Sennheiser MKH 60
and R09 handheld
This week has been the time of the Moomba Festival in Melbourne. For those of you not from Australia, Moomba is a festival in Melbourne with several parades and performances in various locations as well as a carnival on the Yarra river on the edge of the city. I wanted to record the main parade to add to the library as well as for another project I am working on, so I got up, got my gears ready and headed into the city. The Moomba parade is much like many other parades with musicians and dancers and lots of costumes. Because of Australia’s diverse mix of cultures Moomba has a wide range of looks and sounds to the parade.
The biggest issue for recording was the shear range of volumes as things passed by me. Some of the groups had quiet subtle sounds like people tap dancing, or a Buddhist group that had quiet bells and chanting. The other extremes were the amplified bands, and anything with lots of drums and cymbals. (Which are pretty common in most parades.)
I was carrying both the R09 in my hand as well as the H4 on the boom pole (as well as my camera to document things. I really need to grow a third arm) I tried to keep an eye on both the monitoring levels of both devices, but even with that some of the sounds still maxed out simply because I had the device set to the absolute lowest input and things were still too loud. Bass drums and cymbals really tend to push the limit sometimes. Usually when I have both devices I tend to set the R09 to a very low level, but I may need to take it to the next level and start using mics designed specifically to cope with high SPL. Time to do some tests I think.
The other aspect of today’s recording was the need to be super mobile. I was on the parade area and needed to move quickly and easily around the various groups to get interesting sounds, or to find the best angle to record a group. Initially I had the boom pole extended quite far as I thought it might be useful to lean over the top of groups or position in unusually places, but considering I was using the R09 as well in one hand, the boom tended to be angled down towards the ground, with the microphone itself angled pointing upwards. This is a fairly good position to use the boom in, however it did mean I had an extra length of pole sticking out behind me. Thankfully I realised this before I clubbed someone from either the crowd or the parade with the end of the pole, and quickly retracted the excess length. I’ve often found that even prior planning for some events doesn’t help much when the real action starts and you find yourself having to respond to other people’s actions, so you really need to stay flexible. Considering there have been several instances lately where I have used both the R09 and the H4 to capture pretty much identical material I think I may need to look at mounting the R09 on the boom pole with the H4, thus removing the need for me to dedicate another hand to it.
Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences