Category Archives: Experiments

Sennheisser 416 with windshield

Got the pro mic kit out to get the blimp/softie wind enclosure. After yesterday i realised one of the major considerations when shooting on location outside is dealing with wind, most mics come with a basic windsock but on average these are only able to tolerate upto 8mph winds which is nothing.
However i noticed in the pro mic kit there is the Sennheisser 416 microphone i did a bit of reading up on this and found out it was the general professional standard for news reporting and location boom micing in the late 90s and early 2000s. With this in mind i decided that i will definatly be using it tonight to record some of the antics that go on late at night in Bristols city centre.

Hours before heading out for half an hour to record the city centre at night i decided to test it internally in my flat and just happened to test it from my bed pointed at the tv, the sound i got triggered my recollection and imagination of creating atmosphere before dialogue in a internal scene, i can imagine a scene that starts on a close up of a tv and tracks to a person alone miserable or family cosied up on the sofa depending on the situation.

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Experiment 9 – How do i record potentially damaging/ Hazardous sounds

The impetus for this experiment was knowing that there are always going to be some situations where you can’t get optimum or as close as possible to your desired sound source, wether that be for pure space and obstacle reasons or because it would be dangerous to crew and equipment to get too close. With that in mind I decided to try recording a water hazard which could be damaging to electrical devices with the 552 mixer and a shotgun microphone. Making sure to stay as far away from the shower at Bower Ashton as possible but trying to compensate with the mixers input boost and low cut and high cuts to remove rumble and reverb picked up by being further away then optimum. The results were satisfactory loud and clear.

Experiments 8 – How do I record clear stereo Foley sound – Paper Shredder.

 

 

Experiment 7 – Telephone recording device

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I was just trawling the UWE Bower Ashton Connect2 equipment booking site looking for all the sound recording equipment we have access to and stumbled upon this Telephone Recording Device under the Misc area. So due to my inquisitive nature and the fact it looked like a pretty weird/awesome piece of kit why not try it out.

Ok so i wake up at 11 this morning and decide to give it a go plug the phone connection into the phonebox in my room and the phone line into the telephone recording box and plug the line out from the box into the Tascam and record. On playback the audio quality is not the greatest it does sound like im on the phone but its too muddy and not clear enough, this leads me to understand that a much better way of trying to achieve this affect is probably to record the dialogue in post and manipulate it with plug ins to achieve that telephone sound.

Experiments 5 & 6 – How do i use the SoundDevices 552 mixer & How do i record with a mono shotgun to the mixer

Experiment 5 – How do i use the SoundDevices 552 Mixer?

This experiment was predominantly facilitated by having our sound technician Michele available to teach myself and Adam Wickens how to basically use the SoundDevices 552 mixer, for example how inputs for different mics can be organised to specific channels, how l+r input for each channel, how to record in stereo mode, apply low and high cuts to input audio and use the SoundDevices built in microphone to label every recording. Even just at the headphone in the mixer stage we found the mixer to be a far superior  audio recording device than the Tascam, but this was always going to be the case when you compare a at max £200 device to a £2500 device. It is essential to use the mixer for a clear signal. The main benifit with the mixer is that you can lower or boost input signal on the fly reacting to external stimuli whereas with the Tascam you cant meaning if a particularly loud sound comes out of nowhere you cant compensate for it.

Experiment 6 – How do i use a external mono shotgun mic with the mixer?

This experiment was predominantly facilitated by having our sound technician Michele available to teach myself and Adam Wickens how to basically use the SoundDevices 552 mixer, for example how inputs for different mics can be organised to specific channels, how l+r input for each channel, how to record in stereo mode, apply low and high cuts to input audio and use the SoundDevices built in microphone to label every recording. Even just at the headphone in the mixer stage we found the mixer to be a far superior  audio recording device than the Tascam, but this was always going to be the case when you compare a at max £200 device to a £2500 device. It is essential to use the mixer for a clear signal. The main benifit with the mixer is that you can lower or boost input signal on the fly reacting to external stimuli whereas with the Tascam you cant meaning if a particularly loud sound comes out of nowhere you cant compensate for it.

Experiments 3&4 – How do i record point of view sounds, How do i record location sound with a Tascam

Experiment 3 – How do i record point of view sounds?

I decided to use the Tascam again for this experiment as i didnt want to completely rule it out, and there are always going to be situations mainly i guess due to financial implications that it is going to be the only recording device i have access to so i may aswell still try to understand how to get the best out of it. I came to the conclusion that it would probably be useful in situations where i am a lone recordist and have to act out the sounds i am trying to record at the same time as recording them. The recording i got below i feel are adequate enough to demonstrate this.

 

4.  How do I record action sounds outside where there is a lot of unwanted sound/interference? 

But the last role of the dice, before giving up on the Tascam and moving on to a higher quality audio recording device was testing it on location. I know from prior experience that location sound is one of the most taxing difficult to record clear audio free from interference most shotgun mics without a high end wind enclosure are unable to deal with wind speeds above 8mph which is pretty poor. So i took the tascam and a rode shotgun mic upto ashton court and tried to record a selection of on location sounds. There were a few situations again where the Tascam performed adequately but overall again it was poor with all of the same issues ive had on prior experiments. I have come to the conclusion of never using the Tascam unless it is a last resort.

 

Experiment 1&2 – Tascam recording – Awkward spaces and extremely quiet sounds

1. How do I record loud sound in a small space with objects that change how sound travels? – Tascam – in small room with concave objects and lots of reflections – Bathroom extractor fan. –


As expected from this experiment the main conclusion I gathered is that a Tascam really isn’t worth using, I find it is just unable to record clearly with operating and background noise in the final sound clip regardless of input.
I found that the main issue with the Tascam recording is its separation between background noise and desired sound regardless of distance, you either have the gain set low record the desired sound clearly but unbelievably quiet. This experiment made me aware that in order to get the desired sound quality that I seek a different recording device with a higher quality pre-amp. I.e the SoundDevices 552 mixer which is far superior

2. How do I record a extremely quiet sound in a large space? Tascam – recording extremely quiet sound in large space – tap and Light Switch –

Again as expected from this experiment the result was that the tascam was purely unable to pick up the sound of the tap dripping without the gain being set high which clouds the audio with too much background noise and still isnt really loud enough. It was however able to pick up the sound of the light switch reasonably clearly.

This experiment again made me aware that in order to get the desired sound quality that I am trying to be able to record a different recording device with a higher quality pre-amp. I.e the SoundDevices 552 mixer which is far superior is really the only option.

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