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.

  1. Hi Jean-Edouard

    I’ve worked for the rugby wordcup on the ground with french TV to spot sound of impact of rugbymans. It was realy impressive, specialy with Irish team. It’s realy difficult to record stadium crowd because of singing, insults, properer song of team. Well done!

    Nice editing on yours!

  2. That must be really cool! Did you get lots of body impacts? I imagine you mostly got efforts and grunts, right? Where you using something similar to this: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/439439-REG/Crystal_Partners_BE3KSCLEAR_Big_Ears_Parabolic_Microphone.html

  3. Great post. Really enjoyed the recordings.

    • Derik White
    • April 27th, 2012

    is there a way I can get some good samples of these crowds to use in a track? Contact me for $$$

    Thanks,

    Derik

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