Latest

Introducing: Daniel Vasquez

DanielV - CLAP - Foto_24Cuadros-14

Next up in our ‘Introducing…’ series is Daniel, who kindly agreed to tell us a bit about himself and the post sound scene in Columbia:

I am Daniel Vasquez, a sound designer and re­-recording mixer from Medellin, Colombia.  My experience and academic background has been based primarily in the United Kingdom and Colombia. I currently work as the Head of Post­ Production in Clap Studios, a sound post ­production facility located in Medellin.

In terms of academic background, I hold a BA Degree in Recording Arts and an MA in Audio Post­ Production from Middlesex University in London; and I’m certified by Avid as a Pro Tools Expert for Post; and I’m also a full member of the Audio Engineering Society.

Beginning as an engineer for music and live applications during my stay in the United Kingdom – doing live shows, recording bands and mixing independent artists – I later moved into sound for picture, starting with sound editing for short films, video games and documentaries, and I started to move also towards mixing and began to work for larger productions, working as a freelancer, lecturer, and co-­founding SoundNode, a sound production and post ­production company based in London.

Keeping a close eye on my home land, I decided in 2011 to move back to start working in the Latin American film industry, seeing it as an opportunity to apply the knowledge and experience acquired abroad.  This is when I co-­founded Clap Studios with film producer Gabriel J. Perez, who was returning from Barcelona, later joined by Daniel Jaramillo, a Colombian sound mixer residing in London.

Let’s talk about Clap Studios; it is a sound post­ production facility located in the Medellin Audiovisual Center.  Since Gabriel and I founded the company, we have created the ideal conditions for the sound development of audiovisual productions, offering creative talent, and the best facilities and equipment to deliver to the highest standards, such as the first Dolby® approved commercial studio for 7.1 film mixing in the country.

Clap Studio Sala Dolby Jul2015_11

Regarding the film industry in Colombia, it is small but growing, and our team have worked not only for Colombian productions but also for foreign films from Los Angeles, Cuba and United Kingdom, with great success. Renowned film directors and producers have trusted the sound post­ production of their projects to us (including our team of sound editors, Foley artists, and mixers) with excellent results. Some of them are: Pavel Giroud, Goya nominee and award winner at the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema and the Cartagena International Film Festival; Simón Mesa, winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival; Carlos Cesar Arbeláez, award winner at San Sebastián Film Festival; Carlos Tribiño, award winner at the Cartagena International Film Festival; Simón Brand, awarded at the Huelva Latin American Film Festival; and Kirk Sullivan, experienced filmmaker from California.

Clap Studios E3A

Clap Studios E Foley

Getting more location-­specific, Medellin offers a great set of conditions for creative and technical work, with nice mild weather, charming people, accessible prices and great talent and professionalism. Bogota currently holds the majority of the audiovisual work in Colombia, but with the growth of the industry, more options are starting to emerge in other cities as well, opening the possibilities of taking advantage of local incentives from each region. For example, Medellin is offering an additional 15% cash rebate in film services, making it attractive not only for foreign productions, but also for projects coming from other Colombian cities, which benefits us as service providers to bring more foreign productions and expand our territory of action. The goal is to keep expanding the range of countries we work with, always committed to quality and a great experience.

