I like to do a heroic mock-up now and then to keep me on my toes (see many other examples here), and when Pro Tools 11 came out back in April I wanted a big project to stress test the new format. I chose “Buckbeak’s Flight” from John Williams’ score to “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” because it seemed relatively straight forward, and I felt like I had been neglecting his later work in favor of his 70’s classics.
As I said, that was back in April, but there was nothing straight forward about the path I took. I had some fan-generated score as a starting point, but that proved to be so inaccurate that I had to jettison it early on. This project became an exercise in close listening and deductive orchestration – trying to hear what the french horns are doing under the melody and figuring out their voicing. I think such a nitpicky chore is very helpful when it comes to orchestrating pieces of my own.
Then there were the mixing problems. For a long time there was no decent reverb that worked in Pro Tools 11. I tried all sorts of trial verbs, tried running Altiverb via Vienna Ensemble with poor results, finally got QL Spaces working. I experimented with Avid’s Heat to try to get some saturation and warmth into the samples. Then, of course, I had to keep doing my day jobs. Spring turned to Summer, Summer to Fall, and finally here we are just after Thanksgivings.
Of all my mock-ups this is by far the most complicated. I mixed it in both 5.1 and stereo, so I’ll provide links to both below. (Only download the 5.1 if you have the ability to play it in surround.) I’m also including my final Pro Tools session (minus the audio files) in case you want to see all the elaborate routing and all the midi trial and error.
If you want to know which sample libraries I used, the short answer is “All of them.”
And if for some reason you prefer the sound of MP3’s, here it is in that format (5.2 MB).