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