Howitzer Hero

I was walking home one day when I heard a tremendous boom shake the high-rises of downtown Toronto. It repeated relentlessly, and seemed to intensify with every blast. I detoured, and found three howitzers firing shells deep within the caverns of the city.

What I did not expect was that moment would lead to a five year field recording journey.

Today’s post will share how I brought these sound effects from concept, field recording, mastering, curating, to publishing over a half decade. How can this help you? A few ways:

  • Ideas for capturing field recordings you can’t control.
  • Learn the steps for leading sound effects from concept to publication.

Continue Reading…

Soccer Stadium and Sky

Earlier this summer, Canada hosted the Pan American Games. That prestigious Olympic-style event invited top athletes from dozens of countries to compete in 48 sports in downtown Toronto.

Living in Toronto myself, I seized the opportunity to record world-class athletes in “rare” sports such as professional field hockey, squash, handball, and others.

That “field report” explained how I approached the recording session, overcame mistakes I made, and captured field recordings of sports crowds, cheers, chants, ambience, and more. Check out that post, and download the free field recordings there.

How can you record your own sporting events? Today’s article features tips and tricks you can use to help you navigate an event, capture the best crowd reactions, gather ample coverage, and much more.

Continue Reading…

Update: Sound Effects Search Now with 1000 Libraries, Audio Player

1000 Sound fx libraries

A quick update about one of my other projects, the indie sound library search engine, Sound Effects Search.

Just this week the website added its 1000th sound library. Just under 7 months ago the number was clawing at Continue Reading…

Pan Am Games - Handball

I’ve been field recording more this summer than I have in years. Part of the reason is that I’ve been enjoying experimenting with the Sony PCM–100 portable recorder, as well as comparing it with its older brother, the D50.

Another reason is that I’ve been able to access interesting events. I recorded the Formula 1 race in Montréal and the Honda Indy race in June. (I’ll have a post about those field recordings soon.) By a nice stroke of fate, I also had an opportunity to access the Pan American Games.

So, this post will describe my experiences, and share a some field recordings captured at the Pan Am Games you can download for yourself. In the next article I’ll include tips, tricks, and lessons you can use to prepare for field recording your own sporting events.

Continue Reading…

MyPlaces - 0 - Hero, Toronto Summer 2014 - 03

You’ve spent the day recording the sound of a lively farmer’s market. You return to the studio and open dozens of sound effects in Pro Tools. As you begin mastering the field recordings, confusion creeps over you. Was that 14th sound clip recorded at the market entrance? No, you remember, it was the one in a side alley, between food stalls. Wait, no, that was the one after it…

Does this sound familiar? Correctly identifying sound effects after the fact is a common field recording concern. Keeping track of recordings is absolutely vital. It helps you master sounds accurately even months after field recordings are complete. These details enhance the clips you capture. But, somehow, labelling sound effects in the field is often one of the first recording steps that is overlooked.

I’m guilty of this myself. So, today’s article will share one tool I’ve discovered that helps to solve this problem. It keeps track of your work, adds flavour and detail to your field recordings, and ensures you richly describe every field recording you capture.

Continue Reading…

IDCD 2 - Usenbenz 1

Last week’s article explored International Dawn Chorus Day (IDCD). That event, hosted by UK organization The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, invited wildlife fans worldwide to appreciate the sound of nature as it emerges at daybreak.

FieldRecording.de website owner Sebastian-Thies Hinrichsen spearheaded a recording project to create an album of dawn chorus field recordings made worldwide on International Dawn Chorus Day, May 5th, 2015. Last week he shared with us how the project began, and the history of his field recording news site.

As I downloaded the IDCD album, my eye spotted a familiar name: community field recordist Andreas Usenbenz. I noticed that Usenbenz contributed not only field recordings to the project, but also mastered every submission as well.

I was interested to learn about Usenbenz’s efforts capturing dawn chorus field recordings. Also, field recording and mastering sound effects are two very different skills. I was curious about Usenbenz’s experiences tackling both tricky tasks.

So, earlier this month I reached out to Usenbenz. I wondered if he could share his thoughts about the project with me. He kindly agreed, and described fascinating details about recording and mastering quiet nature sounds in a special Q&A.

Continue Reading…

Interview about Field Recording, Gear, and Creativity on The Audio Spotlight

The Audio Spotlight

Earlier this year I met Zdravko Djordjevic and Pasi Pitkänen. You may know them as the founders of The Audio Spotlight. That’s a pro audio news site with broad coverage of independent sound libraries, samplers, software, composers, reviews, and more. I’m especially a fan of their expansive books section.

Djordjevic and Pitkänen Continue Reading…

IDCD - 1 - Album Cover

How do we improve our field recording skills? Sometimes it requires us to leave our comfort zone to record unfamiliar subjects, or travel to strange places. Another aspect that helps is the idea of accountability.

The idea behind accountability is that you’ll be inspired to produce more or better work when there’s a responsibility to share it. This can give us the push we need to create our very best work and deliver it to others.

Accountability while field recording can take many forms. It may be an article you post about your field recording experiences. You may share tracks on SoundCloud. Another option is to exchange clips with a group. Two excellent examples are The Sound Collector’s Club, and sound forum Audible Worlds’ Crowdsourced Projects.

Another opportunity appeared earlier this year. German field recording website fieldrecording.de planned an ambitious project: an album of nature field recordings gathered from across the globe on International Dawn Chorus Day (IDCD), 2015. They encouraged recordists to strike out in the early hours of May 5th to gather nature and bird sounds at dawn. It was an invaluable opportunity for a field recordist to invest themselves to gather sound effects within a specific environment, and have accountability to field recording fans, worldwide.

I asked website owner Sebastian-Thies Hinrichsen about the project. He graciously explained the idea behind the website, and how the project came to be. This post also shares info about the album, and about International Dawn Chorus Day.

The next post will feature a special interview with a community field recordist who took part in the International Dawn Chorus Day album project.

Continue Reading…

Article: Review of Wildtronics Parabolic Microphone Dishes

Article: Review of Wildtronics Parabolic Microphone Dishes - Hero

I’ve had a fascination with parabolic dishes ever since I read community field recordist Tim Prebble’s experiences using a Telinga dish to capture nature recordings. Prebble’s article showcases the stunning results parabolic field recordings achieve. Recordist Daan Hendriks, who is currently roaming the wilds of Africa capturing sound effects, is also a fan of the dish, and his clips are equally impressive.

I have a glaring lack of birds and insects in my sound library, so I’ve been chewing over the idea of buying my own parabolic dish. What options do field recordists have for using parabolic reflector dishes?

Continue Reading…

Article: 10 Tips for Sound FX Library Publishers

Toronto-Skyline-Summer

Earlier this week I published an article called 10 1-Minute Fixes That Drastically Improve Your Indie Sound FX Library on my sister website, Sound Effects Search.

The idea behind the post is that Continue Reading…