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Old December 20th, 2007, 12:16 AM   #1
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Landscape audiography

OK, hopefully the title says it all. I've searched a lot here and am still not so clear - so here I go asking the pros how to capture the sound of it all (OK, maybe not it "all").

Scenarios:

1 - I'm at the shore. The Pacific. Those waves are thunderous, but I can't get a shotgun 4 feet from the source. I also hear with both ears, but currently only use one ME66. This isn't working for me and I'm ready to do what I need to, to get this right.

2 - I'm still at the shore, only now I'm panning in a feverous attempt to chase surfers across the water. And these guys are half a mile to a mile away. Then they come in and I actually AM four feet away - and they're talking...

3 - Wide shot. Outdoors. Lots going on. You can see right, you can see left - but you can only hear the middle. And then of course that same track is recorded to both channels, so now you do have two ears - that hear the exact same thing.

I just received my field recorder, because I realize that I'll need one. Now for the mics.. Keeping the ME66 in action, I now have three empty channels. Could you guys please help me fill them with the right stuff? I've read a lot about recording voice, a lot about recording Disney and bands and keeping the neighbors air conditioner out of the "wave". I'm just not so sure I've arrived at my answer yet.

Thanks in advance and DON'T FORGET ITS CHRISTMAS IN A FEW DAYS - go buy your girl something nice (on the way back from the audio store)
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Old December 20th, 2007, 02:10 AM   #2
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Hmmmmm ..... using my own ancient mics:

1. X-Y my two 415T

2. 815T (but if you're doing the panning who is cueing the mic?). I happen to be one in 6 billion who actually appreciate sound perspective, but is the frame wide or tight?

3. Are you trying to record atmos or dialogue?

Is there a budget for ADR/looping?


Just my tuppence.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 04:22 AM   #3
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It sounds like your trying to pickup a stereo image of the waves and sound without dialog. If this is the case, then this is where the Sennheiser 418s mic comes in. The nice thing about it is as long as your DAW can decode MS stereo, then you can tweak the stereo image from the comfort of your own chair after the fact. Of course being able to tweak the image on location has advantages too, so if you want to do that, make sure your recorder/mixer can decode MS stereo.

Here is a site I stumbled onto recently with some great sounding examples of nature recordings.

http://frogrecordist.home.mindspring...s/samples.html

Wayne
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Old December 20th, 2007, 06:07 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Eric Gulbransen View Post
OK, hopefully the title says it all. I've searched a lot here and am still not so clear - so here I go asking the pros how to capture the sound of it all (OK, maybe not it "all").

Scenarios:

1 - I'm at the shore. The Pacific. Those waves are thunderous, but I can't get a shotgun 4 feet from the source. I also hear with both ears, but currently only use one ME66. This isn't working for me and I'm ready to do what I need to, to get this right.

2 - I'm still at the shore, only now I'm panning in a feverous attempt to chase surfers across the water. And these guys are half a mile to a mile away. Then they come in and I actually AM four feet away - and they're talking...

3 - Wide shot. Outdoors. Lots going on. You can see right, you can see left - but you can only hear the middle. And then of course that same track is recorded to both channels, so now you do have two ears - that hear the exact same thing. I just received my field recorder, because I realize that I'll need one. Now for the mics.. Keeping the ME66 in action, I now have three empty channels. Could you guys please help me fill them with the right stuff? I've read a lot about recording voice, a lot about recording Disney and bands and keeping the neighbors air conditioner out of the "wave". I'm just not so sure I've arrived at my answer yet.

Thanks in advance and DON'T FORGET ITS CHRISTMAS IN A FEW DAYS - go buy your girl something nice (on the way back from the audio store)
The 4 feet (or 2 or 3 feet) you see me and others talking about is for dialog recording. What really counts is sound pressure level arriving at the mic and the relative intensities at the mic of the sounds you want to record compared to that of the other sounds in the environment you DON'T want to record. So for your surf ambience you don't need to worry so much about a 4 foot working distance, 5 would probably work just as well <grin>. Seriously, you're not trying to isolate sound coming from a point location from the surrounding sound, for the surf you WANT the surrounding sound. So for that general environmental ambience just worry about keeping a safe distance far enough up the beach to keep spray from hitting your mic and make sure you have excellent wind protection. Recording mono with a wide cardioid or in stereo with a stationary X/Y arrangement of cardioids or perhaps better, an A/B stereo arrangement with a pair of wide cardioids or even a pair of omnis spaced about 6 to 10 feet apart and aimed straight out to sea would be fine. Mid/Side arrangement of a cardioid and a figure-8 would also give a good stereo soundfield and avoid some of the phase issues you might have with A/B if it's collapsed to mono.

Recording the surfers talking while on their boards is going to be really tricky. I can't think of anything from the beach or on a boat other than a parabolic mic that could get them in real time as they're out beyond the surflne or on the waves. Perhaps you should think about rigging up some waterproofed portable recorders and lav mic arrangments that they could wear on a belt - perhaps borrow a tune from the wedding shooters and rig up some iRivers and Giant Squid lavs sealed in baggies and condoms - that way you're not risking much money if they get drowned or lost at sea. At the end of their runs, as they run up onto the beach, a shotgun (again with good spray protection) could work for their shouts etc as they approach within a few feet of the camera.

No matter what you do, remember that moisture is death to a condensor mic and some of the best mics will also be the most sensitive to it. Often permanently-charged 'electret' mics like the AKG Bluelines will continue to function in high moisture areas while externally charged 'true condensor' mics like the Schoeps may get noisy or even die until they get dried out. In really harsh environments dynamic mics can be your best friend but AFAIK dynamic shotguns or hypers don't exist.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 09:47 AM   #5
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OK first of all you sound guys are great. Very generous and helpful. Feels like Christmas.

The field recorder that I just got is a Tascam HD-P2. As far as budget, in my mind there's only one way to do something. If I can't afford it now, I'll buy the next piece and keep saving.

I am not so concerned about recording the surfers voices while they're out there. If you take a look at the link I put up there you'll see these guys are REALLY out there.

Next problem, I'm not familiar with some of the lingo used in your responses. Sorry, I keep going out and shooting, and I keep reading, but the green just won't wash off..


I don't understand what "or perhaps better, an A/B stereo arrangement" means.

"phase issues" you might have with A/B if it's collapsed to mono - is another one I'm stuck on"

"as long as your DAW can decode MS stereo" - both DAW and MS.

Lastly "ADR/looping"


I'm sorry to be so lame, guys. But look at all the words I DID understand! Pardon me while I go search the internet encyclopedia (for the 18,000th time since I found DVinfo.net)


Thank you very much for the help :- )
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Old December 20th, 2007, 11:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Gulbransen View Post
...
Next problem, I'm not familiar with some of the lingo used in your responses. Sorry, I keep going out and shooting, and I keep reading, but the green just won't wash off..


I don't understand what "or perhaps better, an A/B stereo arrangement" means.

"phase issues" you might have with A/B if it's collapsed to mono - is another one I'm stuck on"

"as long as your DAW can decode MS stereo" - both DAW and MS.

Lastly "ADR/looping"


...:- )
Take a look at this PDF file on the Schoeps website - it's a handy quick reference to various mic placement techniques for stereo recording such as X/Y, A/B, etc. http://schoeps.de/PDFs/stereo-record...chniques-e.pdf

The phase issues I was referring to can occur when you mix the two channels of a stereo signal down to a single mono channel as can happen, for example, when your show is broadcast. Not everyone has a home theatre system and not all broadcast stations or cable systems distribute in stereo and they'll take your left and right channels and mix them together. So why do we care? Imagine a tone recorded on both the left and right channel. If you look at the waveform, both left and right are going up and down at the same time - the two signals are said to be "in-phase." Now imagine that we slide just one channel a little bit, say with a 1kHz tone we slide it 1/2 cycle or delay it 1/2 millisecond compared to its buddy. Now the left channel's waveform is going up when the right one is going down and vice versa and the signals would be said to be out of phase with each other. What happens when you mix a going up and an equal going down? Right, they cancel each other out. Well, an A/B microphone placement, as well as some others I didn't name, rely on microphones that are spaced apart from each other. A sound from, say, 45 degree off to the right will arrive at the left microphone slightly later than it arrived at the right microphone. When we listen in stereo our brains use this time difference as part of the information we process to determine where the sound appears to be coming from. But when we mix the two channels into a single mono channel, because of that same arrival time difference between the two mics, the left goesupsies and the right goesupsies don't exactly coincide and you get a frequency dependent pattern of partial cancellation and reinforcment going on that's called 'comb filtering' and sounds terrible. X/Y mic placements have the capsules coincident with each other and there is no arrival time dfference to contend with. The same for the M/S technique, though for a slightly different reason. As a result those two give fewer headaches in post than do spaced arrays such a A/B or ORTF (the PDF above illustrates all of these).

