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Topic: Budget planning for real orchestra...

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  1. #1

    Question Budget planning for real orchestra...

    In the past I've been doing almost exclusively sample-based orchestral music, so it was pretty easy to estimate a budget. Now I have been asked to estimate the music production costs for a much bigger production and the producers want to use a real orchestra (I would guess standard size). So they asked me how much it would cost for all the music. I am not too keen on package-deals, but would like to give them a rough estimate of all the costs involved in such a production.

    So, does anyone know where I could look for resources that could help me:
    1) Find and detail everything that need to be paid regarding music (musicians, sound engineer, studio, conductor, etc...).
    2) How can I roughly estimate the studio time needed to record 90 minutes of music, given the music is really in sync with the action (almost mickey-mousing)?

    What would be nice to have is kind of a grid that lines up all possible expenses with usual fees involved... I am sure such resources exist somewhere... Anyone?

    Thanks!
    Martin Lachance, Composer
    www.martinlachance.com

  2. #2

    Re: Budget planning for real orchestra...

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinL
    In the past I've been doing almost exclusively sample-based orchestral music, so it was pretty easy to estimate a budget. Now I have been asked to estimate the music production costs for a much bigger production and the producers want to use a real orchestra (I would guess standard size). So they asked me how much it would cost for all the music. I am not too keen on package-deals, but would like to give them a rough estimate of all the costs involved in such a production.

    So, does anyone know where I could look for resources that could help me:
    1) Find and detail everything that need to be paid regarding music (musicians, sound engineer, studio, conductor, etc...).
    2) How can I roughly estimate the studio time needed to record 90 minutes of music, given the music is really in sync with the action (almost mickey-mousing)?

    What would be nice to have is kind of a grid that lines up all possible expenses with usual fees involved... I am sure such resources exist somewhere... Anyone?

    Thanks!
    The Musicians' Union will have all the rates that you need to know. In the UK you are allowed to record a maximum of 24 minutes music in a 3 hour session, but aim for about a 20 minute maximum, even if the music is very easy. Studios will be able to give you a daily or hourly rate, but don't forget to figure in a producer or conductor (whichever one isn't you). If you are an experienced orchestrator then you only have to figure in copying and printing costs, but if not, make sure (at the very least) that you get someone with a lot of experience to look at your scores before you reach the session. Remember, orchestrator's time = cheap; orchestra's time = extortionate..!

    Daryl

  3. #3

    Re: Budget planning for real orchestra...

    I have a suspicion that the people wanting a price don't have any idea of the extraordinary cost that may be involved. Therefore, if this were my problem, I would call some studios and possibly others (producers) who regularly do this type of work and get some estimates from them. Then, if warranted, I would go into a detailed budget.

    Here is a link to a thread that discusses using Eastern European Orchestras. In the thread there are links to specific articles and info on the subject.
    http://northernsounds.com/forum/show...eastern+europe

    There is some key info that is not in your post that might help others with answers, such as where must the music be recorded, must it be recorded to picture, how big and what kind of an orchestra is needed, etc.

  4. #4

    Re: Budget planning for real orchestra...

    Try Symphonic Workshop. They have good orchestras in Europe play and record your score with no re-use fees and for decent rates. A 60 minute score with an 80 piece group will cost $10,000. That's recording, rehearsals, CD master, etc. Pretty decent.

  5. #5

    Exclamation Re: Budget planning for real orchestra...

    Quote Originally Posted by dcoscina
    Try Symphonic Workshop. They have good orchestras in Europe play and record your score with no re-use fees and for decent rates. A 60 minute score with an 80 piece group will cost $10,000. That's recording, rehearsals, CD master, etc. Pretty decent.
    I've used Symphonic Workshops before and this information is not accurate. 60 minutes of recorded score with 80 pieces will cost substantially more than $10,000 using the European orchestras they contract.

    For $10,000 you can record approximately 20 minutes of score with about 50 pieces. This number would not include the costs of orchestration and score preparation. It would also not include any editing and mixing required.

    Obviously these numbers are very rough. You should speak with Symphonic Workshops or other contractors such as Forte Music or Tadlow Music to check their current rates.

    Best,

    Kaveh Cohen

    www.kavehcohen.com

  6. #6

    Thumbs down Re: Budget planning for real orchestra...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske
    There's no reason to involve Canadian composers, orchestrators, musicians and recording engineers in an artistic project produced in Canada when someone, somewhere on the face of the planet will do it for less. The performers in Canada will probably be grateful that they won't be getting the work. It'll give them some extra time to either manage their vast investment portfolios, or to attempt to find new careers.
    Hummm... Do you have anything against foreigners doing your job, or is it just my impression? Foreingners should be able to buy American/Canadian products (like sample libraries, movies, clothes, machinery) but should not be able to sell back their human potential? Interesting vision!
    I guess I´ve heard this before in some book... about fascism.

  7. #7

    Re: Budget planning for real orchestra...

    Symphonic Workshop is a set-up where composer's who have been given s**t for a music budget can turn in a professional sounding product. If I were James NEwton Howard or John Williams or whoever, I would use stateside musicians like the Esprit Orchestra or the TSO because I would more than likely have the budget.

    But when I'm given a fraction of that to compose a score, and I want real musicians, I'd rather go the Europe route than do orchestral renderings on VSL or EWQLSO or whatever. No offence to those developers, I love their products and use them for orchestral mock-ups all of the time. But if my name is going on a film, I want to have my music be respresented as best as it can.

  8. #8

    Re: Budget planning for real orchestra...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske
    But if you get great, or even good results with a s**t budget, why would the people who hire you ever consider paying you more? You will have succeeded in establishing the new "going rate" for a certain level of work.

    Lee Blaske
    Lee, I can see your point, that's for sure. But sometimes conditions warrant looking elsewhere for orchestral readings. I'd obviously prefer recording and having things performed in Toronto. thus far, I have been lucky enough to get a few talented musicians together to perform my scores. Sometimes multitracking the same performer has been the way to go because budgets were miniscule but I'd rather have 10 real musicians over 100 piece sampled orchestra. At least for film projects. That's my credo and I'm stickin' with it!

    I think the Symphonic Workshop is really appealing to the concert composer who has toiled for months on a full orchestral score and would like to shop it around to local groups. It's great to have a CD and conductor's score. In fact, these days, one almost always needs some audio accompaniment. I have a few pieces that I'm working on for the concert hall and I think I can rationalize spending a few thousand for a reading. Yes, I could buy a sampled library with that to use over and over again, but honestly, and we all know this, nothing beats a real orchestra.

  9. #9

    Re: Budget planning for real orchestra...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske
    There's no reason to involve Canadian composers, orchestrators, musicians and recording engineers in an artistic project produced in Canada when someone, somewhere on the face of the planet will do it for less. The performers in Canada will probably be grateful that they won't be getting the work. It'll give them some extra time to either manage their vast investment portfolios, or to attempt to find new careers.
    Lee Blaske
    The truth is that the Canadians are too busy to work on Canadian projects because they're all working on the shows that fled up there from Hollywood, because it was cheaper in Canada than here.

    I hear that the Bulgarians are having their stuff recorded in China, and then Walmart is selling the finished products here in the U.S.

  10. #10

    Re: Budget planning for real orchestra...

    What about finding a really good collegiate group...or mid-level regional symphony? Seems like a more modest solution.

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