DSC00180

Introducing: Vijay Rathinam

This year, as always, we’ve had some really interesting new people join the Club:  Sound professionals working in all kinds of different aspects of audio, from film to music to video games to sound art.  I’ve been thinking recently that it’d be good to introduce some of the Club’s members on the website (especially those from places further afield than the U.S and Europe) rather than just see each others’ names tagged on the end of sound files in the collection!
So when Vijay joined recently, I asked him if he’d be up for writing a bit about himself and what he does because, although the Club has members from many corners of the world, we haven’t had that many from Asia so far and I thought it’d be interesting for Western members to read a bit about how things are done in India.  Vijay has very kindly obliged with the detailed description and photos below:
This was Taken at Galaxy Studio when I went there for a film mix
I am a sound designer/sound editor/sound recordist based out of AM Studios, Chennai and I have worked in more than a hundred  projects performing various roles in the film audio industry. My experience ranges from Bollywood to BBC. I have also worked with various other European films as sound FX editor/ foley supervisor.
I studied the Master of Science degree in advanced music production from the University of Glamorgan in South Wales.  I was always passionate about sound in films. I started to take it further at a very young age. I apprenticed at a famous Chennai based studio, Vijaya Vauhini, when I was 18, then I ended up as an FX editor in the same studio after I finished my Bachelor’s degree (B.Sc Physics at Loyola College – Chennai).  In 2005 I wanted to take this further which is when I pursued my higher education at Glamorgan University.  After that, I was employed by an animation company called Inspire GLG in Worcestershire as a sound designer. I worked in the Midlands area for a few companies until 2010.  In 2010 I decided to move back to India (which is where my roots are) and I started my own company, The-AudioVille, and now I work with a very good group of very talented people.  I have a great foley team, and FX editing team who are equally passionate at what they do and they all contribute immensely to the films I work on (one of  The AudioVille’s editing rooms pictured below).
This is  one of my humble editing room
I have done a lot of Indian feature films of varying genres.  Indian films are not just limited to Bollywood.  There are nearly 25 different film industries here.  Each state has it’s own film industry.  For example, the previous film I worked on was released in 2000 screens just in the state of Tamil Nadu which is where I live.  Recently – in the past 2 years – I have started doing a lot of European feature films.  From my imdb page you can see what I have done….I normally get the footage (i.e. get access to turnovers) online and my current preferred way of collaboration is with Gobbler mainly because it is very fast for uploads and downloads.  The collaborators deliver me a Pro-Res or a DNX HD picture and the AAF.  I have a very fast 100Mbps upload and download leased line dedicated to collaborative work, so sending and receiving files is never a problem for me.  I also normally get notes from the supervising sound editors or directors with timecoded notes on what exactly is required (normally as region groups in a Pro Tools session or sometimes as text files).  Then I edit FX following these notes whilst at the same time using my creativity as well, plus recording anything if required.  I also have a crew here to work with.  They help me out with cutting backgrounds or FX depending on the film’s requirement.  I also simultaneously record foley in our foley room (see below). We have a very clean signal chain there so the recording is as transparent as possible; no noise or anything like that.  I also have an extensive library; both commercial (with multi user licences) and my own recordings.  We also have a few recorders like Deva, Roland, Edirol, Zoom H6, Nomad etc….and we use them from time to time when required, and some good microphones as well!!!
Foley room 4
If required I also hire AM Studios (see picture below) which is a step away from my place.  AM Studios is one of the premier Indian post production houses (It’s like the Delane Lea of Chennai!).  It is owned by the academy award winning composer, Mr. A.R. Rahman (the Slum Dog Millionaire-famed music composer).  The people at AM Studios are a fantastic talent and a fun bunch of people to work with.  They have great gear which I can use whenever required.  They have a great sounding film mix room with crazy Auro 3D Meyer sound speaker system, with an Icon and a System 5 Euphonix.  They have just ordered a large scale Neve DFC with immersive sound panner to replace the system 5 console….which I believe will get installed next month!!!  They also have multiple Kyma systems, Great outboard gear like Aphex, Manley, Chandler…etc..etc…..All this can be used as and when required.  I am closely associated with AM Studios.  All my Indian projects get mixed there and also they give me some good films from time to time.
Also Taken at AM Studio they have a very good Auro 3D mix room with Meyer Sound and ikon and a system 5 console which is going to be replaced with a very good AMS Neve DFC with immersive sound panning option
So coming back to the point……when we are done with a reel, I upload a 5.1 bounce or send the actual session for review depending on the requirement.   Normally it’s all panned, volume automated, reverbs done and “Mix Ready” all in the box.  Working in the box makes collaboration much easier;  if I use any outboard stuff I print them onto a separate track.  The client then sends back some notes or corrections if required and we do those and send the master session.  When I deliver, normally the entire film with all FX, Ambience and Foley are in one large session so it becomes very easy for the client.  We are very much prepared to do lots of back and forth kind of collaboration….it seems to be the way to go these days as expectation from the directors are pretty high.
We have 3 sound editing rooms, and 1 foley room here. We also do dialogue editing as well. So the collaboration varies depending on the requirement.  Also I have recently started sending some of my work to other collaborators overseas as well. The average Tamil industry films don’t spend much on sound and the budgets are shrinking but some of the bigger films have decent budgets.   I am always open to collaborating with other sound designers and FX editors around the world.  I strongly believe that collaborative workflow is the future as it opens a whole lot of creative possibilities and the internet has made that possible now.  I see a lot of talented people in Korea, Japan, UK, US…everywhere…through Facebook, Linkedin and other networking sites.  I think India is a market to be explored – especially the big films.  With immersive sound becoming very popular here, the demand for quality talent on an economical budget (doesn’t mean cheap) becomes in demand.  Gone are those days where a client will walk in to a studio based on the look and feel of the studio and the kind of coffee and canteen you have.  These days the film makers are like, “Do you have the talent?  Can you do the job in an economical way?  Will you spend the budget efficiently?  Will you deliver good sounding tracks?  You are on!!”.
At least, these are the types of film makers that I am targeting.  They also end up respecting us for what we do for their films.  I think it is the same even in the UK and everywhere. Sometimes the budgets may not be right for one person but perhaps it might be good for the other.  So it really comes down to passion and commitment.
Vijay’s personal website at www.vijayrathinam.com
This was taken during my trip to sri lanka when I was recording trains - P.S. this was a pose not actually during work

