Sennheiser MKH 60
Boom pole array
As part of the process to extend the non metallic sections of the materials library I set out to record a series of glass breaking samples today. Having access to a remote unused depot in a quiet spot on a mountain certainly helped the process. Using some discarded mirrors about 50cm square I recorded various samples of glass breaking through being dropped and impacted upon. It took a few shots to get the levels exactly right but I captured some good material. Two things I learnt from this session. Firstly I decided not to break all of the 12 plates of glass I had with me. I thought it might be a good idea to save some of them for a second session just in case there were any issues with the material. While it is possible to check the material on site, it is often not until you return to the studio that you discover issues with levels, unknown sound contamination and various other unexpected issues. Especially when dealing with a limited resource (I only had 12 plates to smash) it may be wise to plan for 2 sessions allowing you to redo anything that didn’t work. In this case the material was good, but the second session I am going to use the remaining plates to simulate things piercing glass. I will reinforce some of the plates with tape and then use projectiles to punch through the glass hopefully getting a good simulation of bullets breaking glass.
The second thing I learnt is that glass takes a long time to clean up. I took along several containers to collect all the shrapnel in and a brush and shovel to help me collect the pieces. Glass however literally explodes when it breaks and 70% of my time was spent after recording hunting down glass shards. The glass was then added to the recycling pile for the next collection. It’s also a really good idea to wear protective gear when dealing with glass. I did and was glad of it.
Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences