Motorway Recording

After finally fitting a stereo pair of NT5s into my blimp, I decided it needed to be tested, so I drove to the local motorway bridge that runs over the M40 to record some car passes from above.

I ended up sitting on the top of the bridge with the X-Y pair pointing down towards the road, which meant that the left facing microphone was directed towards the outgoing traffic and the right facing microphone was directed towards the oncoming traffic. I left the recording running for around 45 minutes so I could get a decent amount of audio. I also managed to get some car horns as some people who drove by saw the deadcat so naturally had to cause a ruckus! Although, this worked to my advantage and gave me some interesting sounds.

Here is a short sample of the recording:

I went out to get some general driving atmos of a motorway, and although it wasn’t my intention, I ended up getting some cool sounding horns as well (unfortunately, not in the preview clip!)

Screeching Bin

Me and my recording buddy Matt Meachem (http://mattmeachem.wordpress.com/) were walking through a corridor when I heard this horrendous noise. I looked back, and saw that Matt had an excited look on his face whilst looking at this bin. It turned out that Matt had just hit the bin lid which sent it spinning round making this wierd screeching sound. I whipped out my little H2 recorder to get a sample of it because it sounded pretty unique.

We spent about 10 minutes getting different speeds of the bin lid, until we’d practically exhausted it.

Here’s one of the tracks we managed to get from it:

It kind of sounds like train brakes squealing and screeching.

Just before we left I managed to get a photo of it:


ORTF/NOS Hybrid in a Blimp

I’ve been meaning to go out and record some ambiences and stereo material recently, but have been worried about wind whilst out in the field. Whilst there is no current (as far as I’m aware) solution to fitting a stereo pair within a Blimp/Rycote, I decided to give it a go myself.

I came across this article: http://audiofieldrecordings.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/rode-nt5-microphones-modified-ortfnos-recording-technique/ which explains how to fit a pair of NT5s into a Rode Blimp. Perfect!

I followed the guide but adapted it slightly. I liked the idea of having two XLRs running through one length of cable, but I wanted a quick fix and didn’t have time to quickly knock my own up, so I settled for plugging the tail cable that came with the Blimp into one of the NT5s and a standard Mogami XLR cable into the other. It took a bit of re-jigging and came up with something that looks like this:

What I ended up with was something which looks a little wider in degrees than ORTF(110 degrees)/NOS(90 degrees) but this was necessary to fit within the Blimp. I ended up taking it out and recording all six lanes of a motorway from a bridge, which I’ll blog about, with samples, when I’ve downloaded the files later this week.

Birds Recording

I’m currently visiting my parents in the countryside on a two week break (and bought my recording gear with me just in case) and after living in the city for three years, the first thing that struck me was the amount of birds singing in the morning. After not being used to it for so long, it kept waking me up, so I got up one morning at 5:00 a.m. to record some of it.

I decided to use the Zoom H2 for this, as it can record 4-channel surround audio @ 48 kHz/24-bit. Whilst I’m a big advocate at recording at higher sample rates, the surround sound option was more important to me in this scenario. There was a little bit of wind about on the morning I decided to record, so I didn’t want to take a chance on the standard windshield that was provided with the H2 recorder, so I adapted my Blimp to take the H2. This involved replacing the little rubber bands and mic clip with larger rubber bands which spanned the whole diameter of the metal rings.

The first photo shows how the H2 fit into the metal rings with the larger rubber bands. The second photo shows the fit within the Blimp:

I left the recorder going for an hour and went to bring it back in at 6:00, when most of the birds had quietened down. Here’s a sample of the recording, although it’s only a 2o second stereo file @ 44.1/16-bit:

There’s a bit of road noise in the background (The house is about a mile from the nearest motorway), which I intend to try and knock out with Izotope RX2 when I get back, but the birds have come through really clear. It almost sounds like a jungle (minus the monkey screeches!), which is mad considering it was recorded in the middle of Warwickshire.

First Week!

Wow! The first week for Arrowhead Audio (www.arrowheadaudiosfx.com) has been fantastic.