New Theme for Spring 2015

 

class

It’s been a while!  A new theme for the new year was long overdue so here goes….the latest theme is chosen by club member Eric Mooney.  His description of the theme is:

Walla of a crowd that’s trying to be quiet. An example of this would be at a library, or someplace similar where people are speaking very quietly and maybe even whispering occasionally. There could also be some fairly quiet and subtle movements taking place in the background. This seems like it would be a great backdrop of audio that could be used in pretty wide variety of scenes. This is something that I don’t have very much (if any) of.

More generally, Eric has provided some pointers for recording ‘walla’, which are worth bearing in mind when recording sounds for this collection:

Most of you are probably already familiar with walla, but if you’re not it’s basically just a recording of a “background” conversation that doesn’t contain any intelligible speech. By not being able to make out what the crowd (large or small) is saying the audience stays focused on the lead actor’s dialogue.

File Types to Submit:

Stereo recordings of walla will give the audience a more immersive experience than mono recordings would. For this reason all of the submissions should preferably be recorded and submitted in either stereo or surround so that they can easily be used in any professional project.

I wasn’t initially keen on this theme idea when Eric suggested it because Echo Collective have just recently released their Quiet Spaces library, and I do try to avoid themes that already exist in the form of independent libraries…though that’s getting harder and harder to manage these days as the indie library scene continues to grow!  However, having spoken to Rene and checked he’s cool for us to use the same idea, I did think it’d be really interesting to do an international version of the Quiet Spaces library, which I believe is all American locations.  Do check out Echo Collective’s Quiet Spaces library and consider grabbing a copy – hopefully the club’s collection will be a useful compliment to it.  I hasten to add, though, that despite my comparison with Echo Collective, I believe their library contains recordings of quiet spaces where people are NOT talking; it is mainly just the sound of subtle movement.  With our collection, the primary sound is intended to be quiet murmur or even whispers, though that element of shuffle and other ‘presence’ is still a vital ingredient in the quiet crowd sound that we’re after.

Final tip:  As I’ve often flagged before with other club themes, bear in mind the acoustics of the space you record in.  Old or unusual spaces that are very quiet and free of ambient noise such as background traffic or air conditioning may be the best spaces for adding character to low level signals such as quiet crowd sounds.  Oh and very importantly, please state location and country in the name or metadata of any shared files!

Hopefully this explains everything but feel free to drop me a line if anything is unclear.

Field Notes #4: New York Ambiences by Michael Bates

NYAMB cover half size

In the spring of last year I went to New York with my family for a week and decided to try to get the best recordings I could whilst I was there, without annoying my family in the process!

I always take a portable recorder with me on holiday but having just got a pair of DPA 4060 omni mics and having used them to capture ambiences around London (one of which can be heard in the City Skylines theme) I knew that they handled city ambiences really well, so I was excited about trying them out in New York.

My rig is put together like this:

IMG_0001_Stealth rig laid out_half size

It comprises a pair of DPA 4060s into a Sound Devices 302 mixer which feeds an Edirol R-09 recorder. The 302 is powered by a Hawk-Woods NP65 battery, which never seems to run out, the R-09 by rechargeable AAs, which never seem to charge up. I monitor with a pair of Sennheiser HD25s.

All of this fits quite neatly into my shoulder bag and with the mics clipped to the far sides of the bag I get a good 40cm spacing. Also, it’s very stealthy as all anyone sees once the flap is closed are the Rycote windjammers peeking out either side of the bag.

IMG_0005_Rig in bag_half size

IMG_0007_Bag closed top view_half size

Most of the recordings were made with the rig in the bag over my shoulders whilst I stood still and looked nonchalant. However, the longer Canal Street recordings were made with the mics set up outside my bedroom window in the flat we were staying in.

I was really happy with the recordings other than a few issues that I encountered, which I’ve detailed below. The 4060s have incredible low end response and lovely mid detail which really helped to capture the characteristic acoustic that New York has. Combined with the clean quality of the 302 preamps, along with its detailed metering and quality limiters, it’s a setup which does a great job of recording really dynamic things like the Canal Street traffic.

I did vacillate a little about whether to roll off some of the low end in the recordings, but in the end decided not to and to leave it up to the end user to decide how much of it they wanted to use themselves.

Here are a couple of issues that I had that made some recordings unusable and that I’ll have to solve next time I record like this:

My major issue with the setup is that in motion whilst over the shoulder, the metal clips attaching the strap to the bag click with every step and I lost some good material because of this. I could probably have gone through those recordings and taken out each click with RX, but they were so frequent and loud that I think it would have badly affected the sound quality.

There are a couple of recordings in the library that I made whilst walking slowly where this issue didn’t arise (the Staten Island Ferry terminal recordings) but I think in future I need to find a way to damp this sound or alternatively carry the bag handheld.

I lost what could have been a really good skyline recording that I made at the top of Morningside Park because I lost one of my windjammers coming out of a crowded subway and so didn’t have adequate wind protection when I got to the park some hours later. I now carry an extra pair of windjammers as backup wind protection, as those Rycote ones are none too secure and the foam covers don’t stand up to serious gusts.

The one recording that I was seriously annoyed about not getting was a beautiful skyline that I tried to record from the 7th floor balcony of the New Museum on Bowery. Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, it’s very popular with visitors taking pictures, so instead I have a beautiful recording of people’s camera shutters clicking. If I’d been there on my own I would have stayed for as long as it took to get a clean take, but I sacrificed the recording to keep familial peace intact!

All in all I think it was a worthwhile set of recordings to make that taught me a lot about the strengths and limitations of this setup and of this style of stealth recording in particular. In the end I recorded over six and half hours of material, which I edited down to just over three hours for the library.

As a taster for club members, there’s an alternative take in the Echo Space theme of the Frick Collection Garden Court, a lovely, echoey marble hall with a fountain in the centre. There’s also a recording in the Car Passes theme of some passes on a cobbled street that I recorded whilst there.

For those club members that are interested in the library there is a discount code for 20% off on the LinkedIn group and for non club members you can get 10% off by signing up to the mailing list on tonemanufacture.com

You can see a full file list and more information at tonemanufacture.com/libraries/new-york-ambiences

I hope it turns out to be a useful library and my thanks to all the club members who share their great recordings!

New Theme for Summer 2014:

madewithOver

The club’s latest theme is chosen by club member, Rick Blything:

 

“I’m sure that everyone who has visited different countries and cities and pays attention to the city’s soundscape can re-call the feel and emotion from the city’s backdrop. 

I believe that vehicle horns help define a city’s soundtrack and that is what this month’s theme is all about:

Vehicle Horns: BGs

Sounds differ enormously from the near constant cacophony of horns heard in Delhi, to the slightly more constrained hoots from a tailback in an English town.

