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  • Score Excerpt - Please Help, for the Love of God.

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    Okay, I admit it: I only bought VSL a few years ago for sketches and to nursemaid young directors through the scoring process. I've always done my scores with professional groups, in many cases the 1st call guys in LA, in the best rooms, so admittedly the bar is high...

    But this is ridiculous. I've been hired to do a couple of TV gigs, so I need to do the score digitally, and I suck at it on so many levels I can't believe it. Hundreds of things which absolutely work, orchestrationally and performance-wise, don't have even close approximations in my set-up.

    Now, a couple of things:

    1) Since I don't use any performance tool stuff, what was I expecting? Well, the problem is that I don't have time to program hundreds of articulations; I'm practically writing these scores in realtime as it is. My score pad has become little more than squiggles across barlines for a basic orchestration guide. Are you guys actually that fast with it?

    2) I have 4 Gigastudios, all which run at peak capacity during tutti stuff, and I use the Gigapulse NFX Pro plug-in on all of them. If I try out the VSL playing tool, will I still have access to the reverb plug-in?

    3) Speaking of which... I don't even want to go into the sound of my "recordings," and I've been an audio engineer for some time...

    I really don't blame this on VSL - the samples are damn good. I use a couple other libraries as well (SAM stuff). But I could really use some help so I'm not utterly embarrassed in a few months when I deliver these scores. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

    I recently got asked to do a Star Wars parody fanfilm, a total Williams-esque Return of the Jedi spoof that I thought would be a perfect chance to practice before the real gigs, so I really tried. Baring my soul, here's an excerpt.

    Pretty much says it all...

    Furry Friends and The Forest Battle

    Thanks in advance,

    _Mike Verta

  • Hi Mike,

    Very nice orchestration!

    And the samples sound reasonably well programmed to me as well.

    If want that extra level of realism you will need to start using the performance tool. The performance articulations are really one of VSL's greatest strengths.

    You can definately use the Pro Edition performance tool and Gigapulse at the same time. If you want to switch to the new VSL VI then you may have to purchase the Gigapulse VST.


  • Yeah, but the Performance Tool.. I'm concerned about the extra time needed... is it do-able? I mean, on these insane deadlines? I know with enough time you can absolutely go bar-by-bar and do a cherry thing, but that's not at all going to happen when you've got 60+ minutes of music to write in 3 weeks. Or, is it?


  • Good stuff there. I would concentrate on writing and hand off the polishing to someone who has the articulations (even though much of that cue is okay as is: so maybe have them polish certain parts that aren't working for you.) Sixty minutes? That's a lot of music in that short of time. (How long did it take you to do that cue?)

    The performance tool is a midi router of sorts and is very easy to use once it's set up. I refer to perf-legato and alternation mode: you won't have to deal with or tweak once they are loaded and saved so they will add zero extra time and effort and things will sound better. Perf-repitition is another thing though and that would require too much time and effort IMHO.

  • Interesting idea... hadn't actually considered that...

    This cue, I think it's around 7 minutes, is about a day and a half's work. But there's no way my best work happens faster than 2 minutes a day, maybe 3 if I've really been hitting the cocaine.

    (That's a joke, folks, relax.)

    Still, I'm glad to hear the legato stuff could improve with little unpleasantness and death; that string stuff just kills me.

    Thanks for the feedback...


  • Coke? Have you tried crack? It depends on what cue you're working on I suppose.

    Keep in mind that ALL performance legato instruments are monophonic so you can't play multiple parts on the same midi track. That's great for four part textures but if you're doing triads (in Vlns for example) it can chew up time even if you perform a part with a regular string patch and copy it over to seperate single line tracks.

    Alternation instruments ARE polyphonic (select polyphonic in the tool) so you can fly with those. In fact the Alternation instruments can cover a multiple of sins by avoiding machine gun effect etc., and breathing life into track.

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    @dpcon said:

    Keep in mind that ALL performance legato instruments are monophonic so you can't play multiple parts on the same midi track.

    Did not know that. Thanks for the heads-up. I have a couple of weeks before I have to start; I may upgrade a library or two and start playing around...


  • Mike,

    Nice work.
    I can understand the desire to produced the finest work possible, but let's be honest, a sample library isn't a live ensemble, and to achieve a comparable level of 'realism' would involve a mountain of work, that may well exceed any time constraints.

    You're in luck though.

    Of the three 'skills' involved in producing work with samples, you've obviously got at least two out of three well and truly covered (Writing and engineering), and the third sounds pretty darn good too. (Inputting) So that's the bit where the PT and the new VI's will not only help, but could, given a period of determined practise and exploration of possibilities (like any 'new instrument'), give you a real sense of speed and capability, in taking and producing finished sampled performance work within tight time constraints, to the level of performance you expect.

    Without a long diatribe into the why's and wherefore's of using the performance tool, and multiple articulations, i respectufully suggest you consider, as a possible purchase, the Symphonic Cube, or components of it. There's been a LOT of really talented sample performance chaps here waxing lyrical about the improvement in workflow, sample articulation manipulation, automation, and speed.

    And you're not the only one who's struggling with working skills.

    My audio engineering capabilities are about as desirable as passing wind in a spacesuit. [[:|]]



  • Yes, I think I'm going to pick up one of the new libraries today - strings, most likely, since it's hands-down the most problematic section, performance-wise, and see what it feels like.

