Recording Mountain Air, TONSTURM’s New Library
This ambience sound pack features surround sound recordings which were captured during an extensive field recording trip in the beautiful Alps of Austria and Tyrol. You get 7.12 GB of clear and wide sounding mountain ambiences full of air, birds, brooks, crickets and cowbells in 5.0 Channel Surround HD Audio @ 24 Bit, 96 KHz.
Below is a q&a I had with Tilman Hahn, who runs TONSTURM with Emil Klotzsch.
What was your inspiration for the library?
Right from the beginning when we started Tonsturm, we had planned to create effects and ambience libraries. The ambience libraries just needed a little bit more of research as we definitely wanted to recorded them in surround. We both have a lot of ideas and try to gather more information and experiences until some of these ideas seem to materialize into a topic for a sound library. Our ideas are also influenced by our work as sound designers and sound editors. This year I was asked to work on a film that is set in the Alpine Mountains. I have been hiking and recording in Austria two times before but these recordings were all done in stereo and not for library purposes. So this seemed to be the perfect moment to start what we were already planing since last year. From what I have seen and recorded on my previous trips we knew that Austria and Tyrol would be a great place for recording our first ambience release.
How was the trip and what places were you looking for?
I went on this trip together with Bennie Diez, a good friend of mine, who is a director and vfx artist. He did the wonderful photo- and video documentation. The trip was a great experience and the perfect compensation for the daily work in front of the computer. We tested the weight of our equipment bags before but did not think about the fact that we where hiking uphill most of the time. We were reaching our physical limit every day as we are not very trained hikers. During the trip we gained more and more endurance which made everything more enjoyable.
Before we started the trip we checked the air routes above austria to find the places with less air traffic to avoid as much aircraft noise as possible. mid-September seemed to be a good time for recording in the alps as most of the cows were not on the paddock any more and the tourist season was over. During our trip we obviously searched for places far away from the bigger roads. These were mainly conservation areas. In these areas we were looking for places like high valleys which seemed to be the best isolation from any civilization noise.
I’m curious about the quietest places you found?
As we went recording in september the nature was very quiet in general. The birds do not tweet like in the spring time. Everything sounded very distant and wide. Occasionally we heard a bird fly by or a distant crow. The only time where you could hear more birds was during dawn. But it was not easy to find these quiet spots as we very often had to interrupt our recordings because of air traffic or the sound of a motor bike. In the mountains these sounds can travel pretty far and it takes a long time until they finally disappear. So the main challenge of this trip was to find the right spaces and time frames to record just the sound of nature and nothing else. We are are very happy that we have found these really quiet places and daytimes where you could listen only to the sound of nature.
How were the gear setups?
The rig consisted of four omnidirectional Sennheiser MKH 8020 microphones, four single mic stands and a Sound Devices 788T multichannel recorder. We wanted to capture this impressive landscape as open and wide sounding as possible. Through four individual mic stands we were able to realize a big distance between the individual microphones. This distance and the omnidirectional pattern of the MKH 8020 were the key to this very pleasingly diffuse, wide and open sound field of these ambience recordings. We also chose the MKH 8020 for their very low self noise as we had to be able to capture very quiet and subtle sounds.
Any favorite recordings/places from the package?
One night we were recording on top of a hill, it was very quiet. Suddenly we heard footsteps of several deer. They seemed to be curious and approached from both sides. On the headphones it sounded pretty scary. We got a bit afraid as we did not know if they could get dangerous. So we stood up and started to talk to show some presence.
Then suddenly there was this big evil sounding grunt of a roebuck and we ran away… but I guess we were not in danger at all.
Another great moment was when this single bird flew by as we were recording in this beautiful valley. It was very early in the morning.