Recordings of these such sounds are great for building up scenes and can be used to good effect as both ‘off-screen’ and ‘establishing’ sounds. They can help to shape a location and sonically guide the audience to that space.

Recording techniques could range from mono directional recordings to wide stereo ambiences. Whilst recording locations could range from roof-tops, interiors, exteriors, mics out the window stlyie or straight up street level tracks. 

So next time you visit a city/town take your mics, find any one of a number of locations and pitch up, press the record button and try and capture some evocative tracks.”

 

Thanks for that, Rick – I can only add that, as with the dog barks theme, please bear in mind that this is a theme that is meant to provide sounds for BACKGROUNDS, not close up spot FX.  The horns need to have at least some ‘space’, i.e. echo or reverberation / ambience, around them, otherwise I’ll unfortunately have to reject them.  However, if you get a distant AND close sound then feel free to add the close sound too as sometimes these are useful to keep together.

I would suggest it’s worth getting 2-5 minutes of horns; it’s not that useful just getting one or two ‘toots’  unless they are particularly unusual or distinctive.  

As always, think about how submerged your distant horn sounds are within the roar of traffic – too much traffic noise and the horns won’t be usable because there’ll be a surge of engine roar every time your car horn is used in a tracklay.  

Lastly, as Rick touched upon in his brief, think about the space in which the horns occur – the acoustics of the space that surrounds them is what tends to make vehicle horns evocative rather than the actual horn sound itself.

As ever, I’m looking forward to hearing the results!

Field Notes #2: Texas Freight Train by Rene Coronado

train by 2

I was recently on my way back home to Dallas from visiting my alma matter in West Texas.  I always put a rig together when I travel – mostly to gather ambiences, but also to capture anything else interesting I may happen upon.  In this case I had a pair of schoeps CMC6 mics with the MK2 omni capsule, as well as a pair of Crown PZM 6d mics.

The ride back to Dallas along I-20 runs parallel to a long stretch of rail tracks, and its common to see big freight rigs crossing the state along with us.  About halfway home my wife and I spotted a train running the same direction as us, so we passed it and let it fall just out of sight of my rearview mirror before finding a place to pull over and set up.  I didn’t realize how fast that train was moving though, and by the time I got the trunk open the gates were closing and the train was already on top of me.

I closed the trunk, and we headed out again.  We caught up to the train relatively quickly, but this time I gave us a really good buffer of time to make sure I could get set and rolling without rushing.  I passed the train and kept increasing my distance for about 15 miles after passing it this second time.  When I pulled over again, I found a spot where I could cross the tracks and set up in a way that the train would pass between my rig and the highway on which I was traveling, obscuring the sounds of other passing cars.

My wife jumped out with her camera to take some rustic photos of the farm we were parked by, and my baby boy kept sleeping in the carseat while I pulled out my rig and got set up.

I placed the two omnis about 2 feet apart, and put the PZMs on the same general plane, but about 6 feet apart.  I had concerns about the omnis being phase-coherent without a jecklyn disk at that close distance because I had run some tests earlier in the trip that didn’t go as well as I had hoped – hence the PZMs, which I knew would be good for phase.  Once I was set up, rolling and slated I heard the train’s horn in the distance.  Trains are required to blow their horns at each intersection they cross that doesn’t have a gate with the clanging bells, and this train was one intersection away from me.

train setup

 

The train blew its horn one more time and then it was upon us – whooshing by with its crazy array of box cars, empty beds, tank cars, double decker cars, and open freight cars.  Each car had its own sound, and it created a real variety of unique dopplers as it cruised by.  Somehow the baby boy slept through all of this even though the back car door was open.

train by 1

Back in the studio I put the tracks up and was pleasantly surprised by how well the omnis did with regards to phase – even without a disk in-between.  They captured the low end perfectly and just had a remarkably clean sound all the way up.  The crowns (which I love) sounded very bite-y and midrangey in comparison, and also quite a bit “cheaper” than the schoeps omnis.  No surprise given the actual price difference, but pretty eye opening regardless.