    I know it's not reasonable to expect to fully capture or recreate a truly virtuosic performance, but the audience doesn't care much about our problems, do they? They're either moved by the score or they're not. In fact, that, to me, is the real line between samples and live-playing... a lot of "laypeople" can't tell the difference in terms of sound, but they can all tell the difference in terms of how it feels. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the experience is somewhat relative - they'll never hear the live version played back-to-back with the sampled version to make a comparison. But if the sampled version doesn't have the right feel, no matter how good it sounds, then the net effect may simply be less dramatically effective music, when the music isn't actually the problem.

    Nothing new being said here - this is obviously the challenge and point of the entire VSL. But having actually had to rely on samples to communicate musically, I'm surprised just how wide the gap really is. What I'm hoping to find, in the pursuit of more human articulations and performance, is just enough additional humanity so I don't feel the entire core is lost. I will say one thing though, having used synths and samplers since the 80's - we sure have come a long way.


  • I don't see any reason why you should not be able to achieve an equal sonic quality as "Forbidden Warrior" when mixing "Furry Friends and The Forest Battle". I don’t care for a portamento or legato more here and there. You already managed to get a nearly equal crest factor for "Furry Friends and The Forest Battle", and the sonic signature of a movie sound is also there. Adjusting the remaining differences in the mix should be an easy and fast done task.

  • Mike,don't discount cocaine-it's helped me through more than one marriage!

    [:D] *Guffaw*

    Seriously,I thought Furry Friends was well done and executed.My only caveat is those high ,grating string patches(unless of course they are meant to sound that way.)Also remember that YOU are your own worst critic and that,objectively,most of your audience is not going to put your music under an electron microscope.This does not release you from doing your very best-however there is only so much tweaking and fussing that can be done lest you hammer the project into an early grave.

    I would trust in your logic and musical and technical instincts and go ahead and do the work.Play your work for "civilians" and see how they react to it.
    Find a way to streamline your workflow so you are concentrating on the music and NOT on whether your portamento is working properly,or not.

    Achieving a "comparable level of realism'" does not necessarily involve a "mountain of work" nor should it.I myself have been "faking out" people for years,often on gear that you wouldn't believe.You have a Rolls Royce in comparison to my beat up Edsel so,just keep at it.

  • yea, and rather than get Giga Pulse VST I'd get a mac mini to run altiverb.

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    @magates said:

    yea, and rather than get Giga Pulse VST I'd get a mac mini to run altiverb.

    Interesting idea. Do you mean pipe everything through the mini which is running Altiverb only?

  • Yes, it requires an extra audio interface though. you need at least a few ins and outs. reverb is the final plugin before mastering so it makes sense right?

  • I just bought a mini and have a Profire Lightbridge (setup is for sample streaming) but that configuration may change. I'm currently running 3-4 Altiverb stems in DP and also Plogue outside running VI Brass I (which is too much for my Dual 2.7 G5.) So I have pulled my VSL Brass I off the G5 and onto the mini. Bottom line being how to tax the G5 less since I want to run plugins like Sylus etc there as well. So I think off-loading Altiverb is a very good idea and something to keep in mind. Although it's a rather expensive reverb solution if you think about it!

  • Mike,maybe you should pick sonrises brain about *his* workflow.
    Have you checked out his scoring job on "Finding Lost"?


  • [quote=mverta]Yes, I think I'm going to pick up one of the new libraries today - strings, most likely, since it's hands-down the most problematic section, performance-wise, and see what it feels like.

    I just got the VSL instrument Special edition with the extra instruments and the appassionata strings they are fantastic, I also have the Pro edition (Performance)with the ESX in logic, its nice because the esx streams off the drive,

    I'd love to see your orchestral setup, are you running logic?


  • Here's what I ended up doing, incidentally:

    I have Pro Tools HD 3 running on Mac OS X, with two interfaces, a 192, and a 192 Digital. The 192 I put a second digital expansion board in.

    With two channels of lightpipe per interface, I now have a discrete digital output (8 channels each) for each of my 4 Gigastudio PC's.

    I route those into Pro Tools, and have given individual Altiverbs to each section, with a few subsections. For example, Brass has Tpt/Tbn on one input/Altiverb, and Horns have their own input/Altiverb. Same with Percussion, which is using several subgroups for position and routing.

    From a setup standpoint, it's bliss - I have precise control over the placement and verb settings for each group in a predictable way, and the whole thing is digitally routed so it's perfectly clean. I'm actually running Digital Performer on the same Mac at the same time, so I'm sequencing in DP, but monitoring in Pro Tools. Anytime I want, I can put Pro Tools into record mode, or I can import the DP sequence into Pro Tools and run it from there.

    I ended up replacing my VSL strings with SonicImplants, by the way, with a few VSL's thrown in for some special uses/articulations. I just liked the sound better. VSL remains a huge part of the palette, with a lot of SAM percussion and a few SAM Brass things for layers.


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    @mverta said:

    I ended up replacing my VSL strings with SonicImplants, by the way, with a few VSL's thrown in for some special uses/articulations. _Mike

    Which VSL strings are you talking about Mike? The usual ones or Appa Strings?

  • Right now the usual ones... I haven't gotten the Appa's yet. The appa's might make a nice layer, but I needed the full set of articulations with the same quality/air around them, so I had to basically use all SI stuff.