Sennheiser MKH 60
and R09 handheld
I planned to capture some more of the domestic sounds I want to add to the library today. I set-up the gear on the tripod so I could use both hands to deal with things like a toaster and a kettle and can openers. I got a fairly good selection of samples in the apartment, and tried a few odd things like putting the R09 in the freezer to see what it could record. So far I am not satisfied with the results of that, but I think it has potential so I’ll try again at another time. While I was recording various things inside I kept hearing drums from outside so I thought I would go and investigate. I was lucky to discover just over the other side of the docklands area there was a dragon boat racing event. So I grabbed my gear and went for a walk.
The racing was from all around Victoria with a large number of teams competing. I set myself up on a pontoon pier half way along the race course and managed to get a fairly good selection of material of both the actual races as well as the boats paddling by slowly on their way from the martialling area to the race start point. The pier itself had a large post in the centre at the end and each time the boats went past I found myself tracking the boats and pointing straight at the post (with the resultant occlusion sound issues) The problem was there just wasn’t a better position to be in. If I had stood on the dock bank where there was no pole I would have been 100 meters further away from the boats themselves. It shows that sometimes there is no perfect position and you just need to make the best of what you have. (Sitting on top of the post would have been precarious and uncomfortable.) Obviously the best location would have been inside one of the boats, but as that wasn’t going to happen any time soon, I recorded about 5 races which I can cut up later to get some good sound examples.
One notable thing as far as recording for the day was the nearby pub that had some music playing. They had speakers both indoors and outdoor and the music was carrying to where I was setup. I decided to go and ask them if they could switch off the outdoor speakers for a little while I recorded the races and they were really good about it. I made sure I went back afterwards and let them know when I was finished so they could turn them back on. Sometimes just politely asking for someone to help out can have really good results. Its not always the case, but I’ve found its certainly worth the effort of finding out, so don’t be afraid under these circumstances to approach someone and explain to them what your doing. A lot of people find filming and recording interesting so they are often happy to help if they can and if its not a huge trouble for them. I like to be helpful in return and let them know when I’ve finished so they can get on with what they were doing.
Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences