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

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HOURS 66 – 70: Farm Recording

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