Sennheiser MKH 60
Boom pole array
Well today was something I had been planning for and looking forward to for sometime. The reality on the day was a series of annoyances and frustration. Perhaps the best thing I learnt was that some days are just going to suck. With any large event such as an air show I make sure I do plenty of preparation, checking all my gear recharging batteries, packing spares, clearing memory cards. This is stuff I do regularly anyway, but when it’s an unusual event I make sure I go through it all carefully. I even packed two cameras to help with the new video journals I am trying to add. Its just part of trying to be professional, check your gear, make sure you don’t forget anything and avoid dumb mistakes. Its never perfect but it helps. Anyway I had everything sorted and ready, and I drove out to Avalon with my special parking pass and media access stuff, I even had time to go around and take still shots of all the major planes I was planning to record during the day. Then the flying demonstrations started and everything fell to pieces.
I did manage to get a good sample of a 747 Jumbo idling, and taxiing out to the runway and finally taking off, as well as a couple of other clean samples of planes. The problem with my position was that every time a plane was up, there would be another waiting to come onto the runway, and an idling plane tend to be fairly loud, especially fighter jets. So a lot of my material was contaminated by other sounds. It seemed no matter where I positioned myself for the day I was not going to get nice clean material.
-Remember planes travel so fast you don’t want to track the plane with a directional mic, you want to be aiming just behind it, because that’s where the sound is coming from.
-I would always recommend having at least two devices for a day like this. Set one on very low input levels and use it as a backup for extreme sound levels.
-Make a rough plan, but be prepared to be flexible, don’t however try and be everywhere at once, that will just get you tired and frustrated.
-Don’t plan to sample everything, concentrate on getting what you can, and try not to be disappointed on what you might have missed out on.
-WEAR SUNSCREEN! Yeah I got badly burnt because it was very cloudy in the morning, but it cleared, and airports have very little shade for obvious reasons. I had sunscreen in the car, but it was a fair hike back to the car park. My bad, and I’m suffering for it. I should probably buy a hat, but I look like a total noob in a hat.
-It is worth checking your gear and having a routine for each time you go out. Of all the issues I had at Avalon, non of them were gear related, everything did what it was supposed to, and did it pretty well.