.98, Logic seems to think all 24 frame is the same.

    Logic supports many frame rates including 23.98

  • I've recently switched to composing in Pro-Tools 8. And it's as every bit as good for composing in as any other sequencer. Not many people realize that the midi engine in Pro-Tools has always been pretty solid .. even since version 5.

    Only thing I would wish for is to use Node points for breath and expression automation like with Logic ... and a tempo / time signature list for easy manipulation of signatures.

    I think it's fair to say that no sequencer is all that different when it comes down to it .. but the way they work is different. And it's a case of you being comfortable with that system. I had to use Logic out of necessity when I had the VSL but I'd been using Pro-Tools 5.0.1 and cubase prior to that.

    And I have to say that I really like and prefer the sound quality that Pro-Tools 8 gives. I'd guess that a lot of film composers probably use Logic to create, but they'll have a few different DAWs to work with. But just as many probably also use Sibelius or Finale. James Horner uses Sibelius to compose .. And Pro-Tools to follow on (There's a vid about that on the Pro-Tools site for his work on Avatar.)

  •  It all depends on what MIDI features you need. ProTools (or Logic for that matter) doesn't have many features that I reply on day to day, so for me it would be a non starter. Couple that with the relatively poor RTAS performance, and it is just too far behind Nuendo. However, if you don';t need those advanced features, then there is no reason not to use ProTools or any other DAW for that matter. They all sound the same anyway. [;)]


  • Poor RTAS performance? .. Really??. Personally I find RTAS extremely good on my system. Very reliable. VSL works like a dream .. as does Altiverb. Perhaps it is different on PC and Mac. I have noticed that VSL's VI's are only in RTAS format for the Mac. I'd just say don't write off Pro-Tools as being a bad system. But I can understand someone wanting more in depth midi features using another system.

    I wouldn't have the first clue about more midi features .. as long as I have my midi controllers .. and a midi editor, I really can't imagine what else I'd need. I feel I can do anything with this :P Lets just say that Pro-tools suits a simple minded guy like myself.

  • last edited
    last edited

    @hetoreyn said:

    [...] I have noticed that VSL's VI's are only in RTAS format for the Mac. [...]

    I think I understood what you were trying to say, Heto (... "When it comes to ProTools, Vienna Instruments are only available for Mac, as RTAS plugin (not as TDM plugin) - while there is no solution at all for ProTools / Windows right now.")

    Just for the sake of completeness: Of course  Vienna Instruments are available as AU-plugins on Mac, too. 😊

    Kind regards,

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • last edited
    last edited

    @hetoreyn said:

    Poor RTAS performance? .. Really??.


    Yes. My system needs to run quite a lot of Instruments at a lowish latency, which ProTools can't do on either OS. If you don't need to work the way I do, then there is no problem with ProTools for a composer.


  • I use Logic and always have.  Occasionally I will switch to Pro Tools for recording myself playing guitars and all recording sessions with live musicians are recorded and mixed in PT but for writing it's pretty much always Logic.

  • Hi, I came across your posts because I am trying to find this out myself for certain, and the posts seem to be a lot of bias so I thought I'd share what I've found to be true.

    Klaus Badelt uses Pro Tools, and almost all projects go through Pro Tools by the end, so to say that you know it's not Pro Tools is kinda silly considering it is the top dog for recording and anything you see on the screen has gone through it at some point (typically mixing).

    For the most part, you're all wrong. The prevalent DAW for film game and TV composing is Digital Performer from MOTU. Not a software for beginners. However, many artists simply use DP to compose, and then everything is carted over to Pro Tools. My suspected reasoning is that DP has a way better interface for composing while Pro Tools is the industry standard for literally everything else. For example, Danny Elfman uses DP, but if you look at his interviews he's got a quite sophisticated Pro Tools HD rig in the back. Michael Giacchino also uses DP and mixes in Pro Tools, and so does Bear McCreary. Keep in mind that top composers wind up recording real orchestras, and there is nothing that can handle that better than a good Pro Tools HD rig.

