When I first began considering writing about Ambisonic field recordings, my thoughts immediately turned to John Leonard.

Readers may remember John from his interview in the “A Month of Field Recordists” series. In addition to his carefully recorded sound effects, John Leonard has been a pioneer in Ambisonic field recordings. He has followed the evolution of the format and has produced some of its best field recordings. While many people have begun recently using Ambisonic sound effects for 3D and VR platforms, John has vast experience using them differently: as soundtracks for his award-winning theatre sound productions.

I asked John if he would be interested in sharing his perspective on Ambisonic sound recordings with us. I was delighted when he agreed. What emerged was a fascinating look at John’s career, and a comprehensive description of the history and evolution of the Ambisonic format and its tools.

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Hello everyone. Today I’m sharing a quick note today about changes to the website. I will get to articles about ambisonics in a few days.

At the advice of our legal counsel, we’ve recently updated three pages here. We’re required by law to let you know about the changes 30 days before they take effect. So, today’s post is a brief notice about the changes:

  • Terms of Service – what we guarantee to provide, and what you agree to by using the website.
  • Copyright Notice – a statement that everything on the website is owned by Creative Field Recording.
  • Privacy Policy – how we use information on the website and how your info is protected.

In short, the pages clarify things and provide more detail. While the pages add much for text, they are done in the spirit of the previous pages.

If you have any questions about the changes, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to hear from you.

Paul Virostek
Owner, Creative Field Recording

You may have heard about it. Field recordists are experimenting with it. Microphones manufacturers are embracing it. Gaming studios are pushing it. Social media companies are discovering it. What is it?

It’s the Ambisonic field recording format. How does it work? What is it? What do sound pros have to say about it?

This month will feature a brief series exploring the basics of the format. It will also feature interviews with some notable field recordists who are working with Ambisonic field recordings now. They’ll describe their experiences, share their tips, and their thoughts of the future of this format. To wrap up, I’ll share a final article with resources they’ve mentioned.

Let’s get started.

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I experienced a series of surprises while browsing my Twitter feed earlier last month. The first was an announcement of Todd-AO’s new dialogue noise reduction software, Absentia DX. The second was that it was produced by respected Hollywood sound supervisor and field recordist Rob Nokes. The third was that it was priced at $49.

Now, I have zero experience editing dialogue for feature films. So, why would this announcement intrigue me? Of course, I didn’t expect to be cutting dialogue. Instead, my first thought was: “can this work on field recordings?”

I emailed Nokes. I asked if it was possible to use Absentia with sound effects. He mentioned that his teams were already using it with Foley tracks. That was all I needed to know. I purchased and installed the software a half hour later.

How well does Absentia work with sound fx tracks? Will it improve troubled field recordings laced with buzz or noise? Does it have potential to rival iZotope RX’s noise reduction software at a tenth of the price? Can “Absentia DX” serve as “Absentia FX?”

In today’s post we will find out. In this “first look” article, we’ll see if a dialogue noise reduction tool can be hacked to help master damaged sound effects captured in the field.

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Last week I shared an unusual idea: recording door sound effects is the best way to increase your field recording skill.

How can you learn these skills? What’s the best way to record door sound fx?

Today’s post is a quick-start guide to help you capture excellent door field recordings.

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What is the test of a good sound effects library? What separates superior collections from weak ones? Are some field recording libraries better than others?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. Years ago, I worked at the sound sharing website Sounddogs.com. Part of my job was adding sound fx to the website. I was in charge of vetting each sound library submission. I listened to every clip we considered adding. These days, I still listen to every independent sound library I add to the search engine website Sound Effects Search: over 1,600 so far.

You may think that the first clips I listen to would be a publisher’s superstar sound effects: the gunshots, the wild animals, or the fireworks. In fact, though, when I discover a new sound library, the first sound I search for is doors. I don't bother with the tanks or speedboats. Why?

Door field recordings are revealing. They tell you a lot about a collection. In particular, they showcase a field recordist's skill in unsuspecting ways.

Hyperbole? Today's article will test that claim. This post will share thoughts on the value of door sound fx and how you can amplify your field recording skills by capturing these unsung sound clips.

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Last week I shared a roundup of articles I had written that share how to sell sound effects.

That’s one of the most popular questions I receive from readers. What’s the second-most popular question? Unsurprisingly, it asks about the next step in selling sound fx libraries:

  • What’s the best topic or theme for my first sound fx library?
  • What is the best subject for a sound collection?
  • What title is best for a new sound clip library?
  • How do I find a good idea for a new sound fx library?

Today’s post will be a roundup of advice I’ve shared to answer that question both here, and on other websites.

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It’s quite exciting to see many field recordists and sound designers eager to begin sharing sound fx with the community. I receive many emails from people curious about selling sound.

Writing about sharing field recordings on the Web is one of my favourite article topics. However, as the site grows larger, those posts are a bit trickier to find amongst the other articles.

That may be why I still receive many questions about sharing sound, such as:

  • How do I sell sound effects?
  • How do I create a sound fx library?
  • How do I design a sound effect library?

Those are all good questions. So, it’s time for a refresher. Today’s article is a roundup of all previous posts about sharing sound.

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Sony PCM-D100 Angle

I've been meaning to write a review of the Sony's PCM-D100 portable audio recorder for some time now.

The D100 is the successor to Sony's popular PCM-D50 model. The D50 is known for its excellent sound quality, impressive battery life, and sturdy construction. How does the PCM-D100 (US$775) measure up to its older brother? This article will take a "deep dive" into the D100 to learn what's new, what's changed, and how it performs in the field. It also includes dozens of field recordings from the D100 and other recorders that you can download and experiment with yourself. So, settle in and join me to explore this popular portable audio recorder.

Please note, I'm very detailed. This is an in-depth review that will take approximately 24 minutes to read. If you prefer, click the link below to email yourself a copy to read later.


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Best Posts of 2016

2017/01/04

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Every year I summarize the most popular posts from the year before. I also include a few favourites I’ve enjoyed writing.

Let’s take a look.

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