Malibu, CA (August 24, 2004)–Is it a live orchestra or is it the Vienna Symphonic Library? Hollywood composer Russ Landau says that it’s often difficult to tell the difference. “I think that my scores [using the Vienna Symphonic Library] are just about indistinguishable from the small size orchestral stuff,” noted Landau recently.
That hasn’t escaped the notice of producers and studio music department heads that now rely heavily on composers working with sequencers, giga studios and sample libraries such as VSL, distributed by Malibu, CA-based ILIO Entertainments, to help rein in the high cost of live music. “Producers know they can shave off $20,000 from an orchestral budget by using samples,” said Landau.
Landau, who got his first major break composing on the Sea Quest DSV television series in 1995, says that live orchestras are becoming rare in television. “The budgets in today’s TV programs usually don’t support the luxury of using a live orchestra,” Landau remarked. “So my task is to create a sizable score orchestrally, without having to go out and record an entire live orchestra.”
While Landau says that his preference is to work with live musicians, he admitted that using the VSL is a way to “give producers what they want on their terms.”
Saving money isn’t the only reason Landau turns to VSL when scoring for reality TV projects Survivor 9, Fear Factor, The Assistant and Average Joe. “I make a lot of my own samples for individual shows and movies I score, because I don’t want my stuff to sound like everybody else’s,” Landau related. “The great thing about using Vienna, as opposed to using loop-based orchestrals like Apple Soundtrack, is that it allows your work to sound unique, as long as you’re writing your own music.”