Hours 70 – 71: Rowing Boat

Hello! BACK ONCE AGAIN! It’s been a considerably long time since I updated this blog, so apologies for that. I’ve got a number of recordings tucked away from the past few months, so hopefully I might post them in the near future. For now, here’s a cool one I recorded this weekend.

It’s another rowing boat! yipee!

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Apparently rowing is something my family do on a relatively frequent basis. Second time in the last 12 months we’ve done it. Becoming frankly quite habitual. Anyway, this time it was a plastic-fiberglass body – as opposed to the lovely wooden bodied boat I recorded last year. It still had an interesting sound, nice creaky wooden oars and that pleasing water-on-hull sound that we’ve come to expect from water based vehicles.
I recently (finally) invested in a rycote, which is something I didn’t have the luxury of using the last time I recorded a boat. This time the results are better – but still wind persisted to be an issue.

Here’s a little clip:

That is it for now! Hopefully i’ll be back again soon with more recordings. This project is lasting significantly longer than I had initially anticipated, so I may put some effort into recording more during the summer months to make sure I finish it up.

-Barney

http://www.barneyoramgameaudio.co.uk

Hours 70 – 71: Rowing Boat

HOURS 66 – 70: Farm Recording

Hello! Back once again, with some cool sounds that I recorded over Christmas. During the Christmas break, I spent some time on a fairly isolated farm, in the north of Yorkshire, with my family. I brought my recorder with me, anticipating some cool stuff on the farm and in the area, that I could be able to record. I wasn’t disappointed! I’ve edited a few of the cool moments up and i’ll talk in detail about them below.

Where we stayed had this HUGE old barn, which we were allowed access to. It was full of farm junk, and I recorded much of the stuff I found in there. Two recordings I made that really stood out to me as having a very cool sound, were those of the huge wooden barn doors, and some heavy metal chains I found; The barn door was massive, probably three times my height and made of heavy wood. It was locked, so I couldn’t slam it properly, but I manipulated it by pushing it outwards slightly and letting it fall back on to the frame. The recordings are below, I recorded from two perspectives: close, and medium.

The close perspective recordings have a lot of weight and detail of the wood in, and a lot more low end and a higher signal to reverb ratio. The medium distance is much more verby, and they also have a lot more body and force to them. I always used to try and minimize the amount of reverb I captured in comparison to source when field recording, but I’ve really grown a taste for it recently. I have been using the ‘Mechanism’ library by Tim Prebble / HISS and a ROAR a lot recently, and much of the bigger machines in that library have a lot of dense natural reverb on them, from the space in which they were captured, that I absolutely love. I’ve found that natural reverb provides a really lovely colour and flavour when mixed in with other elements in my designs. I want to make an effort to capture stuff with more of its natural verb response as a more prominent feature in the future.

I also recorded some huge metal chain in the barn, and they again were washed with a lot of the huge natural reverb that the space provided. I found the chain contained a lot of harsh harmonic elements that, despite not being very ‘loud’, caused my recorder to peak a lot. I balanced the gain to capture a level recording of the source, but lost some of the reverb a higher gain setting would have allowed me.

Next is something really special. One of the nights there was a huge storm, with incredibly powerful winds that rocked the whole farmhouse we were staying it. I noticed the wind propagating around the cracks of the doors, and when it really picked up speed, it produced this incredible howling wind sound – really like nothing i’ve ever heard before. It was the cliche howling wind we know so well from films – so I grabbed my recorder and captured as much of it as I could.
The wind sound was actually incredibly quiet, and I had to push my recorder to the limits of its settings to get a good signal. This, sadly, produced a bit of a hissy noisefloor – that thankfully can be taken out fairly easily in RX. It’s surprisingly impressive how subtle the noise introduced at the highest gain settings actually is – another reason why I love the DR-100.

Next I spent a bit of time recording ambience at the top of a very tall hill. Here’s a cool picture:

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The recording is interesting, and most of it is the typical birds / wind etc you’d expect, but I’ve picked out a small section to upload which I thought had some interesting elements; I captured a lot of the typical wildlife you’d expect from such a locations, birds, a dog barking etc. I caught a very interesting bird call (at around 10 secs in), and while I was recording a runner passed me – and created a very interesting doppler effect, with her shoes passing the microphone. Usually having human sounds in my ambience recording is very irritating, but i thought the nature of this sound was of some note due to its interesting capture.

Lastly, I spend some time in a lovely, dense wooded area, and captured some of the ambience of the space. It’s a fairly typical woodland ambience; wind in the trees, birds etc. There’s also the distant gunfire of hunters in another part of the forest, and the faint sound of a prop-plane going by overhead.

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I decided to – mostly for practical reasons – record without monitoring. This is something i’ve read about a few other field recordist’s doing, and I thought i’d give it a try. For me, it presented a few positives; I moved fairly far away from the recorder and left it running. Usually I will sit near the recorder, and in the past that has resulted in occasionally hearing me sniff or fidget in the recording (i’m awful at sitting still). It also forced me to actively listen back to the recording after the fact, in order to label it properly.

So, that’s the lot for now. I’ll be back soon hopefully with more cool stuff. I haven’t been able to record as much as i’d like to recently, largely due to me settling into a new job and new house, but also because i don’t have one of those driving machine thingies (or even a license to pilot a driving machine), and as such my recording potential is stifled somewhat. Moving forward I’d like to record more, as it’s a wonderful feeling to design sounds with content you’ve actually recorded, so hopefully i’ll make more of an effort to do more soon.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

-Barney

http://www.barneyoramgameaudio.co.uk

HOURS 66 – 70: Farm Recording

Hours 65 – 66: Manchester Thunderstorm

So tonight, there was an absolutely huge thunderstorm in the Manchester-ish area. It was huge, chucked it down with rain and huge rolls of thunder battered the north-west coast. It was so damn big, it made the news. I was still at work when I heard a huge thunder crack, so I rushed home, grabbed my recorder and captured what I could.

It rained heavily for about an hour, with constant thunder and lighting throughout. At one point (and I kid you not), lighting stuck something outside my room. I’m not sure what exactly it struck, or how close to me it actually was, but it was damn loud. Sadly i’d turned my recorder off by that point. (doh).

I put my recorder by my window (I did think about running out into the rain and crouching somewhere with the recorder, but after a little deliberation, I decided I wasn’t that bothered about soaking myself to get a great recording). The result of it being by the window is some slightly weird reflections, but it sounds okay. The thunder is a relatively broadband noise anyway, and it shows up well despite the un-ideal mic positioning. Here’s a few exciting moments below:

That’s the lot for now! Forgot to take pictures.. So I used one from the other week when I recorded some rain from my window. Rain’s all the same.

-Barney

http://www.barneyoramgameaudio.co.uk

 

Hours 65 – 66: Manchester Thunderstorm

Hours 64 – 65: Honda CBR and Jaguar

Hello! Just a quick one, posting some audio I recorded a few months ago now that I really need to do something with. I have had an incredibly fun and exciting month or so, and all will most likely be explained in the next blog. But for now, here’s some cool bits I recorded while I was at home in summer!

So a friend of mine owns a 1000cc Honda CBR and a fancy Jaguar, and and considering these aren’t necessarily vehicles I might have everyday access to, I decided to grab some quick recordings. I was very limited in my equipment choices at this point, and considering the source, I probably could have gone for a far better setup – but I figured i’d make use of what I had to hand. I had my two portable recorders – the tascam DR-05 and DR-100, which I used to capture the bike and car from different perspectives. I recorded both vehicles whilst stationary, so I was able to carefully place the recorders in the best positions to capture a good sound.

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For the Honda, I put the DR-05 by the exhaust, and the DR-100 right next to the engine itself. The bike was incredibly loud – louder than i’d anticipated – and the pre-amps got a bit battered. The recording didn’t necessarily distort, but it did.. saturate, a little. You can hear the force of the exhaust pumping the diaphragms in the DR-05 mics in the recording below, with the engine mic mixed in also. Despite having some wind protection on the mics too, they still struggled a bit under the weight of the air and sound waves being produced by the bike. This is raw from the recorder, and may also be a little loud.

Next was the Jaguar, an XF. The sound wasn’t actually that amazing, as it turned out to be more of a luxury car, rather than any kind of sport type thing. I still set my mics up and recorded the engine, and got some cool results.

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I put the DR-100 on the engine, and the DR-05 on the exhaust. The car wasn’t as loud as the bike, but it still had some give to it. I combined the two positions together and cut out two little clips to demonstrate different engine states, below. These are raw from the recorder.

That’s it for now! I’ll be back again very soon.

-Barney

http://www.barneyoramgameaudio.co.uk

Hours 64 – 65: Honda CBR and Jaguar

Hours 63 – 64: Manchester Piccadilly Train Station

Hello! So I’ve just got back from spending a week in Manchester, and despite my initial intentions, I ended up being too busy to do much recording. As I had some time to kill on my way home, and my recorder in my bag, I decided to grab a recording of the ambience of the main train station in Manchester, Manchester Piccadilly. It’s fairly big – not huge – but enough for a busy sounding ambience, with the trains in the background and the tannoy overhead.

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I initially sat next to some old people who proceed to chat loudly about a movie their daughter had been to see, but after moving to a slightly less populated area I was able to capture some cool ambience of the space as a whole. I decided to avoid being particularly obvious with the recorder, and tucked it in the front pocket of my bag with just the mics poking out of the top.

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The sound is pretty cool, definitely usable as a background ambience – not very much spill from the trains, a little rumble but mainly just a non-descript ambient bed. As always this is raw from the recorder, no processing other than the edit.

That’s it for now, I’ve got a few bits and bobs from my recorder that I’ll be posting soon. Thanks for reading!

-Barney

http://www.barneyoramgameaudio.co.uk

Hours 63 – 64: Manchester Piccadilly Train Station

Hours 60 – 63: Lake District

Hello! I’m back once again, after a bit of a break this time, as I’ve been on holiday in the Lake District for a while. Despite the fact it was meant to be a bit of a break from work, I decided to jump on the opportunities that presented themselves in such a lovely area of the world and record a few bits and bobs. I recently got (huge thanks to Nick Dixon for helping me out) a new recorder, the Tascam DR-100. It’s a cool little machine, nice onboard mics plus the option for two XLR inputs. I decided to spend my holiday getting to grips with it, and experimenting with the unidirectional mics that are built in. I unfortunately haven’t had a chance yet to pick up a rycote for it, so I ran with a foam cover that comes with the unit. It’s not perfect, and some of the recordings suffered with some wind interference, but it’s usable.

I’ll begin with two lots of animals that I was lucky enough to record; some sheep, and some pigs. Weirdly, I found both the sheep and the pigs would vocalise quite nicely, if I vocalised at them. I think they mainly thought I was bringing them food.

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They made some cool noises, I managed the captured the sheep incredibly clearly, while the recording of the pigs was more random as I recorded a pen of about 10 of them at once. Below you can hear both the pigs and the sheep, I did a little cleaning with RX on the pigs (as annoyingly a car drove past half way through) but it’s fairly raw, just edited to show the best bits.

I also recorded a fair bit of woodland ambience, and I found a gorgeous spot in the middle of a forest and recorded a bit of the surroundings. The result is a really lovely ambience, with some distant farm animals in too, cows and sheep etc.

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Interestingly, I left the record on the tree stump and walked around a little as it recorded, and the result of this are these gorgeous crunchy wood footsteps that have that classic ‘forest’ reverb to them, a subtle yet live sound. Although it’s not common practice to have footsteps in an ambience, and the results probably aren’t mega usable, it still sounds pretty sweet.

I also spent some time on a lovely wooden rowing boat, out on one of the lakes. I did my best to record some rowing, but unfortunately the result isn’t quite what I had imagined. It’s relatively clean, captures the boat, some water and some ambience well, but it’s a little too busy to be really usable.

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There’s some considerable wind, that i’ve cleaned a little from the recording, but isn’t totally perfect – but the recording is also just fairly unclear, unfortunately. The sound of waves hitting against the wood of the boat created quite a prominent noise, that sounds a lot like the sound of the oars moving, so the result is a bit messy. I think breaking a rowing boat down into it’s elements would be the best way to design it sound wise, but it was a fun experiment.

I also recorded some cool flowing water, both a gentle stream and a more violent waterfall. The onboard mics handled the water okay, but the heavy presence of white noise in the sounds makes it a bit of a challenge to capture detail well.

