[Updated January 2022]
Hard to believe that I originally made this video in 2013 and it is now 2022! While several things have changed since I made the video below, my process is still the same, so it is still relevant to anyone interested in film orchestration. “What has changed?” I hear you ask. The main thing is that I now use Keyboard Maestro for all my shortcuts instead of Quickeys, which stopped being updated a few years ago. At first I was disappointed with it, as there were a few things it could not do that were easy to accomplish with Quickeys. With some time, patience, and Google, however, I worked out those kinks and discovered lots of things KM could do that QK could not.
This led to a big change: I did not need the ipad anymore as ‘palettes’ in KM allow me to bring up a list of shortcuts that I can either click or use another key to trigger. This is very similar to subscopes and soft keys in QK. You can also nest these so with a few strokes you have access to many shortcuts in a very organized way, and now my hands don’t leave the keyboard or trackball. I do still use the Ipad for shortcuts when I compose and program in Cubase. The icon controllers are also for programing in Cubase. Gear wise, my setup is still laid out the same, but I have three 27-inch Dell 4K screens and I use the Kensington SlimBlade and the Contour Shuttle Xpress. And there is no landline anymore!
Finale is still doing things pretty much the same way. I do tend to use staff sets more than re-ordering these days. There are some great plugins by Jari Williamsson that I cannot live without. And some Robert Patterson has made, in particular one that allows you to edit staff sets.
So now, you can go back in time to when I did not know how to edit video and had to do this in one pass with no mistakes. I think it took about 6 goes.
[Original Post: March 2013]
Many people have asked me about how I’ve set up my system and what my orchestration process is, so I decided to add a complete walkthrough to the blog. In this screencast, I have recorded myself doing an entire cue from opening the midi file to preparing the final studio-ready score. You can see how I’ve set up my own system to let me get through the process as efficiently as possible. I should point out that the focus here is on the technical side of things; this is not a video about the creative decisions you will face as an orchestrator. That’s what the rest of the blog is for!
How I set up my iPad.
Here is the touch OSC file. It would take a lot of work to set up for your own use, but it may give you some clues as to how to do it.