Imagine: soothing waves creeping onto a beach, then retreating with a sandy hiss. Hear distant thunder rippling as it rolls over a mountain. Imagine quiet, evening rain pattering on fallen autumn leaves.
Wilderness field recordings are some of the most loved sound effects. The sound of nature has a universal appeal.
However, nature field recordings are some of the most difficult sound effects to capture. Finding pure wilderness locations is difficult. Atmospheres are constantly invaded by air traffic and distant delivery trucks. The sound of rural industry travels for miles and overlaps even remote conservation areas. Sonic purity seems incredibly elusive. And, when field recordists do find a few moments of peace, wind, rain, and snow make field recording a challenge.
Perhaps that is why it is hard to find knowledge about recording these tricky sound effects. A handful of weekend workshops introduce fans to wilderness field recording. However, the most precious soundscapes are beyond the reach of a weekend retreat. They require descending into canyons or hiking into deserts, or month-long expeditions deep into jungles. The process is difficult, and few have returned to share their experiences recording there. So, knowledge of how to gather these field recordings simply does not exist.
Thankfully, collecting sound from these stunning locations is within our grasp. Just last week a new guide was released to help you gather field recordings in almost every conceivable wilderness environment: Gordon Hempton’s Earth is a Solar Powered Jukebox.
Last year I compiled the advice from the pros in the “A Month of Field Recordists” into a compact post explaining how to choose the best gear yourself: the Field Recording Gear Buyer’s Guide.
Of course, no single kit is perfect for everyone. So, that article offered tips to help people choose gear that was best for them along the arc of their field recording gear.
Today, I’ve published an update. That page now includes more suggestions, including tips from the pros in the 2016 series, and community advice, too.
Today’s article is the last featuring community responses to the field recording survey. It’s the first that begins to move away from gear itself and explores more intangible aspects of field recording. That will conclude with a final pair of articles drawn from the “A Month of Field Recordist” interviews: the motivations behind field recording.
The last question in the survey asked:
What one suggestion would you give to beginning field recordists?
At first, I debated adding this question. I’m glad I did. The responses were captivating.
Let’s take a look.
Today’s post features the second of three articles about community field recording equipment. In the last article, we looked at what portable and dedicated audio recorders people prefer, and why. Now we will see what microphones the survey respondents liked, their dream field recording kits, their budget selections, and more.
Let’s get started.
The posts last month taught us a lot about what gear field recordists use in the field. Those 22 interviews, as well as the 26 from the year before, gave us a comprehensive overview of what those field recording fans choose when capturing sound effects beyond the studio.
That series showed us how those 48 sound pros explore field recording. Last week’s post dissected their equipment preferences. Of course, there are field recording fans all over the globe performing the craft in their own way. I wanted to give everyone a chance to share their views. So, I set up a brief survey to learn what kit you use, what equipment you crave, and your advice for beginners. I curious to learn if pro choices matched the reality on the street.
Thank you very much to everyone who participated. And participate you did. There was lots of fascinating information, so much so that I’ll share your ideas in three, quick posts:
- Audio recorders.
- Microphones and favourite kits.
- Community tips.
Let’s get rolling.
Last year we were given a rare treat: 26 field recordists came together to share their wisdom in a series I called “A Month of Field Recordists.” This year I revived the series. Twenty-two new people shared their insight in a second series of posts about field recording origins, equipment selections, and reflections on the craft.
My heartfelt thanks for everyone who spent their considerable time sharing their knowledge with the rest of us.
What choices were common? What portable recorders were mentioned again and again? Were there patterns in the microphones pros brought into the field?
Today we will find out.
Please note, I am very detailed. This post will take about 21 minutes to read. Click the button below to email the article to yourself to read later.
Update: the survey is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated.
Do you remember your first field recording kit? Do remember the thrill of using your new gear to gather your first field recordings in the wild?
You’ll also probably remember how hard it was to choose the right recorder and microphone. We all had these questions at one time: Continue Reading…