I output three final files – an omni recording, a pzm recording, and a mixed recording that captured the best of both worlds.  Outside of gain matching, no processing was done to these files in any way.

enjoy!

train pano

 

New Theme for Spring 2014

 

 

 

95BA5CCC-EC1F-4925-8991-F383FAF3C1B1

Ever since starting the Sound Collectors’ Club, ‘Doors’ has been a frequent request whenever it’s been time to choose a new theme.  To date, I’ve always been reticent to go with it, as I feel Tim Prebble already ticked that box a while back with his epic crowdsourced ‘Doors’ collection that he orchestrated.  Although overlap with other collections is eventually inevitable, I prefer themes that don’t echo well-known independent libraries that already exist out there.

However, the thing is that a lot of people (including myself) missed out on Tim’s collection when it happened, so there is still a lot of demand from club members for new sounds in this department.  I finally caved in when club member Steve Papagiannis’ recently suggested an ‘Open & Close’ theme rather than just specifically doors, so that the theme can include all kinds of different hinged things, big and small, rather than just doors.  I’ll let Steve explain:

“How about opens and closes, building a “new” 9000 series.  Doors, drawers, gates, garages, cabinets, boxes, compartments, trunks, mason jars, etc – anything and everything, if it opens and closes, from the smallest jewelry box or door latch to the largest electrical utility box or hanger door, it’s fair game (would include knocking/pounding, latches, creaks if there are any, associated with said subject matter being recorded.”

The only requirement I’d insist upon is that you must submit the open AND close sounds of the item / object.  After that, any supplementary sounds that are useful bi-products of the opening & closing, such as creaks or the usual interior or exterior versions where relevant, are always very welcome but not essential.  Let me clarify that doors ARE welcome in this collection, but so are any other kinds of interesting-sounding hinged items too.  Oh, and obviously I’ll keep car doors in their separate collection that already exists.

So let’s do it – let’s make this the new 9000!!!

 

Addendums:

Rene Coronado has made a good point on Twitter regarding this theme:

“Cool theme!  I’d add:  What made Tim’s collection so good is the requirement of different performances and perspectives; i.e. soft > hard & near > far.”

& Steve Papagiannis has kindly contributed these thoughts on our subsequent approach towards labelling & metadata for this theme (and all other themes, for that matter):

“If there’s one takeway that was really successful about the 9000 Series, it was the naming choices.  Sure somebody might not care about obscure details like “Big Castle Wood Door” or “General Store Wood Door” at face-value, but these sorts of specifics actually helped search-ability (and memory recall of one’s favorites) immensely.  Hundreds of files just called “Refrigerator door open close” are not very useful in my opinion, and hard to decipher for those adding their own metadata after the fact.  Is it a steel fridge door?  Plastic/steel?  Is it more modern or maybe more of a 60s or 70s with the latches versus a traditional rubber seal?  Is it a household fridge door, or industrial (like medical or morgue)?  Is it clean and tight sounding?  or Old and busted?  Having some sort of unique descriptive “name” in the filename helps. I like to adopt the 9000 Series “Institutional” tag in my own library to mean a metal door which you might find in a commercial or insitutional structure (school, building, etc) which is that traditional, quintessential solid-panel (or maybe glass viewhole) metal door with the latch handle.  Often I like to tag my hearty, solid-sounding tasty wood doors as “Antique”, also borrowed from the 9000 series since well, we don’t make doors like that anymore and those high-quality wood doors of yesteryear have such a particular sound unlike modern household or apartment doors.  If anything, I personally think it should be a requirement that when you submit, regardless of a door or anything else like a box, please note in the filename a) what type of material(s) (or the case of something like a fridge, maybe modern or old) and b) any particular sonic characteristic (tight, heavy, thick, solid, hollow, etc) – but go by what you hear not what you see.  Countless times I run searches for solid steel door, or heavy copper door, or something like that and all I get back are dull, hollow-sounding metal doors which don’t sound like an assertive metal door I want.  I get said results as though I was searching for “hollow”.  But they get tagged as thick, solid, or heavy because of how they looked or felt when recording, not how they sound/translate.  Just some thoughts to possibly add to the page! :)”

 

Definitely worth bearing these thoughts in mind when collecting & labelling your sounds.

