I am very close to finishing the work on the library and we should be uploading all the sounds in the next week. I don't really like spending all weekend indoors at the computer but this weekend it turned out to be a good thing anyway.
Melbourne had one of its typical summer storms, lots of thunder, lightning and rain, except this time it was lots and lots of hail. I haven't seen a storm like this in years, and I suspect the damage bill afterwards is going to be pretty big. From the apartment the sky turned white, and I could barely see the apartment building that was 200 meters away. The sound was great and I very quickly had all my microphones lined up pointing out the balcony door. Hail has a much heavier sound to it that rain for obvious reasons, so it was great to record so much material.
Even after the hail and turned to rain and mostly stopped I left my gear recording as there was some good water dripping sounds and still water flowing from the drainpipes which I thought was good to capture. I'm really glad I did to because there were some massive thunder claps after most of the storm had finished. Good thunder is hard to capture and I have been really lucky over the last year to get some very good samples.
There are some things I think you would only ever see in Australia, and some only ever in Melbourne. We were out at the Docklands showing Anna's Aunt and Uncle around as they were visitng on holiday so we thought we could have lunch nice and close to home and show them the new areas. As always I was carry a recorder (today it was the H4N) In the public events area there were a bunch of people doing some celebration dances for Chinese new year. This meant we got to stop for a while and watch the dance I managed to record the drums and cymbals they play with the dragons. I have recorded Chinese new yeararade music before, but there are lots of different rhythm patterns and variants so it was good to capture a new one. The dancers were good and it was nice and colorful which is one of the things I love about Chinese new year.
Chinese dragons are not that unusual in Melbourne, we have a big Chinese community and around new years time there are lots of shows on and I think they are a popular and important part of the city, however when you combine them with Morris dancers only about 100 meters away then you have something that doesnt occur in many places.
We arrived at the bar resteraunt we were heading to, only to find a group of morris dancers outside the pub drinking and practising their dances. They had bells strapped to their legs and canes and a couple of people with old accordians. They jumped and pranced about to music that sounded very appropriate for your local pirate party. I set my recorded on a nearby wooden keg (now I am really feeling like I am in pirate land) and recorded a couple of their dance tracks. Its certainly not the type of music I would choose to listen to every day, but it be great to use in the right kind of game project.
and an umbrella
After being miserable in Melbourne last year because of all the rain, I was really happy to see it pouring down today.
I got some really good feedback from my brother recently regarding the sounds in the library. He had looked through all the ambiant and environmental sounds and thought that many of them weren't long enough. I think my time in the game industry is responsible for this, as for games we tend to use shorter sound files and edit them to fit them into memory, however for something like film or TV a sound designer may want 3,4 or 5 minutes of a continuous atmophere to use in a scene. As a result I plan to go out and rerecord alot of my more common elemental material such as waves ,wind and rain. Today it was rain's turn.
It was raining heavily after a few days of hot weather, so I stood outside the studio on a busy Melbourne street and recorded the people and traffic and the rain. Then I opened my umbrella and stood int he rain for 5 minutes or so to recordthe sound or rain on the umbrella. Finally I went up onto the roof of our building and was lucky to capture a couple of nice thunder claps.
For thr moment at least I plan on making use of the weather any time it rains. I am sure I will get sick of the rain quickly enough once winter turns up.
I finally found some very old source material I have been looking for for ages. I knew I had it somewhere and I wanted to add it to the library. Years ago I was working on a pitch for a game project that subsequently went nowhere, but I did enjoy making some of the sounds for it. One of the primary sounds was a giant explosive scream that the main character had as an ability. It was supposed to be pretty much the biggest thing int he game and as such needed a big sound. I spent some time at home screaming into a mic to get some good raw material to work from. It was that the screams are particularly brilliant, although I do think they worked fairly well, it is more that it took over a week for my throat to heal as I seriously damaged it from screaming so loud. For this reason alone I wanted to make sure the sounds found their way into the library because I am certainly not going to try and record them again.
Looking back at the old project files I can see how I put it together and even now its not too bad an end result. I think I was having so much fun working on it that I really put a lot of effort into the final sound. This would have been 8 years ago at least and back then I didn't spend the same amount of time on recording raw material, so I am really glad I found the old source material for this. I won't add the final sound to the library, but I will put it hear as a taste of some of the crazy things I used to get up to working on pitch ideas.
Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences