This is our first proper ‘background chat’ theme this month. I know we have Echo Space but that is more about the space than the human activity within it; in fact, that doesn’t even need to be the sound of people at all.
I like doing vocal themes because they tend to best exploit the international nature of The Sound Collectors’ Club. However, this theme doesn’t necessarily have to be all about the chat. You can also contribute ambient cutlery / glass / crockery tracks recorded in cafes too which are often actually preferable to have separate from chatting customers if possible. If plates and cutlery are clinking away too predominantly on a chat track, the recording can become a pain to edit for film or TV when you need to avoid such noises clashing with a character’s dialogue.
Coffee machine and hot water blasts are ok to contribute too, for now – as the set grows over time, I may end up dividing it into separate collections but, for the time being, it’s quite useful to keep these elements together. Especially if, say, a chat, cutlery and coffee machine recording all derive from the same cafe and therefore have matching acoustics.
Also, bear in mind that in the future I may well introduce ‘pub’ or ‘restaurant’ (etc.) themes as well so please pick your locations carefully so that recordings from these separate themes don’t all just blur into one. I’m thinking of focussing on getting some nice gentle murmur tracks from various greasy spoons in London but there is obviously a wide variety of types (more continental style or street cafes, for example) that you could choose from – simply make sure your choice is distinct from a restaurant or bar / pub.
Lastly, background music or TV / radio in the cafe is a definite no-no! Sure, sometimes you can barely hear it so could get away with using a recording anyway but, for this occasion, let’s not go there.