You’ve just launched ‘Echo Collective: Fields’. What’s the idea behind this new platform, and how does it differ from your existing site?
The reason we did a sister site was because we wanted to clearly define the focus of the original a little better, while still allowing ourselves room to expand and grow.
echocollectivefx.com will continue to focus on the sounds that we can dream up in the studio, and that can be packaged into Kontakt instruments for musicians as well as sound designers.
echocollectivefields.com will focus more on surround ambiences, and broadly on stuff that we have to leave our comfy studio to go and record. It also allows us to neatly package a separate “entire collection” on the fields side that is more coherent on its own.
You’re launching a trio of ambience libraries – could you give some details on these new releases?
Sure thing! Here’s an overview:
I have unique access there with a press pass and free reign to bring in gear and wander about, so I figured it would be my own damn fault if I didn’t go record those games.
I did entire games from various positions, and had various run ins with production people and officials during the course of the project.
On the camera platform I once managed to get a local photographer to relocate so that his DSLR constantly snapping wouldn’t foul the recordings.
Outside the arena I was confronted by security more than once.
I went to a game the weekend after the Boston bombings, got all of my gear past the (very beefed up) security, and then rolled the entire game from under the bleachers at event level. The only place I didn’t get that I wanted was the video control room, but for clearance reasons I figured I wouldn’t have very much usable from there anyway.
At one point I talked to an OR prep nurse, and she allowed me to rig a mic in an operating room in advance of a procedure that was about to happen. I ran my bag and mic in there, hit record, and went outside and waited. After a few minutes they wheeled a lady in and implanted an electrode into her spinal cord right in front my mics!
For HIPPAA reasons I couldn’t include that recording in the collection, but it was amazing to have those sounds right in front of me.
We covered the entire hospital for a TV series we were doing post on, but the sounds contractually were mine to do with as I pleased, so I edited them up and included them in this release.
I used the Schoeps double MS decoder plugin for that stuff and with some tweaking it really worked out well.
I used to do radio spots for the rodeo here in town and I managed to talk my way into full press pass access to a couple of shows. This was before the time of H4ns and other such boxes, so I grabbed my trusty Tascam DAP1 (portable DAT recorder) and headed out.
I got tons of great crowds and ambiences but what really blew me away was the fact that when the show was over the cowboys kept on competing. With dozens of cowboys and events and only 2 hours to put on a show, they just wrapped up the in game presentation 2/3rds of the way through.
Before I knew it I was alone in this empty arena right up close to a group of cowboys doing the steer wrestling event. Those gate releases and the clean sounds of the cowboys wrestling the steers down with their bare hands have been eternally useful to me since then.
This library has been purchased from our studio a few times in the past for use on bigger projects, so I figured there would be a need for it out in the greater community.
A little later I went to a horse ranch owned by a voice talent I work with. She’s a friend, and again I felt an obligation to get the recordings solely based on the fact that I had access.
We spent the entire day walking and trotting with the horses, and at the end we gathered a dozen or so of them up and stampeded them past the mics and back. It was pretty thrilling.
What’s been your recording setup for these libraries?
Pro Hockey Crowds was dual ORTF Line audio CM3s up on a stand above people’s heads mostly.
Hospital Ambiences was dual MS – Schoeps CMC6.mk4 front, Schoeps CMC6.mk8 side, Sennheiser MHK50 rear. All decoded in post into 5.0 using the Schoeps double MS decoding tool.
Texas Ranches and Rodeos was mostly the VP-88 into the Tascam DAP1, but there’s some MKH70 in there as well.
How do you decide what ambiences to target – and what’s next for your new initiative?
My philosophy on this side of echo | collective is going to be that I want to find unique and often difficult to obtain ambiences and get them done in high res surround.
I’m fortunate in that I have unique access to lots of places that others may not, so it’s just a matter of taking the time to get out and make the recordings as soon as the locations become available to me.
I have access to some other venues local to me that will be getting better coverage in the future – the MLB ballpark, some very busy outdoor markets, and then maybe some other industrial and institutional interiors.
In some ways my city is like every big city, and in others it’s very unique – so I do my best to seek out the things that are interesting to me and maybe useful to others. I also don’t mind owning the whole southern/Texas thing as well. There will be a West Texas winds library in the future for sure.
I’m always refining my recording technique, and I believe in the concept of making a decision and owning it. That’s why I did go ahead and decode the double MS recordings.
I actually spent a fair amount of time getting those decodes exactly just so, and really taking responsibility for that process with both the decode tool and some EQ per clip to reduce light hums and other stuff like that.
It’s the best way I know how to work.
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