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Most exciting sound design recording experience?

Ken Felton:
What is everyone's favorite, most exciting sound design recording experience? I'm talking about really messy, sweaty, life threatening situations here. More importantly, how did the recording turn out? Did you get what you thought you would and did it work w/ the project the way you wanted it to?

I'm afraid my favorites are pretty tame and boring. Although last week we recorded some pretty big body punches by close micing my bare back w/ a TLM70 and a MKH60 and having my colleagues pound on me with their fist. We sacrifice for good sound.

Last year we rented out Fantasy Studio A in Berkley and hired two stunt men to get us some football impacts. We put down a ten by ten square of sod and miced up the place w/ eight different mics and recorded to a DA-88. We had two Sony ECM55s. A Senn. MKH60 and MKH40. A AKG D112 and 460. A Schoeps ??. And a Neumann 103. We got our best results by having the guys stay relatively stationary and pound on each other. We did the usual messy stuff also. I brought in the fruits and vegetable along w/ some chips and pasta. It was great 'cause we didn't have to buy lunch for anyone!!

To be honest, my colleague in Florida is actually editing the raw audio from the Fantasy shoot. I've heard some of it and it came out very well. However, letting the tape roll and recording eight wide really increases your post time. You tend to find out what works in different situations pretty quickly but at the beginning your listening to every hit on every track and doing it for a long, long time. It's great as long as you budget for the extra time

Charles Dennen:
Well, this wasn't life-threatening, but the funniest one for me was when I was recording pigs being loaded onto a pig-truck in holland (they were being shipped off to the slaughter that morning). Inbetween some of the loads, I'd climb on the truck a bit, hanging from the rails to record the pigs fighting each other for space in the truck. Well, one of those trucks is 3 levels, and 2 pigs above me deciced to pee and poo at the same time and drop it on me. So, the mics, clothing etc. was full of, well, you get the picture :) The recording turned out absolutely great. Problem is: I'm now making everything out of pig noises :)

2nd one was last week when I got washed away by a big wave trying to record wave crashes in Dana Point.... Fun. Cold, freezing and covered with water... Luckily dat and Neumann 191 mic survived

David Farmer:
I was recording the underground electric train at the Pittsburg(?) (can't remember now which one) airport. I talked a security guard into letting me in there. I was standing on a concrete ledge about 2 feet wide, about 10ft above the tracks (but at the train level) as the train went by. Nobody bothered to tell me how much air the trained pushes down the tunnel (and funny I didn't think about that either). As the train approaches, I start to feel the wind build up. By the time the thing gets to me it nearly blows me off the wall & in front of it! There was nothing to hold on to, but lnot knowing any fear I just tried to stay there & salvage the recording. Except for the peak of the wind blast, the recording came out OK & I used it as the elevator by in "The Arrival".

About 5 years ago I was recording some churning water on the Northern Coast of CA, above Mendocino. I was standing on a rock ledge that dropped down into the water. As I walked up to the edge I thought, "Hmm. I wonder why the ground is so wet here?" It didn't seem like a problem since the water level was several feet lower then the rock, so I thought it was still just wet from when the tide went out. The slate is pretty funny, because I pop into record, and I say "OK, this is a more turbulent area......... BOOOOOSH!" I get pile driven with a huge wave that soaked me & the rig, which killed it until it dried out.

Charles Dennen:
Well, just listened back to the recording from the above mentioned Dana Point recording. Kinda funny: ...water....water..."oh shit"....Big water crash....crunch....crackle...bonks...."FUCK!"...."I'm wet...."

Harry Cohen:
While in Del Rio Texas , recording rodeos and bulls for Eight Seconds , I actually jumped into the arena during a bull ride (not really knowing any better) . You can actually hear a cowboy in the bg say "that guy know what he's doin' ?" . After the bull threw the rider , he in fact did start to rush me ; I ran to the fence , and as soon as I got there , he veered off .

Luckily for me , it was an experienced bull , that knew as soon as you got to the rail , you could jump over before he got to you . That particular recording served as a 'model' for the bull rides we constructed from other , more cu specific pieces we recorded. Another quick one was , while in Seattle recording sounds for Disclosure , I found myself on Bainbridge Island , with a rental car .

Finding an unpaved area far from any traffic , I decided to roll the car downhill while holding the mike out the window , to record tire grit with no engine. (ok , so sometimes I'm not too bright). Put the car in neutral , started the dat and , yup , you guessed it ; with the engine off , there is no power steering or brakes !!! Managed to bring the car to a halt with no mishap , after 20 or 30 seconds of sheer panic but I did get a really good recording !! -HC

David Farmer:
:) Thanks for coming to my recue Harry! So far we have at least 3 members of the T.B.D. ("Temporarily Brain Dead" Club!)

Mark G. Reis:
It was a hot and sticky day on the Tarmac in Richmond, Virginia. My assistant and I were recording F-16's for Falcon 4. Standing on the runway waiting for an F-16 coming in for a touch and go really gets the heart going. Gilman Louie was flying and came within 15 feet of us before kicking in the afterburner and shooting nearly straight up in the air. We survived the day with few casualties - a wind screen that got too close to some jet exhaust, and the rubber covering the cushions on my Sennheiser headphones, which had fallen apart in the heat and was stuck all over my head and neck.

We went down later to get the internal sounds. I built an adapter on site (damn military plugs) but the bitching betty wasn't working on the ground. After wiring Linus up with a microphone on his helmet and another inside his ear piece, I quickly trained the pilot on how to adjust the levels on the DAT, and up he went.

While in flight he disconnected his communications system, plugged in he adapter I had made, ran through betty 3 times - two great takes - and then plugged his communications back in. I'd have been happy with this, but then he plugged the microphones I had wired him up with back into the DAT, and reset the recording levels. I don't know how much of that ever ended up in Falcon, but we certainly had plenty of authentic sounds and good recordings.


Excerpt from thread "Ignition!" Mar 16, 2000 at Sound Design discussion list

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