Category Archives: field recording

Zingy!

I visited Durie Hill in Whanganui NZ which has this 213 metre long tunnel, with a vertical escalator/lift at the end, which takes you up to a panoramic viewpoint…

On first visit yesterday, performing handclaps was unreal as there is actually a flat wall at the end of the tunnel – the elevator entrance is around a corner… So a clap excites the verb in the tunnel, then a huge slap echo bounces back and excites the tunnel verb again! Depending where you stand when you make a sound, you can vary the time until the slap delay occurs & it got quite ‘zingy’ sounding & almost sounded like a ricochet at times…

This morning I went & got some balloons – I had my starter pistol in the car, but this is a public place… and I wasn’t keen for a Police armed offenders callout… Will see if I can deconvolve it into an IR…

Note to self: in future always have a pack of balloons in my recorder bag. The SPL and impulse from a ballon pop in such a confined space was VERY effective!

 

 

Data Rescue

While I was down South for Xmas I did a recording session with my Dad driving his Chev 1928 Coupe.

I rigged six mics onboard, recording to MixPre10 32bit float 192kHz:

Engine bay = MKH8040 + Beyer dynamic
Exhaust = MKH8040 + Sennheiser dynamic
Interior = MKH8020x2

We recorded lots onboard, driving around the block. Then I followed Dad 15 minutes to a quiet rural road, so I could record passbys and moves from exterior perspective using my SD722 recorder 24/192 with MKH70 and MKH8050 mics.

The recording went really well with only one nosey passerby stopping, shrilly demanding
‘What on earth are you doing?’
Me, bluntly: “RECORDING SOUND… AND YOU ARE RUINING IT. MOVE ON!”
Her: “Hrmmpf!” And thankfully she does as instructed.
(Sorry lady, I don’t owe you an explanation. I’m not always an old grump, but I am not stopping right in the middle of critical work for a friendly uninvited chat. Pick your moments. Have some awareness. And WTF do you think I am doing with a big microphone pointed at a vintage car? Could it be I am recording the sound of a vintage car?)

Anyway, when I got back to the studio I transferred all the recordings and a few days ago loaded it all into a 32/192 PT session, to sync the vids and have a listen.

AND OMFZG!!
None of the 722 EXT recordings are intact!?!
The data has somehow been corrupted, and each of the 5-6 min files is exactly 16MB and all of the recordings total 98MB!?! Each of the WAV files turns to static after 2 seconds.

OK
I know not to panic, but I was filled with a sense of dread.

Next step I put the memory card back in the 722.

T170 2.8MB duration 00.02.48
T171 6.4MB duation 05.26.02
T172 unrecognised
T173 16MB duration 06.11.32
T178 16MB duration 09.25.97
T179 unrecognised
T180 16MB duration 06.54.50

The durations matched my memory of recording: I rolled my 5D camera in sync and after we’d done a series of passbys at different speeds, I’d wave my Dad to pull up & stop, idle and then switch off. I’d then reset, start a new recording and we’d do the next set of moves.
But those file sizes!?!

Now there was no way I was going to risk repairing the memory card with an app, because if it didn’t work I was royally screwed. I would try that as a last resort, but only after making a sector-for-sector disk image first.

But before I do that, I remembered years ago (2015) having an issue with a camera memory card and I bought a license for a Card Rescue app. I only ever used it for rescuing JPG files so I wasn’t sure if was capable of finding WAV files.

I booted it up on my retired old laptop that its installed & licensed to, and in the file types sure enough WAV is listed. So I deselected all other file types and asked it to scan the memory card for WAV files.

Files Found: 9!
And the file sizes looked a little better than 16MB
I told the app to transfer the rescued files to my laptop, and only after I got them on to my studio Mac and had a listen did I breathe a huge sigh of relief.

So incase you ever need it, this is the app I used:

CARD RESCUE

“Using CardRescue is secure and risk-free. The software does not write anything to or modify the data on the flash card. It rescues the photos from the card and saves them to a folder on your hard drive.”

They don’t actually mention that it will rescue WAV files so I have emailed them suggesting they make that clear on the website.

PHEW!!

Echo Point

This is a location called Echo Point – when I first visited here 15 years ago, there was a sign saying ‘ECHO POINT – startling echo heard here!’
The next time the sign was gone and I wasn’t 100% sure I was in the right spot, so this time I was determined… The gravel track into the estuary is so people can launch their boats into that tidal stream (its part of a massive estuary)
I recorded hand claps and also Hyoshigi and they triggered the echos a bit but I also had a starter pistol with me and fired 12 shots at 2 distances, and the echos almost ripple/peel like thunder!
Recordered 32/192 MixPre10 with 8 channels: 8040×2, 8020×2, 70×2 and CUX100kx2, can’t wait to process & compare IRs!

This is from 15 years ago, recording with SD722 and sanken CSS% stereo mic:

Echo Point, Takaka

Perseverance

I was reminded of an invaluable #fieldrecording skill when out scoping locations this week. I found this large scale metal recyclers in Seaview, and walked into their office to ask if there was any way I could access this mountain of metal to record sounds or buy a few props?
THEM: “I’m sorry, we’re corporate and don’t sell to the public. And health & safety regulations mean we can’t let you on the property”
ME: “Oh thats a shame… Hey so what happens to all of this metal anyway?”
THEM: “A ship is arriving September 2nd, so it will all be taken away for recycling”
ME: You don’t say!!
THEM: “We do say!”
ME: So if I turn up on September 2nd and set my microphones up just outside your boundary, I will get to hear that entire mountain be loaded and removed??
THEM: “Um… yes that is correct”
ME: See you then!

The skill?
Refusing to take no for an answer!
Had I not persevered and asked that one extra question, I would have gone home thinking what a missed opportunity it was. But now I can prepare, and will likely go record a few days before incase they start loading early, and to find the best location. And I will stalk the Marine Traffic website days before, to identify the ship and its arrival date. But all of this will only be possible due to persevering and asking the right question! And the right question is one that they cannot say no to!

But the next skill required?
Perseverance!

Based on the above info I loaded up my car with all my recording gear & camera and visited the site last Thursday, thinking they might be preparing for loading… But there was very little activity.

Friday September 2nd arrived and same scenario! Very little activity. Was the ship late? Were they kidding me?

Monday 5th I revisit and they are doing some work in the back of the yard, so I set up my mics and record what I can… I don’t hear anything extraordinary, but it was useful as a test run:

Notice in the photo above, none of my mic stands are actually touching the ground! They are functioning as a counter weight to keep mic mics sitting on top of the fence. But framing & focusing the camera was impossible. I came home at the end of the day and the recordings sounded better, but the video was not great.

Tuesday 6th I am better prepared!

Notice my little stepladder! Standing on it I could clearly see over the fence and as luck (aka perseverance) would have it, a big truck was being loaded almost directly in front of my microphones!!

It would take them about 15minutes to load each truck, and the first few dumps into the empty bin sounded HUGE!!! While the truck was away unloading into the ship, I thought the claw might take a break… But no, he started making metal avalanches in prep for the next truck to arrive!

So today I am heading off for another recording session as I figure they have another day or two of work to move the entire mountain. And now that I have my setup safely organised, I’m going to add the Sanken CUX100K mics to the 8040×2 and 8020×2 that I have been using!

Thank Jah for 32bit float!!
I shot some XPAN from my little stepladder too