There are two broad disciplines of field recording: specific sound sound effects and ambiences, also know as atmospheres.
Recording specific sound effect takes focus and technical skill. Capturing race car and fighter jet sound effects correctly is intense. You have one chance to get it right. Evoking characteristic sound from pug dogs or gunshots requires creativity and adaptability.
Atmospheres, however, call for a different approach. When you're recording ambiences you must be patient and observant. You'll find yourself more connected to what you're recording. Commonly you'll be mentally immersed in the environment and the action there.
Recording atmospheres isn't as physically demanding as capturing specific sound effects. It's more passive. That doesn't mean it is easy. Capturing evocative ambiences takes skill. Because atmospheres are broader, encompassing sounds, there's arguably higher potential for problem sounds to intrude on the recording.
Have you experienced these while recording or mastering atmospheres?
- can't scrape together enough duration for a decent recording?
- sounds always interfering with the purity of your recordings?
- returned to your edit suite to hear problems you missed when recording?
- finding that making edits midway interrupts the flow of the atmosphere?
- can't recall what made that odd noise at 2:14?
- finding you're making dozens of edits in a two-minute recording?
I've experienced them too.
Here are five tricks I use to get around them to record better atmospheres.
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