Field Recording Course Asbjoern Andersen


How do you get started in field recording, from a technical perspective? Ian Smith has put together an excellent course on exactly that, covering everything from microphones, gear and techniques to post production & more - and he has generously allowed us to share it here on the blog.
Written and recorded by Ian Smith
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Ian Smith’s introduction:

Digital technology has been a help for many types of creative work, including field recording — but it also brings new challenges, as the computer technology involved intrudes more and more into your workflow. An audio recorder is a computer, with its own operating system and user interface; and though we might try to ignore that fact, sooner or later we will be faced with menus asking about compression modes, bit depths, and so on.

This series of videos is going to try to de-mystify the technical aspects of field recording, so that non-technical people can get past the nuts and bolts to concentrate on what matters — the art and craft of field recording.

Learn more about Ian Smith here

 

Quick navigation:

– click below to jump straight to your chosen topic:

Quick StartIntroductionTechnologyMicrophonesEquipmentConnectionsTechniqueDigital ObsolescencePost-ProductionMore resources for field recording

 

Quick Start:

To kick the series off, this episode is going to be a very basic, quick-start beginners guide to field recording; just going over all the basic concepts very lightly. Future episodes will go into specific topics in more detail:


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Introduction:

In this series of videos, I’m going to try to give you a nuts-and-bolts introduction to field recording. I’m going to start here with an introduction to the concepts of field recording, and the motivation for this course:


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Technology:

Modern audio recording is all about computer-based technologies; which might a problem for people coming from a creative background. So in this section I’m going to give you a quick overview of these kinds of technologies, specifically the kinds of computer tech that are intruding more and more into field recording.

The WAV file dumping utility referred to in the video can be seen on the Wavdump page. BWF MetaEdit can be downloaded from the MediaArea site:


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Microphones:

Of course the microphone is the business end of your system, so it’s worth understanding how they work. But with audio recording covering an amazing array of different activities, mics have evolved to be pretty diverse. Let’s try and break it down:


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Equipment:

To get going in field recording, you’re going to need some gear. This doesn’t need to be insanely expensive; the difference in quality between mid-price and top-of-the-line gear is steadily shrinking as technology improvements spread downwards.

The choice of equipment out there is bewildering, but this episode will at least get you off the ground by showing you the types of kit you might consider for field recording. Gourski – Foley Beats, an example of making complex compositions with field recording:


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Connections:

If you’re setting up a field recording kit, there’s one thing you really need to be aware of, and that’s the different technologies used to connect mics to recorders.

The “consumer” and “pro” systems commonly used unfortunately aren’t compatible; and the choice between them isn’t straightforward. This episode tries to explain the issues:


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Technique:

So I’ve talked a lot about equipment, technology, and all that stuff. Here I’m going to talk about how to actually get out and get Field Recording, with some general tips on preparation and technique:


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Popular on A Sound Effect right now - article continues below:

 

Latest releases:  
  • HITS, BUILD UPS, EXPLOSIONS, DRONES, RUMBLES, WHOOSH & TRANSITIONS, DROPS, ANTICIPATION RISING sounds, IMPACT sounds like SLAMS, BURSTS, and SHATTERS with elements covering METAL, WOOD, ELECTRICITY, SYNTH, PLASTIC, FIRE, and more are all in this concise set of 225 cinematic sound effects! Each sound has been carefully designed to cover all shapes and sizes you’ll ever need for any media project that needs epic cinematic sounds of the highest industry standard quality!

    ADDITIONAL FEATURES:

    • Easy to use, drag and drop ready
    • AAA mixing and mastering
    • High Definition, Standard Quality WAV and High Quality MP3 formats
    • Meticulously labelled and easily searchable files, including keywords/tags
    • FREE Updates to higher versions, FOREVER!
    Add to cart
  • Bring your creature designs to life with a ferocious edge using the beastly power of Wildlife Collection: Leopards. Containing more than 200 exotic leopard sound effects, this library delivers a wide variety of recordings that are ready for naturalistic use or manipulation for sound design applications.

    Featuring the sounds of both spotted leopards and black leopards, recordist and sound designer Chris Diebold (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Transformers: The Last Knight) captured this collection at 24-bit/192kHz using multiple microphones, including the Sanken CO-100K, which captures and maintains up to 100kHz (rather than 20kHz from other microphones), making these natural and characteristic leopard recordings ripe for pitch processing and control over your sound design. Use the high-quality recordings of monstrous growls, threatening snarls, and ornery groans to design your beasts, creatures, and more.

    In addition to the raw recordings, this collection also contains designed and “hyped” sounds, ready to drag-and-drop directly into your projects. Each sound file is embedded with rich, descriptive metadata for fast, intuitive search results to help increase efficiency and sustain creativity.

    Key Features:

    • 206 sound effects (2.65GB)
    • 24-bit/192kHz broadcast .wav files
    • Descriptive embedded metadata
    • 100% Royalty-Free
    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1596319199
    Add to cart
  • Recorded by renowned innovators of film sound design Ann Kroeber and Alan Splet, the Stallion library features an incredible variety of charismatic horse sound effects including movements and vocalizations.

    Intensify your projects with rumbling racing gallops, thumping canters, steady trots, and heavy rhythmic breathing. Bring creatures to life with the emotive whinny and neigh sounds of mustang stallions plus strong snorts, charming grunts, light nickers, and guttural exhales.

    Many of these horse sounds were recorded for major feature films including The Black Stallion, The Horse Whisperer, and Hidalgo. Splet’s work on The Black Stallion won him a Special Achievement Academy Award® for Sound Editing. This recognition was largely due to the quality and depth of the source recordings he and Kroeber created.

    Using a unique custom microphone rig (one mic fastened under the belly, another placed in front of the nose), the galloping sound effects in this library achieve an extraordinary dramatic quality with the horse’s powerful footsteps captured in harmony with its breathing.

    Get an array of horse footsteps at your fingertips – moving at every gait and on various surfaces from gravelly dirt to shallow water, grass, sand, cobblestone and more. The Stallion library also includes miscellaneous sounds like chewing, saddle creaks, stretching leather, and scraping carriage wheels.

    Following the libraries Cinematic Winds and Industrial Sounds with Soul, Stallion is the third exclusive release by Pro Sound Effects curated from Sound Mountain: Kroeber and Splet’s venerable private recording collection created over decades of film sound work with celebrated directors like David Lynch, Carroll Ballard, and Peter Weir. Kroeber has since worked on or supplied sounds for film, TV, and games – including 6 movies that won an Academy Award® in sound, and 7 additional nominations.

    Key Features:

    • 89 sound effects (1.1GB)
    • 24-bit/48kHz broadcast .wav files
    • Descriptive embedded metadata
    • 100% Royalty-Free
    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1596232800
    Add to cart
  • Ambisonics Wind Farm Ambiences Play Track 8 sounds included, 48 mins total From: $30

    Mix of ambience recordings, both with and close-ups of wind turbines in a wind farm.

    With every purchase there are some free extra files, linked to some ambience ones,  recorded with shotgun microphones, to get an even closer close-up, ideal also for SFX and sound design.

  • Environments Wind Play Track 68 sounds included, 165 mins total $39 $29

    This comprehensive sound library is where you can find: sounds of wind in urban and nature environment, room tones, wind recorded in car, wind whistling under doors and windows, at the sea-boats mast and hardware, in trees, in buildings corridors, lobby, attic etc. Check the list of sounds for full info. All files are metadata tagged, with detailed description of equipment used object of recording etc.

    Recorded with high end recording equipment: Sennheisers MKHs, mics; Rycote blimps, Sound Devices 744T recorder, Sound Devices MixPre mixer, Mogami cables, etc.

    Maximum peak level on all recordings is -5 dBFS (for great dynamic range, great headroom), originally recorded with great headroom keeping in mind and to maintain great dynamic range of this natural phenomena.

    26 %
    OFF
    Ends 1595368799
    Add to cart

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Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:
 

 
Digital Obsolescence:

Media obsolescence is a problem we’ve probably all heard about from time to time, often with scare stories about how all the media we’re creating today are going to become unusable. The good news is that as far as the future is concerned, the problem of data obsolescence is now largely solved — maybe not completely, but the tools are there, and if we know how to use them, we really don’t need to be worried about this:


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Post-Production:

Once you’ve made a recording, and got it on to your PC, you can do some post-production to make it sound better. This isn’t essential, but even for very simple recordings, a little editing can make it work a lot better. So in this episode, I’m going to give you an intro to some basic things you can do, quite easily, to make your recordings more listenable.


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A big thanks to Ian Smith for letting us share this course! Read more about his work here

 

 

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    This comprehensive sound library is where you can find: sounds of wind in urban and nature environment, room tones, wind recorded in car, wind whistling under doors and windows, at the sea-boats mast and hardware, in trees, in buildings corridors, lobby, attic etc. Check the list of sounds for full info. All files are metadata tagged, with detailed description of equipment used object of recording etc.

    Recorded with high end recording equipment: Sennheisers MKHs, mics; Rycote blimps, Sound Devices 744T recorder, Sound Devices MixPre mixer, Mogami cables, etc.

    Maximum peak level on all recordings is -5 dBFS (for great dynamic range, great headroom), originally recorded with great headroom keeping in mind and to maintain great dynamic range of this natural phenomena.

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Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • HITS, BUILD UPS, EXPLOSIONS, DRONES, RUMBLES, WHOOSH & TRANSITIONS, DROPS, ANTICIPATION RISING sounds, IMPACT sounds like SLAMS, BURSTS, and SHATTERS with elements covering METAL, WOOD, ELECTRICITY, SYNTH, PLASTIC, FIRE, and more are all in this concise set of 225 cinematic sound effects! Each sound has been carefully designed to cover all shapes and sizes you’ll ever need for any media project that needs epic cinematic sounds of the highest industry standard quality!

    ADDITIONAL FEATURES:

    • Easy to use, drag and drop ready
    • AAA mixing and mastering
    • High Definition, Standard Quality WAV and High Quality MP3 formats
    • Meticulously labelled and easily searchable files, including keywords/tags
    • FREE Updates to higher versions, FOREVER!
  • Bring your creature designs to life with a ferocious edge using the beastly power of Wildlife Collection: Leopards. Containing more than 200 exotic leopard sound effects, this library delivers a wide variety of recordings that are ready for naturalistic use or manipulation for sound design applications.

    Featuring the sounds of both spotted leopards and black leopards, recordist and sound designer Chris Diebold (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Transformers: The Last Knight) captured this collection at 24-bit/192kHz using multiple microphones, including the Sanken CO-100K, which captures and maintains up to 100kHz (rather than 20kHz from other microphones), making these natural and characteristic leopard recordings ripe for pitch processing and control over your sound design. Use the high-quality recordings of monstrous growls, threatening snarls, and ornery groans to design your beasts, creatures, and more.

    In addition to the raw recordings, this collection also contains designed and “hyped” sounds, ready to drag-and-drop directly into your projects. Each sound file is embedded with rich, descriptive metadata for fast, intuitive search results to help increase efficiency and sustain creativity.

    Key Features:

    • 206 sound effects (2.65GB)
    • 24-bit/192kHz broadcast .wav files
    • Descriptive embedded metadata
    • 100% Royalty-Free
    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1596319199
  • Recorded by renowned innovators of film sound design Ann Kroeber and Alan Splet, the Stallion library features an incredible variety of charismatic horse sound effects including movements and vocalizations.

    Intensify your projects with rumbling racing gallops, thumping canters, steady trots, and heavy rhythmic breathing. Bring creatures to life with the emotive whinny and neigh sounds of mustang stallions plus strong snorts, charming grunts, light nickers, and guttural exhales.

    Many of these horse sounds were recorded for major feature films including The Black Stallion, The Horse Whisperer, and Hidalgo. Splet’s work on The Black Stallion won him a Special Achievement Academy Award® for Sound Editing. This recognition was largely due to the quality and depth of the source recordings he and Kroeber created.

    Using a unique custom microphone rig (one mic fastened under the belly, another placed in front of the nose), the galloping sound effects in this library achieve an extraordinary dramatic quality with the horse’s powerful footsteps captured in harmony with its breathing.

    Get an array of horse footsteps at your fingertips – moving at every gait and on various surfaces from gravelly dirt to shallow water, grass, sand, cobblestone and more. The Stallion library also includes miscellaneous sounds like chewing, saddle creaks, stretching leather, and scraping carriage wheels.

    Following the libraries Cinematic Winds and Industrial Sounds with Soul, Stallion is the third exclusive release by Pro Sound Effects curated from Sound Mountain: Kroeber and Splet’s venerable private recording collection created over decades of film sound work with celebrated directors like David Lynch, Carroll Ballard, and Peter Weir. Kroeber has since worked on or supplied sounds for film, TV, and games – including 6 movies that won an Academy Award® in sound, and 7 additional nominations.

    Key Features:

    • 89 sound effects (1.1GB)
    • 24-bit/48kHz broadcast .wav files
    • Descriptive embedded metadata
    • 100% Royalty-Free
    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1596232800
  • Ambisonics Wind Farm Ambiences Play Track 8 sounds included, 48 mins total From: $30

    Mix of ambience recordings, both with and close-ups of wind turbines in a wind farm.

    With every purchase there are some free extra files, linked to some ambience ones,  recorded with shotgun microphones, to get an even closer close-up, ideal also for SFX and sound design.

  • Environments Wind Play Track 68 sounds included, 165 mins total $39 $29

    This comprehensive sound library is where you can find: sounds of wind in urban and nature environment, room tones, wind recorded in car, wind whistling under doors and windows, at the sea-boats mast and hardware, in trees, in buildings corridors, lobby, attic etc. Check the list of sounds for full info. All files are metadata tagged, with detailed description of equipment used object of recording etc.

    Recorded with high end recording equipment: Sennheisers MKHs, mics; Rycote blimps, Sound Devices 744T recorder, Sound Devices MixPre mixer, Mogami cables, etc.

    Maximum peak level on all recordings is -5 dBFS (for great dynamic range, great headroom), originally recorded with great headroom keeping in mind and to maintain great dynamic range of this natural phenomena.

    26 %
    OFF
    Ends 1595368799
 
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