Sovereign Hill, Ballarat, Victoria
Sennheiser MKH 60
Boom pole array
Time for a road trip! There have been quite a few sounds I have had on the list for a while that I have wanted to collect and a few sounds that would be useful for the Australian sound exhibit I am playing with. A trip to Ballarat and Sovereign Hill was something I’d wanted to do for a while. I knew they had horse drawn carriages and some mining machinery there as well as other sounds that would be worth grabbing. When we arrived it seemed far quieter than I remembered. (Yeah ok so it’s probably been over 10 years since I’d been there but still.), apart from LOTS of people including noisy children, initially there didn’t seem to be too much going on. I remembered they had giant noisy rock crushing machines and all sorts of stuff that didn’t seem to be operating. Anyway we started to have a look around and check out the different areas. Anna had never been to Sovereign Hill so she was enjoying doing stuff like panning for gold and generally wandering around.
We did find a few period machines running and had a chat to an old guy that worked there, he told us that the crushing machines would soon be starting up and that there was a display with guys firing old muskets, so the day was starting to look up and get noisier.
We went for a ride on the stagecoach and I got to sit up front where I could record both the horses and the wagon moving, then we went across and got to record a whole series of period steam engines and the crushers. The different machine had an awesome selection of different operating sounds and I recorded a heap of material. The more we explored the more interesting sounds I discovered. In fact this has been one of the most useful and varied recording days I’ve had in a long time. 5 hours of walking around was well worth it for all the material it provided.
One thing that was noteworthy for today is a technical issue that I had to deal with. I had a problem a few weeks back when the main cable from the mic to the F4 started to play up and cut out. I did get it repaired a couple of weeks ago (supposedly) but it started to play up again a few days ago. I rang my usual suppler before we headed out today to try and get a replacement to find they were shut for the Christmas break. I did manage to rig something up to allow me to keep working today, but it did sacrifice the normal backup track I usually have so it wasn’t an ideal situation. I also found by the end of the day that I had almost drained all the batteries I had with me. Now while I could easily have bought some more as both my units run on normal AA batteries the point was that I had plenty more at home and should have brought them along. I also should really have a backup cable at home because if a cable is EVER going to break it will be in the middle of the night when all the shops are closed just before the alien invasion fleet arrives and you miss out on recording any of it. Obviously you can’t have two of everything unless you have a huge budget to play with, but for the obvious things that are prone to wear and tear like cables it’s a pretty good idea to be packing a spare. I think in general its going to be a good habit to make sure whenever I am going out I have an empty memory card, plenty of batteries and anything else I might need should I find myself recording so many good sounds that I am kept busy all day.
Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences