Hours 40 – 42: Underwater Recording 1

Hellooo! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged properly, largely due to the fact I’ve been finishing up one of those degree things. With that all out of the way, I can now get on with recording and blogging about it again.

I’m recording sounds at the moment for my spacestation level – which if you haven’t heard about from my social networks, is basically just a demo level I’m putting together to show some of my sound design off in. I decided to put an underwater room into the level – where the player jumps down into a big pool of water – so I could do lots of cool underwater recording to use.

A friend of mine gave me a contact mic – it’s actually a ukulele pickup – and I’ve been using it to capture stuff underwater. I’ve heard contact mics can be quite hit and miss – and although there isn’t a ton of low end on mine, I’m really impressed with how good it sounds.

The level needs a bed of underwater ambience – as well as a layer of ‘underwater’ sounds to go over the player movements / foley / footsteps etc. I intend to introduce an underwater filter in FMOD, which will consist of some careful EQ and these underwater recordings.

I recorded a few days ago in my bath tub – and i’ll probably write those recordings up too at some stage – but I decided to use a different container to see what the sound would be like. The biggest we have in my house is a plastic packing crate – which turned out to be ideal, as the plastic doesn’t produce a ton of reflections (unlike the tub).


I began by just capturing lots of water movement sounds and bubbles.I used my hands mainly to manipulate the water around the mic, and found that indirect movement actually sounds a lot better than direct (as the mic distorts when water hits it directly). I used a couple of plastic cups to trap air under and release to create some pleasing bubbles. I also wanted to try and re-create the sound of plunging into water, and poured a cupful of water indirectly onto the mic to make a water impact-y kind of sound. The results sound pretty good, and I’ve boosted the bass a little in this clip to make it sound a little thicker.

Next I decided to play with some impulse responses. I want to be able to run a realistic sounding filter over all of my sounds to indicate that they are underwater, so I thought an impulse response captured from underwater might do the trick. I began by submerging the balloon and popping it in the water. This frankly, was dumb. All I really got was a wet kitchen. I then decided to leave the mic underwater and pop the balloon just above the surface – these are a lot more usable. I’ll probably use the IR in the FMOD session – more details on that in the future. Again, the clip is raw from the recorder, but with a little bass boost applied.

As ever, thanks for reading! I’ll be back very soon with more cool stuff.



Hours 40 – 42: Underwater Recording 1

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