Firstly, we’ve sold more packs than I could have imagined in our first week and can’t wait to see (and hear) where these sounds end up.

We’ve also been featured on the HUGE sound design website http://www.designingsound.org thanks to the fantastic Miguel Isaza (http://miguelisaza.com/). This is an absolute honor due to the quality of the site and the caliber of the people both visiting and featured on the site.

So things are going pretty well!

Next on the news, I’ve been looking at buying a new shotgun mic. It was a toss-up between the Sennheiser MKH 416 and Rode NTG-3. I was leaning towards the 416 because of it’s reputation within the industry and it’s obvious quality. But then I completely switched over to wanting the NTG-3, mainly¬† because there have been reports of the mic being almost identical (sound wise), and at half the cost, it seemed like a steal! The waterproof metal tubing case that it comes with it was a cool little extra as well! I also read on a few posts on Gearslutz (www.gearslutz.com) from Charles Maynes that he was a recent convert to them, so if they’re good enough for Charles Maynes, they’re certainly good enough for me! (Speaking of Charles Maynes, here’s a great interview from Ric Viers about some of the projects Charles has worked on: http://www.rodetv.com/rode_rage_with_ric/charles-maynes/ )

So I ended up settling for the NTG-3 and Rode Blimp (pictured below)

Rode Goodies!

I’m hopefully going to be able get out with these next week and give them a good field testing and will update this blog with the results!

Till then!

Arrowhead Audio

So, I’ve been working on this project for a while which is a website that sells royalty free sound effects. After a whole host of name ideas and designs, I settled on Arrowhead Audio because an arrowhead is accurate and wanted to reflect that my sounds are accurately recorded and reproduced.

Firstly, I had to decide what kind of sound effects I wanted to record and sell, and how to achieve this. The first pack I thought of was “Squelch, Squish and Splat”. This was because it was easy to get hold of the materials to create these sounds (which turned out to be tomatoes, grapefruits, baked beans and fruit cocktail amongst other things). I ended up recording the entire pack in roughly two hours of getting messy (with good friend Matt Meachem) with a Rode NTG-2, Rode NT-5, Audix D6 and AT 4050¬† through an Octopre which was recording into Pro Tools. The recording process was good fun and consisted of setting up the mic (with protective gauze) and leaving it rolling whilst we made sounds in the live room.

The editing process took a lot longer however. Matt and myself spent several days editing, cross-fading and normalizing all the sounds until we had got through the full two hour file. Throughout the process we found that the NTG-2 sounded the best, it had the flattest sound in regard to frequency with the least amount of proximity effect out of all the mics. It was also the quietest (best signal to noise ratio) which was one of our main reasons for choosing it consistently.

Here are some sample sounds of what we recorded:

Check out these photos of some of the objects used to make the sounds, the mics used to record the sounds and Matt and Me making some of the sounds!

Next, the website. It’s been in development for about 6 months now, with numerous changes and designs (with the help of designer Sean Pearson). The sample pack was starting to take shape so I decided to get to work on the website. Most of the coding and design was achieved within the first few weeks and just minor changes were made since then and now. The reason it didn’t go live straight away was I felt more research needed to be done before diving into the world of sound effects, so i read a huge amount of blogs and websites until I felt comfortable starting the venture.

A few hours after the site went live, our first sample pack had been downloaded by Chris Jacobsen (Spiderman 3, Hurt Locker, Battle: Los Angeles) and had this to say about the samples:

“Nice stuff, Arrowhead! This is how I like to see libraries delivered: Every sound effect is it’s own file, instead of stringing out 10 sounds in each file, with 1+ second of dead space between each file. It makes it a smaller download, and takes up less disk space, as well as makes the work flow more efficient. Keep up the good work, I’ll buy every library you put out if it’s that well done (and affordable).”

This was really positive and a great start to the company.

Since then, more sample packs have been planned and are on their way soon!

The website address is www.arrowheadaudiosfx.com so please visit and check it out!