    My Music 67B teacher (Film, Game, and TV composition) insists that Logic also holds a large share in the market, but couldn't present one name in the top of the industry who uses Logic Pro. The feeling I get is that this is because Logic has a large share in the amateur market because it is a cheap alternative to other DAWs, but it fails to offer the stability or features that professionals need.

    Hans Zimmer uses Cubase for composing, and insists that people in his studio use it as well. Many of the people who work in his studio and left are still using Cubase. If you watch Hans Zimmer's interviews, especially for his sample libraries, then you'll see he still uses Pro Tools HD for recording.

    Keep in mind that you can use whatever you want to get the composition done (I use Sibelius and Pro Tools since they work well together due to both being developed by AVID) as long as at the end of the day you have your scores for your musicians and/or your MIDI files for yourself. The DAW just brings together all the recording and sample libraries. You should focus more on finding a process that works for you than mimicking what the pros do, and finding some good sample libraries.

    Mind you, anyone who suggests that all DAWs do the same thing with a different workflow has obviously never extensively used one, and probably hasn't used at all more than two. To add to that, don't underestimate having a good workflow. You want your DAW to be a tool to get your work done, not an obstacle between yourself and the creative process. Personally, I've never been anything but happy using Pro Tools midi editor and Sibelius, but other people might feel differently and that is okay. Try different software to find the one that best fits your needs. Don't ever get married to the first DAW you use, otherwise I'd still be using Sonar. BTW, Sonar is generally the joke of the pro audio world (right next to Logic Pro). The only reason why sonar picked up so much steam in the first place is because of the Roland sound boards that exclusively worked with Sonar. Even then, most of the professionals carted the audio files to Pro Tools anyway. And keep in mind that Apple generally doesn't give things away for cheap. If apple is selling something for 200$, then don't go thinking it's equivalent to a 700$ software platform.

  • I've heard that James Horner has a DAW that can copy instantly any score he plays back in audio!  Especially classical scores that can be converted instantly  into a useable film score just like the score to Willow from Schumann's 3rd symphony, anything from Shostakovitch, Tchaikovsky, Charles Ives,  you-name-it!    Also, Zimmer has a DAW that can create an instant score with just pads and percussion track, NOTHING ELSE NEEDED!  And nevertheless you get a gig for the biggest film being made!  We need those DAWs! 

    Actually, to be honest, and to get serious here -  I want the one that Gustav Mahler used.    His was the best.  His DAW was awesome and if I get it - just you wait - I'll be doing the 11th Symphony!

  • [D] 

    Dorico, Notion, Sibelius, StudioOne, Cubase, Staffpad VE Pro, Synchon, VI, Kontakt Win11 x64, 64GB RAM, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20, August Forster 190
  • [D][I] Can you imagine the RSI in having to write a Hans score 100 years ago? Don't cheat with the % (approximate) sign now....

    Seriously, I feel like an infinitesimal insignificant mollusc for using Logic Pro. I would appreciate it if somebody would take a minute here to explain why sp many professionals use DP, and nobody Logic Pro. I'm being serious, I'd love to know; specifically the advantages it offers for a Horner, Williams, etc. like score. I am not interested if it just it loops beats better.

  • Logic Pro is just fine. Henry Jackman uses it. John Powell uses it. David Arnold too I think.

    They're all good in their own ways and yes, they don't all do the same things. (I'm mainly talking about DP, Cubase, and Logic) It all comes down to what really works for you.

    I spent years wondering the same thing and after trying many different DAWs and working with lots of professionals that use different DAWs, I came to the conclusion that it doesn't matter as long as you like the workflow of that particular DAW.

    Honestly, I don't think as many people use DP as people have made it sound in these forums. I worked at Remote Control Productions for some time and everyone uses Cubase or Logic.

    That doens't mean that DP is bad btw. There are features that I really wish Logic or Cubase would steal from DP.

    A lot of the guys on DP are on DP because that's what they started using decades ago, and a lot of them don't want to change because... why should they if it works for them?

    It's true that DP has some awesome features for film scoring. Multiple chunks (ie you can have multiple cues per project). You can make your click behave exactly how you want it regardless of what your tempo is set to (which is the same with Pro Tools). I'm sure there are more.

