Yandina Queensland and Gold Coast Queensland
(yes that's a 600km round trip)
Sennheiser MKH 60
Boom pole array
Sony TCD-D10 DAT
with Shure SM58 Beta and AKG D112 microphones
As I usually update the journal a few days after the event I can write here that the next few entries were some of the best fun I have had in ages. I spent a very busy weekend and did quite a lot of driving, but the material I got to record was well worth the effort.
Firstly I had organized today to go out to the North Arm Rifle Club in Yandina to record some rifles being fired. I have for a long time wanted to add some firearms sounds to the library. I think its an important section to include in a sound library these days as so many games and film and TV use gun sounds. Also I knew there were going to be new challenges to overcome in recording firearms. The folk at North Arm had very kindly organised to bring along an old 1930 .303 rifle. This was the main weapon used in World War two by Australian soldiers and as such is an important part of our history. I plan on using the sound of the 303 in another project I am working on of important Australian sounds.
Australian 303 MK1 1942 Rifle
I wanted to be as prepared as possible for today, and having never recorded firearms I wanted to cover my bases as much as possible. I pulled my old portable DAT recorder out of the cupboard as I wanted to get as many microphones running as possible. I set up the DAT with a different mic going into each channel. I had a Shure SM 58 Beta up on a standard microphone stand behind the firing area, and an AKG D112 on a desktop tripod sitting basically in front of the muzzle of the rifles. The D112 is designed pretty much for bass drums and so can deal well with high sound pressure levels and has a fast reaction time. The Shure was simply to have another mic on sight. I also positioned the R09 on the ground but I had it much further back from the D112. The R09 was set to the absolute lowest input level that it could still receive a signal on. (Even with this it maxed out quite a lot) Finally I held the Boom pole with the MKH 60 on it and moved around as needed. I constantly switched the input level switches between high and low to capture as much as possible. When the rifle was being loaded or unloaded I increased the gain to capture as much material as possible. Whenever the weapon was fired I would switch the levels to minimum to avoid maxing out the signal. It was a little tricky at times to get this all coordinated and have the mic in the best position. Also I had to have both ear plugs in and my headphones on (and set to zero) to protect my ears, so I couldn’t really monitor much of what was going in.
Generally the D112 handled everything well. The Shure picked up most firing sounds, but they are distant and lack much range. (This is totally understandable for this mic, but all the material will be kept and may be useful later for mixing) The R09 peaked out very badly initially as it was too close and the built in mics just couldn’t respond fast enough or cope with the SPL levels. It did however do a very good job of capturing the echo of the round going downrange. At the time of writing this I am still downloading the Zoom F4 material so I don’t actually know yet how the MKH60 coped.
Overall I got some good material on the range and I am sure when its all edited down there will be some good samples to add to the library.
Following the range recording I packed everything up and drove about 250KM to the Gold Coast to a brand new sports arena called Skilled Park for the World Cup Rugby game between New Zealand and Papua and New Guinea. I have never been to a rugby game, but it was a good opportunity to record large crowd sounds and to capture the ambiance of a big sporting event. I recorded close to an hour of footage of general crowd ambiance as well as cheers, boos and other audience sounds. The best sample was when PnG scored their first try in the second half. The crowd reacted as though they had just won the premiership, it was a really exciting moment in the game and the energy of that moment was well captured in the recording.
Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences