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  • Writer's pictureKelsey Le Roux

Booking an Orchestra for a Recording Session – Who, Where, and How?

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

Hiring an orchestra to record can be complicated. It is time-consuming, stressful, and

expensive. If you want to do all the leg work by yourself, a significant amount of paperwork,

organisation and responsibility is required to have a successful session.

A conducor is conducting an orchestra for a remote orchestral recording session
John Walton conducting a Cinemagic Scoring recording session

Who to hire:

You can book an orchestra yourself. However, there are several things to consider. After deciding what ensemble you want, you need to determine the number of players and how long you will require them. You must contact a booking agent to contract the players. You will also need to find and hire a venue, studio personnel and handle all sheet music preparation, printing and librarian work. There are many moving parts in this process that add additional pressure.

Alternatively, hiring a film-scoring orchestra is the least stressful method of recording your score, as it covers all the bases and makes the process seamless. These orchestras are used to the complexities of film recording sessions and will have all the expertise and logistics to ensure an efficient session.

Where do you record:

LA and London are the standard choices when recording a big-budget film score. However, they can be costly. When recording in LA or London, you must also be aware of union and non-union players and the terms and conditions associated with them. It is significantly cheaper in South Africa with quality and assurance of excellent results. Cinemagic Scoring offers remote sessions where the composer can monitor the session via live feed and communicate feedback to the team. This business model operates on a complete buyout model.

How to book:

Your requirements will change how you book a session. Suppose you want an orchestra to record a short piece of music for an advert or portfolio piece. You want to add the emotional impact and edge of a live orchestra but don't have the budget to book an orchestra for a full session. In that case, your best option is to find a professional recording orchestra and see if shared sessions are available. A shared session allows composers to book and pay an orchestra or ensemble for only the required time.

Booking an entire session is ideal for a composer who wants to record a considerable amount of music – including films, video games, and albums.

The Process:

1. Book your session.

Decide what type of session will suit your needs best, what kind of ensemble will be the most useful to you, and what venue you prefer. Contact Cinemagic Scoring with your information, score, and your requirements via our booking form.

2. Score Review.

Cinemagic Scoring will check your score for errors or mishaps and, if required, help with the editing and engraving process, helping the session to run seamlessly and save time. Cinemagic Scoring will print the scores and have them ready for the day.

3. Join the Livestream

You can attend the session in person or remotely. Through the live stream, you can watch your recording session from anywhere in the world and give real-time feedback to the conductor, musicians, and recording engineers.


4. Download the recording.

Cinemagic Scoring will upload and transfer the files from your session to you, and will offer you post-production services if you want additional assistance with mixing and mastering. Booking a Professional recording orchestra can save you time, stress, and money. The streamlined process gives you time to focus on the music. A live recording will increase your content's production value and the work's emotional impact.

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