Hallelujah for Izotope! Where would we be without their miraculous software? I shudder to think as I lived and worked in those days; recording to a Nagra IV-S no less with the inevitable tape hiss. Still though, for many large guns my first pick still remains (as part of the setup) the Nagra IV-S along with a pair of Sennheiser 421s – the older version; pre-MK-II before Sennheiser changed their sound radically.
Looking forward, my goal here is simple. I have a vast library all recorded by yours truly going back more than 35 years. It’s a lot; a heaping lot. My goal is to prioritize the remastering and release of my material in the order of usefulness. What you need and can find most useful is what matters to me. I’ll just rattle off the top of my head (I’m sure I’ve forgotten much; I’m often pleasantly surprised when I go over the back catalog) a few subjects: Thailand: Urban and much jungle – the deep jungle; no sissy tourist stuff. Vietnam: Urban/Large Village/Small Town (like Saigon, Hanoi, Nha Trang and Dalat etc). Nepal: all over except the far South including a foolish trip to Everest Base Camp: pointless; it’s so quiet up there you could shoot ADR. Egypt: urban Cairo to the (then) two-donkey village of Abu-Sir to flat-out in the middle of nowhere in the Sahara. Italy: Rome & Florence. Still more thunder. Plenty of downright weird “Spletian” effects. Northern Minnesota: nature. Minneapolis Minnesota: a delightful 1880s house with most of the original (very squeaky and character-full) fittings where I recorded pretty much everything but the clothes washer; it was just a hum. Boring. Winds: I can bury you in winds. Surf: don’t laugh! I actually do have some unique and useful material; the status quo just doesn’t float my boat if you’ll pardon my punning. Cars? They bore the crud out of me; I’ve recorded hundreds of car series. Know how many I’ve kept? One. Why? It’s near-perfect. It was a Porsche 996 and the on-board is to die for. Fire? Tons. Guns? A lot; but I want this website and its offerings to be as non-violent as possible. I have no problem publishing my bullet-bys but the report of firearms? While one the one hand I’ve got the gun recording thing down pretty well, I’d still like to avoid them.
The above merely scratches the surface. Stephen Flick called me up once (he knows what a recording maniac I am) and asked “Do you have the sound of car tires over oyster shells?”; sadly I actually don’t have that. What’s wrong with me?
Here in this blog as well as my soon-coming YouTube channel (same name as this site; no hyphens) I will be doing my best to fill a void that has made itself all too clear: I will be talking about/teaching about field recording. Not so much the tech but the approach and most importantly the acoustic context; that is the key. So yes, a ‘philosophical’ (but I promise you very useful) approach if you will – at least in part. Since the demise of the apprenticeship system here in Hollywood someone needs to step up and feed the next generation with sound wisdom, pun intended. I’ve seen far too many videos of rookies mic’ing things unwisely. Since no one is stepping up, I guess I’ll give it a go. Mic placement is so utterly important; I can never say that enough. The ground is a boundary-layer just like a big PZM: use it! For 90% of nature recording do I use a mic stand? Nope. Small camera tripod or desktop stand (floor stand, like for a kick drum) with a wide and heavy base. That’s the ticket.
There are those that record solely with an agenda or laundry list of things to get, and while I have and can do that, I prefer to go where things lead and get everything that interests me whether I have an immediate need or not. Guess what? It always, and without exception; could be months or years, but it becomes useful. Funny that. Go where The Spirit leads: it never fails. Ever.