What is an A Orchestra?
When you’re on a tight music budget and still want to record an orchestra, it is a good plan to set up orchestral sessions with a so-called A-, B- and sometimes even C-orchestra, meaning that you specifically write certain cues for a smaller line-up to save musicians.
For example, you do all the heroic, big orchestra, full-blown cues in one session with the A orchestra (your largest line-up), the next session you book without trumpets, less percussion, less woodwinds, smaller string line-up and record all the cues that don’t need the “full force” in that session and in the third session you only book strings and record all cues that need only a pad sound.
Of course, this needs some planning in advance to book the right amount of players, but it is helpful to specifically set up a line-up for each orchestra size and sort in the cues for each session. When this is done cleverly, you can reduce the session cost quite a bit.