 

 

First Theme of 2014!

metal photo

Happy New Year!  As I’m sure most of you are aware, it’s been a long time since I started a new theme.  It’s been mainly due to simply being so busy over the past few months but on top of that, part of me does also like to put new themes on hold for a while from time to time so that we can give a bit more attention to existing themes that haven’t become that big a collection a yet.  I’d rather have less but bigger collections of sounds than lots of very small collections of different themes.  In this way, when members do get access to a collection it feels more of a bonanza than if you only get a couple of new sounds for your trouble.  Anyway, like I say, it’s been a while and what better time than now to kick off a new theme?  I’ve had a few suggestions for new themes over the past few months (and some of those will be appearing over the coming months) but, for now, I wanted to go with a suggestion by Rene Coronado, who has offered up ‘Metal Impacts’.  In his words, we need:

“clean, thick stereo recordings fit to be twisted into other things.  The idea being that these would be useful in designing big stylized hits and slams.  Natural reverberation is fine, multiple iterations with clean tails would be great.  Good candidates include hits on large garage doors, big metal door slams, even just straight suspended sheets of metal.  Anything big and resonant sounding.”

So I’d say this theme is an ideal candidate for using higher sample rates which lend themselves better towards pitching sounds down.  Some contact mic trickery might be fun as well perhaps?  Just a small add on my part:  If you record lots of hits, please keep them condensed to as few tracks as is appropriate /suitable.  Don’t send me loads of short files of single, similar hits, or the theme folder will get unwieldy and confusing.  Other than that, it is just what it says on the tin (pardon the pun).  As Rene mentioned, I think ‘big’ and ‘resonant’ are the keywords to remember here.

This is always a popular one with sound designers or, for that matter,anyone who likes making loud noises!  So have fun with it – I look forward to hearing the results.

Have a great 2014 everyone!

Field Notes: Spontaneous Train Recording in Dallas

Rene Coronado has kindly shared a recording he grabbed on the fly this week (members can check it out in the ‘Trains: Design’ collection).  Here are his field notes to explain in full:
I was driving home last week down my normal route which is a 4 lane street next to a highway that runs across an active rail track.  I noticed that a bus was stopped at the intersection even though the light was green, and then a split second later I realized that the train crossing gate was coming down.  I zoomed up to the crossing in my car and stopped as quickly as I could, and then I looked left.  Sure enough, a giant freight train was approaching less than 50 meters away.
Time seemed to slow a bit, but I kept my head about me and did the following in about 5 seconds:
 – put the car in park
 – turn off the radio (I forgot to turn off AC)
 – roll down the window
 – reach beside me and grab my PCM M10 from the passenger seat
 – switch the button from hold to on (I never power this device down, I just put it in hold mode)
 – hit record
 – hit play (always important)
 – adjust the volume way down (metering ambient noise just barely)
 – hold the device out the window
Its actually a fair amount to get exactly right in that short of a period of time, but I managed to do it and just barely caught the horn as it began to blow.  The train gave me a nice full blast right as it entered the intersection 10 feet in front of my car and I managed to capture it without clipping anything.
Once the horn was by I just popped the recorder up on the roof of my car and let it roll while the train continued passing.  By then other traffic had pulled up and stopped around me and the bus as well.
When the train was all the way by I let roll as long as I could, then the gate went up, I grabbed my recorder, rolled up my window, kicked the radio back on and kept on driving.  :)
Here are the few things I learned from this:
 – I can get from zero to rolling in about 5 seconds if my tools are set up around me well.
 – The PCM 10 even in high gain mode can record incredibly loud sounds without clipping.  Mics may have clipped a bit, but its really difficult to tell if that was them or just the air ripping around.
 – Even in traffic next to a highway with very ambient omni mics I can get a really good recording of a loud enough sound
 – The built in wind protection and always on battery management of the PCM M10 are incredible
 – this recording wouldn’t have happened with a PCM D50 (wind protection) or a zoom H4n (wind protection + startup time)
 – that train didn’t doppler very much, as it wasn’t traveling exceptionally fast
enjoy!
-Rene