New Rig, New Place, New Possibilities

It has been quite a while since my last post. But then again quite a lot has happened (I’m noticing a pattern here). First, I moved. Originally I was living in Costa Mesa, so every time there was music related things to do, I had to commute either into or through LA. If you’ve never driven through LA before, the stories are true. Every hour is rush hour. I’m now living in Burbank, and beautiful and quiet small town-feeling place outside of LA. It’s also where everything happens. Most every major studio is here including Disney, ABC, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, all of which are within a 10 minute drive from our apartment. Also, I’m about a 5 minute drive from Mike Post’s studio where I did the fellowship. I’ll be trying to pay a visit soon to see how everyone is doing. Now when I say everything happens here, it really does. On the 10 minute drive we made to get groceries, there was a TV show filming, a movie by Troma Films filming and something huge filming at a high school from Buena Vista Studios. Not bad for a trip to buy tortillas.

Now that I’m here, studio trips and networking will be so much easier. I felt like I couldn’t do too much networking because if I got a job, I’d be commuting a couple hours every day, and that’d be rough. So the hunt for steadier music work begins!

Now for the technical stuff. I also upgraded my music rig, in preparation for the next films I’ll be doing. Previously, I’ve been scoring all my films on a laptop. It was a pretty powerful machine, but it was definitely struggling under the weight of the features I did. I recently purchased the new 27″ iMac, so the new specs are as follows:

3.4 GHz Quad-Core i7 Processor
32 GBs DDR3 Ram
768 Gbs Solid State Drive
Nvidia Geforce 680 MX 2GB video card

 

New Rig all set up

In addition, I purchased a LaCie 6TB Thunderbolt drive, and set it to Raid 0. Here’s what that means. The thunderbolt drive is 2 hard drives in 1 case. Raid 0  means that when you put a file on it, it splits that file into 2 parts, and each part is put on one of the drives. That means when you access the file, it is accessed twice as fast. Perfect for music guys who need to stream thousands of samples to their computer in real time. Things are quite fast now.

You may remember a post I made not too long ago about my recent purchase of Vienna Ensemble. It’s the software that allows me to keep all my instruments loaded inside Vienna so that Logic is just being used for the music, and doesn’t load all the sounds every time. Well, on my previous computer, Vienna and Logic running at the same time was too much for it to handle, so I couldn’t use it. Now, on this new computer, I have spent the last few days getting Vienna up and running, and it works perfectly. It did take a lot of work though. My goal was to create a template. Many composers create a template that automatically loads up the instruments they use most often, so they don’t have to reload them all for each new project. I loved this idea, so I wanted to do my own. Also, because the routing between Vienna and Logic is so complicated, a template saves time. So here’s what I had to do. (Warning: Technical talk ahead!)

First I had to enter the dreaded ‘Environment’ in Logic. This is where you connect virtual cables together to make Logic talk to other programs. In the picture below, you’ll see that I created a virtual Instrument for each section of the orchestra, one for my synthetic instruments, and one for anything I need to add after the fact. Each instrument is just a placeholder. I then created 15 MIDI instrument channels for each section and routed them through Logic out to Vienna.

Next I created an instance of Vienna for each section I wanted, and loaded all the instruments I wanted to have ready for each new project. I left some free space in there as well for loading instruments unique to each project.

After that, I created all the channel strips in Logic, color-coded them and connected Logic to Vienna.

Luckily everything works beautifully. I did a stress test on the system, and there were no problems, and now every time I start a new project, I can save the time of having to load everything from scratch. Also, in the case of a feature film when I have dozens of cues, I don’t have to reload all my instruments every time I switch to another cue. I’m very excited to do this all for a real project.

 

So now everything is ready and waiting for the next thing to come my way. I hope my posts will be a bit more frequent now. Also, the website is making great progress, so stay tuned for that, as everything will be switching over to that site when it’s done, including this blog. Until next time!

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