Australian Sound Artist

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Day 4. Good work habits for the field recordist

:: Home-made windshield ::
Friday 31st Oct. 
I enjoy recording sounds as an artist (no surprises there). By undertaking this work as purely a creative luxury and keeping my, 'day job', I allow myself the choice of when and where I record - to satisfy my own ego and intentions. The downfalls in working in such a manner includes the fact that if you have no one to please but yourself you may feel there is no need to set work practice to any uniform standard. As you will be the only individual working with the material - only you need to know facts, figures, dates, tech specs and you've got all that in your head anyway so no need to formally record it right...? 

Well I know this is not the case - I'm merely playing devils advocate to illustrate just how poor my own work methods can be in regards to recording crucial information and maintaining professional work standards. All of those bad habits are in the past

As      Of      Now

Chris: What do you record at? 
Me: 24/48
Chris: You don't record at 96?
Me: No - you can't hear the difference anyway
Chris: Maybe but why wouldn't you? You have enough disc space and when you consider just how fast technology is developing - the sound standard is only increasing. In future we may very well have 96k as our broadcast standard.
Me: .....
Chris: Do you indent at all?
Me: Oh.. ahh... I try to but I generally forget
Chris: You should always indent at the start of each recording. Say your name, the place, your equipment, the date and any other information you would like to add. Do you know 'Wave Agent'?
Me: ....... head shake
Chris: You should have a look at it. It embeds the required metadata into your files and it's free. You can put all your indent information in there and your sounds are ready to be archived. No information is lost. Have you timecoded your Sound Devices?
Me: Yep
Chris: Let's have a look. Furrowed brow, changing of settings
Me: Silently realise that it's still set to time-in-Australia not, time-in-UK. Cringe.
Chris: You must timecode for every place you visit.
Me: nodnodnod

- and so we continue like this for the rest of the morning. It was a bit of a wakeup call in regards to my lazy habits. When I was working as an AV tech I (like to think I) was thorough with the systems I implemented and installed for others, logic has it that I should at least do the same for myself. 

Other tips and tricks Chris enlightened me to include the making of his own windshields (see image above). I have seen this done before but not with speaker fabric (Tygan), for the exterior. This allows the sounds to pass through to the microphone with less frequency filtering. With a simple thread-through and loop of a rubber band you have basic suspension for your microphone and a lightweight shield that won't break the bank or leave you teary eyed if it gets damaged in rough terrain which, as a top paid professional - you mightn't want to use it on set but as a penny-pinching artist.... it's ideal.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.