A Month of Field Recordists: Frédéric Devanlay & Cedric Denooz


4-1 Portraits

I initially met Frédéric Devanlay on the 22,000+ member-strong Sound Designer’s group. Through that LinkedIn group, I learned about the prolific field recordings that he shares on his Red Libraries website. In addition to capturing water, windmill, and wood field recordings for their own site, Devanlay and his partner Cedric Denooz have contributed to popular Soundmorph and Zero G collections.

I was curious how Devanlay and Denooz approached field recording and creating libraries. I reached out to them and asked about the equipment they use to capture such a wide variety of sound fx.

They graciously shared their experiences. What they revealed was an equipment locker designed specifically for the flexibility they need to capture the varied sound fx they share.

Creative Field Recording: What is your favourite or preferred field recording kit (microphone/recorder)?

In case of a big session with multi mics: the M/S Schoeps CMC 6 and CMC 5 sounds pretty good with a nice width and accuracy in the center. These mikes have an incredible dynamic pressure range, it could support almost any loud situation. To enforce the width, a pair of Neumann KM 184s are nice for the air atmosphere and perspective. This is our main purpose in our libraries: to give simultaneously a close and a wide angle.

The Sennheiser MD 441 has a huge pressure facility and for impacts; it’s a good partner. We also use for the same action DPA 4060s, and the accuracy in the low frequencies is better. We sometimes add a Neumann KMR 82i or Røde NTG3 set back.

Barcus Berry contact mic can be add in some cases to catch the heart of the texture.

Sound Devices 744T + SQN or EAA MicroMix preamp are fantastic. Dynamic, dynamic, dynamic with analogic 😉

And we always have a couple of small recorders for some emergencies (Sony PCM-D50 and Zoom H2n).

CFR: Why is it your kit of choice?

Because it covers the main needs in the situations we face during our recordings: wideness and precision. They’re pretty resistant and adaptable for inside and outside recordings.

We add sometimes a Shure VP88 to get a mid size array in M/S recording.

CFR: Can you share a sound effect or memorable experience recording with this kit?

During a session we tried to blow up dirt with air pressure tool. So I maintained the tube, but pressure was really high, and at the first blow I was completely surprised, I was totally covered by debris and dust.

While we were doing Soundmorph’s Matter Mayhem’s collection, we needed to get some crushed metal, and we found an incredible recycling metal factory where they were using a big metal cruncher. Its sound was so huge and impressive!

They dropped tons of metal with a crane, and hydraulic jacks were crushing everything into little parts.

Check out a YouTube video of the recording of Matter Mayhem.

The best (worst?) idea we found was to record from below this monster, because [the] resonance and hits were incredible! Fred took the boom and decided to explore the whole hidden parts of the machine, when suddenly, a long and sharp piece of metal felt few inch from his head, I thought he was hurt by it and began to yell, but he didn’t noticed anything and was smiling like a baby boy in a luna park!

This was a traumatic experience!

Thank you to Frédéric Devanlay and Cedric Denooz for sharing their equipment choices and field recording experiences!

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