Danny Elfman (The Simpsons theme) Discusses Scoring Terminator Salvation with Omnisphere!
Spectrasonics Omnisphere is the first virtual instrument to be based on the Spectrasonics STEAM Engine, the company’s newly developed core technology.
The Omnisphere development team will be revealing the new instrument to the public through a series of video episodes from the Spectrasonics website showing features and behind the scenes details on how the instrument and its unique sounds have been created.
“This is truly an Epic project,” said Eric Persing, Founder and Creative Director of Spectrasonics. “We have been working for many, many years; sampling unique sounds, experimenting, specifying the synthesis features and building the STEAM Engine to run it all. It’s been a very exciting process involving our team of software engineers, sound designers, musicians, and graphic artists from all over the world. We’ve been very deliberate in making it easy to use, and yet extremely powerful. Omnisphere is our new flagship synthesizer, and points the way to all our future virtual instruments. We are thrilled to offer a new product that will new have a host of expansion capabilities in the future.”
With the fourth installment of the sci-fi series Terminator, composer Danny Elfman weighs in with a gripping film score that features Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere virtual instrument on many of the music cues – Elfman often used two Omnispheres for up to sixteen possible sounds at once.
Danny Elfman told us, “I would have to say that discovering Omnisphere this last year has been one of my greatest pleasures. I’m always looking for new sounds and new plug-ins to run with my sequencer, which is Digital Performer. Using Omnisphere along with DP is fantastic for several reasons. First, there’s a great core library to choose from and Eric Persing has, along with all the Spectrasonics sound designers, done a really vast and thorough job. It’s great, finally, to have sounds organized so well with the many ‘tags’ that they provide. Secondly, it’s really easy to program your own custom sounds. My first day, I already had several dozen edits that I really liked and put them in a separate ‘Favorites’ folder. The Omnisphere browser system made it super easy to find them as I needed them.”
“When I began Terminator Salvation I knew I was going to do a lot of synth work and so I began with a bank of their sounds and a slew of my own variations that I thought I could use, and use them I did. On almost every cue,” continued Elfman.
“More specifically, I found myself diving into the ‘Psychoacoustic‘ sounds a lot, frequently in the ‘Experimental’ and ‘Film’ genres. I also found myself often going to the ‘Distortion’ category, also in the ‘Experimental’ and ‘High-Energy’ genres.”
“An example of what I did would be taking the ‘Buzzord’ sounds, which I had half a dozen custom variations that I came up with. Several variations on the ‘Big Boomer Trash Strike’ from the ‘Impacts and Hits’ category was used a lot. From the ‘Pads + Strings’ group I went to the ‘Sweeping Pads’ and ‘Quirky’ tags a lot. The patch ‘Secondary Strike’ from the ‘SFX and Noise’ category and ‘Sound FX’ genre was very useful and like the others, I had a number of variations on it. Finally the ‘Hybrid Organic’ category gave me sounds that I would use both as hits and pads and sometimes a cross between them,” Elfman explained.
“I can’t say enough good things about Omnisphere,” said Elfman. “I love doing my own synth editing, but I’m no programming genius and I have very little patience for new plug-ins that require steep leaning curves to start really ‘working’ the patches I like. Omnisphere was really easy and intuitive. And for each file in DP, I’d make all the edits and variations on my sounds as was required, and having them attached to that file for later use made my life easier.”
“My compliments to Eric and all the folks at Spectrasonics. Good work.”
Daniel Robert “Danny” Elfman (born May 29, 1953) is a Grammy Award-winning American musician, best known for composing music for television and movies, and leading the rock band Oingo Boingo as singer/songwriter from 1976 until its breakup in 1995. He is a frequent collaborator with long-time friend Tim Burton, and has scored all but two of his films. He was nominated for four Academy Awards and won a Grammy Award for Tim Burton’s Batman and an Emmy Award for his Desperate Housewives theme. Elfman also wrote the theme for the video game Fable. He is also famous for creating The Simpsons main title theme, and his role as Jack Skellington’s singing voice in The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Be sure to check out Danny’s fine score for the film!