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

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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