    Cubase is in my opinion the best for midi mockup work. The possibilities that you can have with its logical editor are amazing. You can select every 2nd 16th notes and do specific things to those (that's just a small example of the power behind Cubase). You can see multiple controller lanes all at once (and not on top of each other in the annoying way like DP does it - someone correct me if I'm wrong) There are many more but I'm too lazy to write them down...

    Logic has the logical editor, where you can do some crazy routing between things as well as midi transformations like Cubase. I remember liking the default plugins.

    Yes, a lot of the big guys use Protools but only for routing all the audio there. It makes it easier when you have lots of slave machines that don't necessarily use VEP and/or when you need to give all the mockup stems to mixers (that use PT 99% of the time) Almost no one uses Protools for midi because it's still not as good even though it has improved dramatically in the last couple updates. (I don't use protools much either way so someone can probably expand on protools' midi capabilities)

    To summarize, just try them all, find out what you'd rather use composing everyday. Find out which DAW allows you to get your job done in the most efficient way for your particular workflow.

    Please don't feel like an infinitesimal insignificant mollusc for using Logic Pro. If that's the DAW that works for you, then that's what works for you.

    In the end, no top professional is going to care what DAW you use as long as you get the job done.

    However, I do think that having at least an intermediate grasp of all DAWs is very useful. Not only does it make you versatile but it'll allow you to know exactly why you picked your favorite DAW.

    Also... there are some composer who like to switch DAWs every once in a while because they get bored...

  • Great feature in Logic that nobody has is the Environnement and Scripter (you can program in Logic)

    They also have all the tools to sync and correct audio. The draw back is that there is no Expression Mapping

    MacBook Pro M3 MAX 128 GB 8TB - 2 x 48" screen --- Logic Pro --- Mir Pro 3D --- Most of the VI libs, a few Synch... libs --- Quite a few Kontakt libs --- CS80 fanatic
  • Hmmm... I agree that a programming e(E)nvironment in any program is very welcome and compliant. DP Chunks sounds like a great tool too (not too difficult for Logic to emulate), and Expression Maps would augment efficiency logarithmically.

    And yes Bill, inspiration and musicianship are paramount, but it is up to someone Else to program those into our own personal DNA(W)s.

  • I just discovered a great 9 minute YouTube movie from MOTU, showcasing their film scoring features.


    has some great features for integrating a movie file into the DAW workflow, e.g.
    • Routing the original movie's tracks (dialogue/effects) into mixer channels (without importing)
    • Showing the movie in its own window or separate full-screen display
    • Showing thumbnails of the film inside your sequence tracks
    • Exporting audio and movie into a new movie file to show the director your work in progress.

    You can set up multiple sequences (il.e. scenes) within the same project file.  This lets you utilize the same array of virtual instruments, effects, etc. across scenes, and reference the same movie file, with each sequence starting at it's on timecode.

    For "live" conducting or performing, DP lets you set markers that generate streamers or punches superimposed in the movie window. 

    It also has a powerful conductor track, to manage tempo changes.  There is also a tempo calculator to help you find a best-fit tempo based on hit points you've marked in the project.


    For background:  I am a DP user.  I previously used Cubase (ten years ago), and liked it a lot, but DP offered better film scoring features.  Not sure first-hand what Cubase offers today, but I've gotten the impression DP is still ahead.  

    About twenty years go, my first DAW ever was C-Lab Notator for Atari ST - the predecessor to Logic.  At that time, Logic was considered very powerful but also kind of complex to work with.  But over the years, and leading into their acquisition by Apple, I think it's gotten easier to use.  So, anyway, I'm a case in point for what was posted previously:  Every now and then we all have to take a fresh look at what's out there and decide what seems to work best for our current needs!

    p.s. If you google "film scoring challenge logic vs digital performer" - someone else has done a comparison video that I found interesting, and might have some more perspective for you.


    look like this guy dont know the use of folder in Logic, this much better than chunck as you can make many music proposition for one scene, juste muting and unmuting folders 

    MacBook Pro M3 MAX 128 GB 8TB - 2 x 48" screen --- Logic Pro --- Mir Pro 3D --- Most of the VI libs, a few Synch... libs --- Quite a few Kontakt libs --- CS80 fanatic