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The recordings are fairly good, and would work as an element of an ambience. Due to the nature of the source, the sound doesn’t really have a lot of variation, particularly not the waterfall.

And lastly, we climbed a big old mountain thing while in the lake district, and I recorded a bit of ambience at the peak (a mere 900m above sea level!). It looked fantastic, but sadly didn’t sound quite as great as it looked.

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It’s largely just wind, and due to my poor wind protection, it’s not the most detailed wind – but it’d probably work as an element of some wind sound design.

That’s the lot for now, thanks very much for reading! I shall returneth very soon with some cool bits and bobs.

-Barney

http://www.barneyoramgameaudio.co.uk

Hours 60 – 63: Lake District

Hours 58 – 60: Fruit Smashing Session

Hello! Back again with a fun little recording session that I did with my flatmate a little while ago. We put some money together and decided to buy as much fruit and vegetables as we could lay our hands on, and smash it all up in the name of audio.

We ended up with a hell of a lot of produce:

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We bought a mixture of fleshy stuff, more crackly stuff, stuff with harder shells, stuff with more squishy insides. We set up a shotgun mic and a 414, both going into the sound devices 633, and smashed away. The results are cool, lots and lots of very usable smashing and squishing sounds!

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I’ve cut out a short section below of some fun bits:

Thanks for reading!

-Barney

http://www.barneyoramgameaudio.co.uk

Hours 58 – 60: Fruit Smashing Session

Hours 57 – 58: Contact Mic Metal Impacts

Hello! I’m back again with a really, really cool one this time. I’ve been working on some recordings recently of metal impacts, and today I decided to try testing a theory I’ve had knocking around for a little while. I decided to experiment with using a contact mic to capture metal resonances in large metal objects – and the results are surprisingly. I was expecting it to be interesting, but I didn’t quite realise how great it would sound.

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I used my humble little setup of my contact mic, going into the tascam dr-05 and monitoring with a pair of KRK’s. I have learned from previous experience that it isn’t enough to just tape a contact mic down, it needs a conductor to receive vibrations from a surface – in this instance, I decided to use some blu-tack, and it worked a treat. I have often found that just taping a contact mic to a surface makes for a cool recording, but it doesn’t have the body I’m looking for – I’ve furthermore adopted a technique of holding the mic down with my thumb as it records – this is a surefire way to ensure lots of lovely bass in the recordings, and I can’t say i’ve ever heard about people doing this before.

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I started with a HUGE metal column that we have outside our university. I half-heartedly stuck the mic on, and was absolutely amazed to hear what it captured. It picked up this amazing ‘zapping’ sound, much like the contact mic recordings of metal wires made by Ben Burtt and others to create the classic lazer gun sound. I found that smaller taps actually made for a better zapping sound that heavy hits, and I was also amazed to find that the column amplified a lot of sounds of the surroundings through it’s body. I think this sound is created because soundwaves travel to the top and bottom of the resonant body almost instantaneously – and then return to meet back in the middle. I *think* that’s how it works. I might be wrong. It sounds cool though!

I moved on to a few more interesting metal objects in the area, and decided to experiment with a large metal storage container. It had an extremely resonant body, and after playing around a little, I found that holding the mic down with my thumb made for the best sound.

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I’m really amazed by the sound, it’s huge and has a ton of low end. It’s almost like the resonances created are like a huge metallic reverb. There’s also some nice subtle jangles as the metal settles, which I think adds a lot of cool depth ontop of the roaring, rumbling impact. There may be some slight clipping on the recordings below, please ignore that – it’s raw from the recorder.

I next moved onto a big recycling bin that caught my eye. I opened the lid, and found it was a bin intended to store used fluorescent lights (the big long office style ones. I then dropped the lid and noticed it made an epic rumbling impact that resonated throughout the bin’s metal body. Again, I pressed the mic down with my thumb, and found the sound it captured was rich, huge and very interesting.

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As with the metal storage container, the impacts almost sound like they are in a huge reverberant space. They are pretty beefy, with a nice lot of low end and a lot of body to the sound. The lid dropping makes a specifically nice transient, and it also provides some cool shuddering and shaking after the impact, as the vibrations diffuse. This again is raw, so please excuse any clipping.