DAW: Digital Audio Workstation, your editing software.

M/S: Mid/Side mic technique. The stereo signal is recorded with two mics, a cardioid Mid mic pointing straight ahead and a figure-8 pattern Side placed right under the Mid with the long axis of the '8' running left-to-right 90 degrees to the axis of the mid mic and the top of the '8', the 'front' of the mic, facing left. Somewhere along the line - the mixer, the recorder, or your workstation - this 'matrixed' set of signals is converted into stereo by mixing the mid and side mic together to form the stereo left channel and a copy of the mid along with a phase-inverted copy of the side signal to form the right stereo channel.

ADR Looping: Automatic Dialog Replacement (and it's hardly automatic) Going into a studio to re-record lines that were unusable in the recording done on location, the talent saying their lines in sync to picture.

HTH
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Old December 20th, 2007, 11:57 AM   #7
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Steve, I feel like I'm sitting in front of a huge Thanksgiving dinner spread - and I'm hungry as all get-out. Your words are the meal.

Thank you very much for walking me through all this. I just learned enough in this one thread to get a much clearer understanding of how little I really know.

Only up from here.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 12:04 PM   #8
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Also check out:

http://www.dpamicrophones.com/

and look at their microphone university.

Wayne
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Old December 21st, 2007, 07:10 AM   #9
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Hi Eric,

Maybe a bit unconventional. But check out http://www.ohrwurmaudio.de/o_beschr.html

From what I read it could be perfect for taking recordings of your environment like we perceive it with our ears.

Unfortunately it's only available in German (not my native language but I can understand it) so you should use Babelfish or the Google translate web page function to translate it into English.

Regards, Andre.
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Old December 21st, 2007, 08:56 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Wayne Brissette View Post
It sounds like your trying to pickup a stereo image of the waves and sound without dialog. If this is the case, then this is where the Sennheiser 418s mic comes in. The nice thing about it is as long as your DAW can decode MS stereo, then you can tweak the stereo image from the comfort of your own chair after the fact. Of course being able to tweak the image on location has advantages too, so if you want to do that, make sure your recorder/mixer can decode MS stereo.

Here is a site I stumbled onto recently with some great sounding examples of nature recordings.

http://frogrecordist.home.mindspring...s/samples.html

Wayne
Good call Wayne. YOu need both cables plugged in to make it work and it's M/S, as you say. An AT 835ST is also an option. A bit less finnicky, switchable from mono to stereo and in diifferent widths.

The new number for this mic is the BP4029.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old December 21st, 2007, 05:19 PM   #11
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I backed into the Frogrecordist link up above and found THIS page.

What a huge help this was in understanding setups as well.

Now I'm searching for some sort of pattern illustration for all the different types of mics discussed here. It's Christmas, so I'm tempted to order the 418s, but the Frogrecordist sure does have some sweet sounding recordings there - and I don't see that he used this mic. Mostly he's naming the MKH40 and 30, and even 80 down at the bottom. His frog recordings sound exactly like the type of quality and varying levels of sounds that I would love to be able to capture myself one day.

Thank you again guys. Still digesting
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Old December 21st, 2007, 05:38 PM   #12
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If you want nature sounds, these are good mics. They are very quiet.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old December 21st, 2007, 06:02 PM   #13
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Yeah I hope they're good mics... Cause I just found out how much they run.

Watch me now. In a month's time I'm gonna' show up at the shorline in a truck that still needs tires, I'll be wearing my work coat everywhere, still, and there will be no peanut butter or jelly left at any nearby stores. Yet all you'll see is teeth and a big grin.
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Old December 21st, 2007, 06:10 PM   #14
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Check out Soundtracker.com

for a different take on recording nature, a Neumann Head!

I have two of the CDs and you'd swear the action is happening in your living room.

Bob
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Old December 21st, 2007, 07:09 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Eric Gulbransen View Post
It's Christmas, so I'm tempted to order the 418s, but the Frogrecordist sure does have some sweet sounding recordings there - and I don't see that he used this mic.
I'll do some recording tomorrow with the 418s and post some links for you.

Wayne
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