Arts & Entertainment, Music

Working With Musicians: The Orchestra - Part 2

Hans Zimmer

Lesson time 07:10 min

Hear from Hans on how he makes sure he's getting the best performance he can while recording an orchestra.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Directing the Players • Recording


What is slightly misleading about what we're doing right now, it looks a bit like your real studio or something like that, but it's just a computer and a bunch of screens and a couple of not very good speakers. So we can just pick this up and off we go. The thing that I don't think works is to try to make a movie if you're not in the same town as the people. I don't think-- I think you never get the subtlety of the conversation if you try to do these things over Skype or any of this. The hardest thing I think we ever did was, on Inception, we were supposed to record the score in London and the volcano in Iceland blew up. So we couldn't-- the planes weren't flying. Which wasn't actually strictly true. We could have gotten to London but we were worried about not being able to come back. So we used all technology at our disposal. I mean, we literally put more cameras than you guys have right now. We put, I think, six cameras in amongst the orchestra. We miked the orchestra in a way-- I had control over the talk back from here so I could speak to them. And we knew all the players. So if I heard a voice asking something in the orchestra, I knew it was Mary the bassist or somebody, you know. But during these sessions, starting at 2:00 AM our time, watching them take their lunch break at 6:00 AM our time, watching them file out and-- it was just brutal. And you don't get the communication. You don't get the subtlety. You don't get the-- music happens in real time and performance happens in real time. And even the slightest delay, it just throws our natural rhythms off. And I think everything that we do is about communicating with each other. And it's just the way I like working. I like making the director and the editor be part of the band. Look, I play a computer. The editor plays a computer, you know? So it's not about that. It's about the conversation. It's about feeling what, you know-- and instantly feeling what they are feeling when you play them the piece of music. I mean, again, it's this thing about, you need to listen. But sometimes, it's not even with your ears. You just need to feel what they're feeling. They don't need to say anything. It's really amazing what happens. How you can start with a piece where all the notes are played well and it's all musically correct but the emotion isn't quite there, and you can work on that. I mean, you can really work on that and you can really get that to blossom. And suddenly, you get these moments where it is undeniable that the story is being told in the correct way. That everybody is on the same page and everybody knows why they are playing the note. I mean, it's a weird thing when you have a large orchestra. The front row is going to be praying exact and passionate, et cetera. And as it goes down the line, it might not be your best player. So it d...

About the Instructor

Hans Zimmer didn’t see a film until he was 12 years old. Since then, he’s scored over 150 films, including Inception, The Lion King, and The Dark Knight. In his MasterClass, the self-taught Academy Award-winner teaches how he creates sounds from nothing, composes compelling character themes, and scores a movie before ever seeing it. By the end, you’ll have everything you need to start film scoring.

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Hans Zimmer

From collaborating to scoring, Hans Zimmer teaches you how to tell a story with music in 31 exclusive video lessons.

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