Sound Effects Recordings

London Marathon 2016 Recording

Last weekend was the London Marathon 2016. My girlfriend's brother ran and managed a time of 3:25:13. Awesome achievement. 

In the moments when we weren't wandering around London trying to catch him, I managed to get a few short recordings.

I took the oppurtunity to take out my little portable stealth kit to see how well it performed. It consists of a Sound Devices 702 in a camera bag with two DPA4061's with mini rycote windshields strapped to either side of the bag. 

Drums fuel of the atmosphere around Canary Wharf, I spent some time underneath a bridge where 2 taiko players were living.

After clambering up a railing I got a recording from slightly above the action, people with plastic hand clappers,  horns in the distance, and the ever present drummers.

I think the setup performerd pretty well all told, there are some big pros and cons of it for sure.

Pro: It doesn't attract attention. Which leads to a more natural performance and causes less interruptions from interested passers by. 

Con: positioning, It's difficult to be consistent with the mic positions, as there is a bag in the 30cm gap between the two mics, it's also not very natural sounding stereo image. 

Next time around I might test out a different method of strapping the mics to the bag with a bit more precision and maybe some sort of stereo spacing bar involved in the bag to help.

 

 

Portable Recording Setup

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be in Lausanne for part of Complicité's 'The Encounter' tour. I took the opportunity to test out my portable recording rig thats slowly been pieced together the past few months.

Lausanne 2015
Lausanne 2015

Earlier in the year I went on tour to Asia and took my Rycote Blimp and found so many places where it was just unrealistic to whip it out and start recording, the inevitable "whats that" would be all over the recordings. So in comes the portable solution, I have a bunch of portable all-in-one recorders which are much less attention grabbing. But having put money into a Sound Devices recorder I bought a set of DPA 4061's to try out with it. I've had some reasonable success with sticking these things in my ears to get binaural recordings, but wanted to mount them onto a bag that also contains the 702 so it was super inconspisuous and can just sit there when I want to put it down. A camera bag seemed like the most logical solution, there may be better ways, but I went and bought a messenger bag from a nearby camera shop.

Photo 03-09-2015 10 36 53
Photo 03-09-2015 10 36 53

A customisable camera bag with multiple sized velcro panels was able to fit everything and any excess cable to sit below the 702, plus having a weird sized battery is was also fine! Heres a short recording of Lake Geneva, I stood maybe a 1.5 metres away from the shoreline and let the bag dangle in front of me...


I'm looking at other solutions to how I can attach the mics to the bag to allow for less movement noise and perhaps better stereo imaging, there seems to be a little dead spot in the centre on some recordings... Either way, the fact that no one asked "what is that" made it all worth it!!

African Gil - Recording session

For the past couple of months I've been working on a show called Lionboy with Complicité and we're coming to the end of our run at the Tricycle Theatre. The show had a live percussionist on stage, so this week I've decided to record Steve's (our percussionists) Gil.

The Gil is an African 'tuned' percussion instrument that steve plays in the show for a few of our 'African' scenes. It's not the most common instrument I've ever come across!

The notes are pentatonic and so, as Steve usually suggests, you can play almost any notes and they will likely fit together! Steves instrument was made by his teacher in Africa and has gaudes underneath that amplify the sound. It has a bit of a weird unique buzzing sound on some of the notes and watching people play them on YouTube it's really meant to be part of the overall sound of the Gil. To create the buzzing sound there is a spider egg membrane covering holes in the gaudes which vibrate, strange but true!

So having decided to record the Gil properly Ive also thought it would be interesting to learn how to make a kontakt instrument using those recordings, so have taken a bunch of different takes at differing dynamics and will have a go soon. I managed to find a few hours without anyone else in the theatre and got recording. Wanted to get some use out of my sound devices 702 and a pretty neat pair of DPA 4011's which we use in the show.

Here's a dry clip of me messing around on the Gil, i'm no percusionist so forgive me!


Now on to editing the single hits and trying to make a virtual instrument from it!

SFX Amsterdam - Santa's Boats!

Having recently took the exciting plunge into some new mics to start building my SFX Library with, I decided I'd start going through some randomly gathered un-edited Zoom content and edit them up to share! Been as its almost Christmas, as a starting point a quick recording from last year In Amsterdam, as Santa Claus arrived... 'Sinterklaas Arrives The Dutch version of Santa Claus (or St Nicholas) makes his annual arrival in Amsterdam on Sunday 18th November. His boat will sail along the Amstel river before arriving at the Maritime museum at midday. He then jumps on his white horse surrounded by his helpers the Zwarte Pieten ("Black Petes") and heads to Dam Square and Leidseplein.'

This annual occasion, brings out the masses into the streets of Amsterdam to witness the parades coursing through the the City.

This mass of boats came past the window of my apartment, so took the chance to grab some quick Zoom H4 recordings of the general happenings below and luckily picked up some big foghorn sounds. Some pretty high pitched harsh horns to start with and some deeper breathy horns after.

More coming soon!

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IMG_3392