I have four single mic Rycote windscreens that come from two (maybe three) different generations of design/construction. My two WS2 windscreens are very recent, and much sturdier in build than my two WS4 windscreens. There’s some field recording I’d like to do over the summer, but I have concerns about getting these windscreens safely out to some of the locations I want to hit. I want to be able to throw them in and out of a backpack quickly without concerns of deforming them…which is actually very possible with the older WS4s. So I thought I’d try out an idea I’ve had for a long time…build travel cases for them out of PVC materials.
One of the main reasons I haven’t done this before, is because of the tools that I would need to get it done. I figured I would at least need a large bore drill and a jigsaw to pull this off. I didn’t have any other pressing, or even hypothetical, projects that would require these tools, so investing in them just to build these felt like a waste of cash. Currently, I live in a town where the public library also has a tool lending service. Just walk in with a library card, fill out the safety release, and you have access to far more tools than I can store in my apartment.
Photo: Andy Martin
With his Kickstarter ending on 2 April, Andy Martin (Senior Sound Designer at Sucker Punch) will spend the next year capturing sounds from the last great untouched North American wilderness for The Northwest Soundscapes Project. The idea for the sound library transpired while recording birds and wildlife for Sucker Punch’s inFAMOUS Second Son. The more time he spent recording these natural soundscapes, the more his ecological understanding began to grow. Inspired by Gordon Hempton’s “One Square Inch of Silence” and Bernie Krause’s “Great Animal Orchestra,” Andy Martin decided it was time take his passion to the next level and develop a comprehensive library dedicated to the Pacific Northwest. He will be capturing sounds from a diverse range of terrain from the deserts of the Columbia Plateau, the glaciers of the North Cascades, the islands of the Puget Sound, the Hoh Rainforest and the Colville National Forest, Trout Lake, Sherman Lake, Lake Chelan… and the eclectic list of landscapes goes on.
To support his Kickstarter and receive rewards of soundscapes and impulse responses, visit The Northwest Soundscapes Project.
To learn more about Andy Martin and details about where he will be recording and how he plans to capture this extensive library, check out his interviews with The Audio Spotlight and A Sound Effect.
As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…
I just got back from a two week vacation to the Philippines, and a lot of my more sound oriented friends asked me questions that were all variations on, “How much did you record?” The answer is just over a minute of audio.
It seems like a crime to go someplace so different from my everyday experience and not sonically document it in more detail. I’ve noticed one of my personality traits over the years though. If the purpose of my activity is not to be out collecting sounds (i.e. on vacation with my wife), I’m FAR more selective about pulling out my recorder. If I’m going to record a sound in said situation, it better be something I can unequivocally use without fuss in the future. If there’s music playing somewhere in the background…not recording. If HVAC hum is going to be present in an otherwise beautiful nature soundscape…not recording. The list goes on.
I choose to follow this philosophy because listening to record and listening just for the experience are two very different things. If I’m trying to record a sound, I’m not likely to notice how the leaves on a bush behind me are reflecting only the high frequency components of a power washer, or the unique way the different components of a helicopter modulate as it crosses the sky…seeming to break the normal laws of Doppler phenomenon. Being aware of unique occurrences of sound interactions in the environment gives me new ideas for mixing and sound design that I can use in the future.
That’s something I can’t always get while concentrating in an attempt to record a bird call in the tropics, using only a Sony M10, while the bungalow next to me blasts the AC and music echoes down from the nearby outdoor cafe.
Image retrieved from IGN. Click to view source.
There’s no doubt the sound design community is one blessed with some fantastic artists who are surprisingly willing to share their experiences and insights. This fact was confirmed recently with Randy Thom’s announcement of a new blog discussing film sound. The blog, found here, already features three brief but insightful posts from Thom, and will no doubt be a source of excellent info in the future as well.
In another unique take on found sounds and field recording, Cities and Memory has put together a new project titled Dada Sounds to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Dada avant-garde art music. Tomorrow marks a century after the 1916 founding of Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, Switzerland, which was commonly held as the birthplace of Dada, an abstract art movement inspired by and protesting some of the causes of World War I. The Dada Sounds project takes field recordings from around the world and applies techniques and practices of Dadaism to generate new sonic creations. To hear the playlist and learn more about the project, take a look at the Dada Sounds project page.