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  • Writer's picturelee994

Game on! Filming an orchestra

Early this year - before that nasty virus changed the world - Elerby studios was lucky to be asked to film in Prague at the prestigious Smecky Studios with the Hollywood-grade Czech Studio Orchestra (check just what was been recorded here if you are a film buff - prepare to geek out a little bit).

With scores from old 30 years+ computer games.

No - Wait!

Remember Monty on the Run?

The game that had the most amazing soundtrack on the Commodore 64? You know when you got a high score and it played something that was well ahead of its time? You have played Commando? What-about Thing on a Spring (these old games did have the most brilliant game titles).

(Above) In-between takes at Smecky Studios, Prague. A 3 day shoot.

Bring in Chris Abbott and the 8-bit symphony.

Life long friend of this writer (Well 20+ years feels life long) Chris was always working on getting the game soundtracks recorded professionally with an orchestra just if only to prove to his mother that the sounds coming from his computer was worth listening to.

I just went back to my game of Crazy Comets with a 'yeah yeah'

But that he did.

Along with game composer, Rob Hubbard - a legend of scoring games (you have played Sanxion, Delta, International Karate? - here we go again - if not get a new TheC64 and get playing with the links below) - along with his amazing team converted and scored multiple soundtracks ready to be recorded.

The first time these scores were played was on the 15th July 2019 in Hull with the Hull Philharmonic orchestra at the 1200 capacity Hull City Hall (which Elerby Studios created a film to be played against the orchestra with a tribute to classic game composer, Ben Daglish who sadly passed away the year before)

Which left not a dry eye in the house.

(Above) Elerby Studios tribute film to Ben with the Hull Philharmonic orchestra July 2019. The idea was to have a virtual Ben playing along with the orchestra so I used archive footage and used a lot of visual tricks - something I think he would have liked.

It was a brilliant night. And it all sounded amazing.

Zoom to February 2020 and Elerby Studios gets on a flight to Prague to film cut-ways for the 8-bit symphony blu-ray release.

It was a surreal experience.

(Above) a clip from the Final blu-ray release 'Monty's Journey'

Filming the orchestra performing scores that I first heard over 35 years ago.

But then again it helped these tracks were soaked up inside me. I knew where to be for certain parts as the scores were recorded in sections making it easy to setup the next shot between takes.

And - bonus - not a mask to be seen in any shots!

(Above) having a laugh with Rob Hubbard.

We only took one camera only expecting highlights to be filmed but the amount of footage we did shoot meant for the blu-ray we did not need to cover our footage with much game footage (I personally don't want to watch games. I want to play them) - which makes for a better viewing experience.

And each score was filmed different. Nothing worse than a boring locked off tripod shot. You need to feel you are there - fly on the wall.

It should be an experience.

(Above) a clip from the Final blu-ray release 'Aztec Challenge'

Well done to Chris and the team working so hard. Your work has played off.

The Blu-ray was released with a stunning mix of a 5.1 track last week.

Me? I'm off for a game of The Human race (horrible Mastertronic £1.99 title from 1985 that invaded my Xmas the same year but with a bloody lovely Rob Hubbard soundtrack)

Game on!

Have a view of the links. Home of the 8-bit Symphony Grab a new HD Commodore 64!

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