Archive for the ‘ Field recording ’ Category

Stadium Crowd – The back door

Empire Stadium MLS: WhiteCaps VS Sounders

Working on sports projects often requires crowd audio that helps to convey a specific place and responds emotionally to the actions of a game. Very often, you don’t even think consciously about the crowd as your eyes are deeply focused on the action and your hands are firmly gripped to your chair. The reaction of the crowd though can physically make you feel the drama and transport you in a fraction of a second into the stadium with the tens of thousands of fans.

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Neumann RSM191 AS

Schoeps MS Cmit 5u + Ccm8

There’s a concept by Walter Much here that explains how visuals knock at the front door while sound tends to come from the back door. In fact, two different parts of our brain treat separately what we see and what we hear. That’s because our vision is meant to directly inform us of the front while our ears should prevent us from being attacked from behind.

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BC Place MLS: WhiteCaps VS Timbers

Sony D50 for close proximity

Crowd sound is a powerful storytelling tool that has 3 characteristics: Behavior, Content and State. It can be yelling, swearing, cheering, chanting, roaring, idling… It may clap, rumble, whistle, blow some horns… And it finally may be positive, negative or neutral and play with tension, anger, surprise or joy.

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BC Place CFL: Lions VS Eskimos

BC Place Stadium

PA announcements, music, chants, fireworks, swear words and anything not suitable have to be removed. I found it very useful to stay on the field and change location when needed.

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Crowds can be very large and reach high dB SPL in half a second. With limited equipment and on my own time, I managed to access the fields during 2 soccer games and a football game. Soccer and football present different crowd behaviors and it was a chance to have indoor and outdoor alternatives. The Empire Stadium has a capacity to seat 27500 and BC Place 60 000, so by coming early enough, I could arrange to take the best spot and capture distant and proximity perspectives without disturbing the TV crews.

Happy accident 2 – Garden Snake

My landlord has this wild garden where flowers, vegetables, small trees and big plants share the same small space. One late night of Summer, she was still gardening and I could barely see her. She accidentally dropped the hose on the ground resulting in a sound that I interpreted as a hissing snake. It was actually the small stream of water that fluttered a big leaf. I waited until she was done and I went outside playing with this intriguing reptile.

Ice crack recordings 2010.

It was time for me to go back to France for Christmas, eat some snails, frog legs, a boat load of strong liquors and I was ready to go in the field recording ice cracks in the small mountains of Les Vosges accompanied of my father and my brother.

Here is a short edit of our best performances. I just used Comp and EQ to bump up the low levels.

We got up early and drove by some small frozen puddles, some medium size ponds and finally a small lake. I thought it would be good to try different thicknesses of ice sheets so I knew we should be prepared for the cold and the possibility of falling in the water..

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Even with a -18°C peak in the morning, my brother undressed when he heard his snow pants (that’s when the strong liquors come very handy) and then he got to work.

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.Natural ice is definitely a fantastic inexpensive material that you can throw, scrub, break, scatter and lick (huh!). It can sometimes sound like breaking glass, falling rock or wood creaking!

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.During winter, most forests are very silent because of the surrounding snow that work as a natural insulation, so if you find a spot with no wind, planes or birds, you can get some very detailed textures from different perspectives that will help you later on. Check out the great work of Frank Bry and Richard Devine for more info.

Thanks to Richard and Alain.

Field and Toys 2010.

Electromagnetism

  • Introduction:

Electricity · Magnetism

Electromagnetic fields are present everywhere in our environment but are invisible and silent respectively to the human eye and ear. As you probably know, Electric fields are created by differences in voltage: the higher the voltage, the stronger will be the resultant field. Magnetic fields are created when electric current flows: the greater the current, the stronger the magnetic field..

 

 

So any electrical source generate a time-varying magnetic field that is proportionally identical in frequencies and amplitudes to the source. This is the theory behind all the speakers, dynamic microphones and also guitar pickups.

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$80 Seymour Duncan custom pickup

$10 No brand custom pickup.

The Seymour Duncan pickup has a better Signal-Noise ratio and almost doesn’t make any hum because of his twin coil design. Soldering the white one is very easy but you’ll need wiring instructions if you plan to get a Seymour Duncan.

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  • Electric Sources:

Pickup schema

Those are a few examples only. Because pick-ups don’t need any power, I soldered an XLR to 1/8 inch cable so that I can hook them up to my Sony D-50 and carry it in my pocket. I usually throw them anywhere I see an interesting source of energy (engine compartment of a car, photocopier, transformers, electric poles, network routers and links etc…). You can listen to the signal made by your remote when you press a key, your camera adjusting the lenses or the flash loading, a spinning hard-drive or the sound of your RAM writing data in your computer, a satellite antenna etc…

One of the biggest advantage of this technique is that it is not sensitive to wind, handling noise and background environment. But it’s sometimes harder than you think to isolate a big hum generated by the AC when you’re focused on the servo of a printer. I’ve destroyed my cellphone and froze the RAM of my laptop though, so please read the caution below before starting any experiments.

  • CAUTION:

Powerful magnets can affect the operation of pacemakers and other similar medical devices. A guitar pick-up must never be placed near a person with such a device. Powerful magnets can also damage electronic devices such as TVs and CRTs. They may also scramble data on magnetic media such as hard disks, credit cards, ID cards and cassette tapes.

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