And that’s it for now! thanks for having a read. I’ll be back again very soon with more cool recordings.

-Barney

http://www.barneyoramgameaudio.co.uk

Hours 57 – 58: Contact Mic Metal Impacts

Hours 54 – 57: Car Recording 3

Hello! This time i’m finally writing up a recording session I did probably a few months back now, and a little look at some more vehicle audio implementation in UE4.

I worked with a friend of mine, recording his 1.4 Ford Fiesta. I ran with my typical setup, and used the Sound Devices 633 with 3 lavalier mics placed around the car. I rode in the passenger seat, to monitor and capture the audio whilst my friend drove. I used my typical wind projection method, wrapping the mics in foam, and then securing the foam with electrical tape. I picked up some new tape for this session, gorilla tape, which proved to be absolutely ideal for the situation and worked a treat.

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As can been seen above, I set two mics in the engine, and one on the exhaust. I put one of the engine mics on the battery, mainly for fear of it getting too hot, as I was assured the battery shouldn’t get too hot during transit. I strapped it in, and it captured a nice view of the right side of the engine. I attached the second to the joint of some kind of liquid canister (I have no idea what exactly) and it got a good take of the belt in action. Lastly, I attached the final mic to the tow point on the back of the car, and it captured *some* of the exhaust. It mostly got wind, as it was in a relatively unprotected space and once we reached speed the wind pretty much drowned out the detail of the exhaust. Mixed into the other two signals though, it does help to provide some depth. Upon listening back to the recorded audio, I noticed too that at one stage there is a kind of pop / backfire esq sound, at about 20 seconds in, which, with a bit of editing, could be usable in my implementation. Below is a rough mixdown of the three mics in action – this is fairly raw, with just some slight panning and clip slicing.

I also decided to take some of the vehicle audio i’ve been recording recently and have another crack at implementing it into Unreal. This time I used FMOD, having previously used the internal UE4 audio tools. I processed my audio in pro tools, beefing up what I had with distortion, saturation and bass enhancement. I cut out about 6/7 loops, including an idle loop, and arranged them in FMOD to move upwards with an RPM parameter that was controlled by the vehicle speed in UE4. The result is cool, and I put in some wheelspin sounds on the breaking input action taken from my first car recording session. I also set up a parameter in FMOD that would change the audio mix of the engine as the player’s camera perspective changed, and I tried to emulate the sound of an engine from inside the car by rolling off some of the high end, and boosting the rumble of the engine a bit more. I think my implementation has improved since this iteration, but I thought it’d be cool to share my progress with it on the blog. Here’s a rough capture from UE4:

That’s all for now, thanks for reading! I’ll be back again very soon with some more cool stuff.

-Barney

http://www.barneyoramgameaudio.co.uk

 

Hours 54 – 57: Car Recording 3

Hours 53 – 54: Heavy Rain

We’ve had some pretty heavy rainfall today, and parts of the south of the uk have even been partially flooded due to the large amounts of rain. We’ve had intermittent yet quite heavy rainfall during the afternoon and early evening, and I decided not to miss an opportunity so set a couple of mics up to record what I could of it.

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I used my usual choice, a pair of 414’s set up in the A-B config going into the Sound Devices 633. The rain I managed to capture was good, and I got a solid hour of rainfall with intermittent heavy spells. The only slight downfall to recording particularly heavy rain is that it can essentially become white noise at times – this does happen in places in the recording, but irregardless, I think it’d be a helpful rain element to use in my work.
Typically I will record rain from the ground floor in my house, but this evening I decided to try recording from the first floor of my house. I live in a pretty grand old Victorian terraced house, and our first floor is pretty high up – so I avoided a lot of closer reflections and raindrop impacts that I get when recording on the ground floor. That being said, I had to place the mics under an open window – obviously because I didn’t want to get them wet – and this had a minor effect on the sound, with occasional obviously close raindrops. Lower in a mix with other rain elements, I think this wouldn’t be particularly noticeable.
This is, as ever, raw from the recorder – I chopped out a cool bit where the rain swelled to being pretty heavy.

Thanks for reading!

-Barney

http://www.barneyoramgameaudio.co.uk

Hours 53 – 54: Heavy Rain