Scoring Central

Full Version: Possible almost free orchestra?
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2
As Sam knows it is a long way from the idea to the execution.
Still interesting. I hope he pulls it off.
I'm not registered so I can't see that. Care to fill us in? Smile
Well D Healey the guy behind Xtant Audio and the total Composer Orchestra is creating . He says he is recording new orchestral samples with a European contractor. They almost have the flutes done and then will do brass, strings and percussion. He plans on making HISE instruments and charging a 5-10 dollar, euro, pound fee to cover bandwidth. The samples / instruments would be either GPL or LGPL. He might do a Kickstarter campaign. The strings and an already completed smaller sketching library will be available by the end of the year.
Wow, cool! :o
Sounds very cool! Not sure how he will cover the cost of recording- especially with a 'European contractor' (just those two words together sounds expensive), but if he can make some great modern freeware (or donationware), I'm all for it. VSCO 2 cost ~$10,000 to develop for reference and I didn't have to pay for space and played roughly a third of the instruments myself to save costs (bandwidth is minuscule compared to paying for the musicians, studio time, and professional sample processing/cutting services).

I haven't seen any kickstarters for sample libraries, and I am a bit skeptical the sorts of people who would put up money on there would be willing to back a freeware-type project. I think the best financial idea is to develop a multi-tiered product like I did- that way, you can have something more advanced and powerful for people who can pay, and something that is still very functional and quite nice for those who cannot- it's all down to the same reasons as why things like infrastructure, education, and healthcare are always hard to get people on board with even though we know they help people and businesses.

Honestly, I'd love to help him with this in any way that I can, either through donating samples or subsidizing some costs. I'll see if I can get in touch with him!
I've been trying for the last week to check out their website, but it's nothing but a single page saying it's "undergoing scheduled maintenance". That makes me very suspicious. At first I thought maybe it was true, but when the message hadn't changed after several days, I concluded they probably don't actually have a website. The bit about charging a fee to cover bandwidth also is suspicious. Like Samulis said, bandwidth is cheap. If the library is open source, they can just host it on github and then it's free.

I really hope this turns out to be real. I'd gladly support something like this. I guess we'll see.
Well he did say that TCO had 70,000 downloads in the first month. Sam can speak to that cost better than I but it could run into some cash if this hits that or more. Especially if it is a 10s of gigs library. He also said end of year so probably a placeholder site until then.

I get the idea that he is annoyed at a lack of Linux instruments and he wants to get away from Kontakt and similar engines on a personal level. He is apparently a skilled Kontakt scripter and an early proponent of HISE. I think some of this is he wants his own orchestra anyway and if he already has it for himself why not share it, if there is basically no extra cost or even a bit money derived from sharing it. He also wants to promote HISE and of course this would be an amazing way to do that. He also seems to plan on offering courses on how to make HISE instruments and so this would be a huge demo for his courses and another revenue stream. He may also sell the HISE modules he makes for the orchestra for another revenue stream.

BTW you done really good for $10,000 Sam. I read that the Hollywood Orchestra cost EastWest 1 million dollars to make.
If he plans on self-hosting, it could be expensive, but keep in mind that the price for bandwidth with full redudancy on S3 is about $0.09 or $0.85 or something like that per gigabyte- $5 would cover about 60 GB of data. Plus, peastman has a good point- I've been hosting CE on Github for the past few months and it doesn't cost me a cent. Sure, there are a few people who don't quite understand how to download from Github, but that was easy enough to explain on the page. Plus, it's made my life a heck of a lot easier with regards to updates and allowing 3rd party contributions- all they need to do is make a fork and then request it gets merged back with the main branch and I just moderate the changes to make sure nothing bad is happening.

Don't get me wrong, I really want this to succeed and heck, I'd be willing to pitch in full-force to help it happen, but I think it's a bit optimistic cost-wise. Keep in mind- $10,000 over two years is on top of not making any money from that investment for that entire period, not to mention the fact that I thought I was going to make basically exactly what he is making now (a large freeware orchestra 'to rule them all'). When I started, I figured I'd just work my way through in my free time using funds from Tubular Bells and my other projects, maybe releasing a "pro" version with added instruments for $49 or so, but once I reached about 30% through, Simon Autenrieth showed me a demo of what we could do if we did it for Kontakt instead of Maize and I was totally floored. Not only did it sound absolutely incredible, but I realized at that point that we had the potential to create something much better out of this and I decided to pursue the commercial avenue primarily with the freeware secondary, which proved to pay for the development of the library and even give us enough profit to now follow up with patches, additions, and new projects. If I could have done the whole thing over again, I would have told optimistic 2014 me that developing a large freeware orchestra first and a commercial project second would lead to inconsistent levels of detail and massive feature creep.

Here's the thing about sampling: the hardest part is getting the people and the mics and everything in the same space at the same time. Once you've done that, you are wasting an opportunity if you use anything less than the maximum of time and material you can afford to go through. Chances are (like me) you will have to go back years later and redo things because you did them too light or too poorly in an attempt to cut costs/time. I had to redo the entire orchestral percussion section three times, the first by myself, the second with some help for part of it from two pro percussionists, and the third with them there the whole time, full multi-mic, large space, etc. As a result of that process, numerous people have said that the percussion part is equal to top-of-the-line percussion libraries, but it cost me several weeks of time for three consecutive summers and most of those recordings are sitting uncut or partially cut on my storage drives, probably never to be released (some of it made it into VSCO 1, other parts turned into the standalone percussion products and the miscellanias).

This project will probably take even longer (that's the real reason why so many companies release libraries by sections now instead of the complete thing- so they can make some income while they work) and cost considerably more (a 'European Contractor' and using real full string sections of 8-16 rather than chamber sections of 3-5 and full-time pro orchestral players rather than students and faculty might mean a budget north of $30-50,000 when all is said and done, if he's planning on getting more than just sustain, staccato, and pizzicato at any decent level of detail). Something like that should be made to value around $200-$300 if getting out of the red is desired.

I think the best idea would be to look at the work Simon Dalzell over at Ivy Audio has done, making pro-level libraries as freeware without enormous budgets. The secret sauce is simple- go instrument by instrument and use as much existing infrastructure as is possible (e.g. recording at schools, churches, bringing your own equipment rather than paying to rent, use friends who are musicians, etc.). A fantastically sampled piano in your friend's house or in a rehearsal space at the local college is not worth much less to the market than one sampled at Abbey Road (just ask Garritan about that). Avoid professional orchestral players unless you are in an existing professional relationship with them and can leverage that to get affordable rates- rather, go for pre-professional, collegiate, community orchestra, and educator-musicians, who more often than not have considerably lower rates.

Of course, none of this means 'be a cheapskate'. You should still always be paying your musicians between $20-$60/hr., you should still always be paying for good cutting services in projects north of whatever your tolerance for cutting samples by yourself is (mine is about 1,000), you should still always hire a real graphical designer to make your UI if you know (like me) that you have a poor eye for design or just don't have the resources to do it justice.
Good insights, Sam. Thanks.
A key to doing this cheaply would be to record it somewhere that you can hire musicians inexpensively. "European" doesn't necessarily mean expensive. There's a lot of variation within Europe, and there probably are countries where you could hire professional or semi-professional musicians for a lot less than $20-60/hour.
Pages: 1 2