The Sound of Black Powder

Some video footage from recording the sound of black powder and regular gun powder for Explosives HD Pro SFX Library earlier this year. Black powder and gun powder are basically the same thing but gun powder comes in the smokeless type also. Enjoy! -Frank

Here is some video footage from recording the sound of black powder for Explosives HD Pro SFX Library. The audio track in this video is from a MKH-8040ST. Other microphones I used during the sessions were a MKH-416 and a Sanken CSS-5. Recorded over a 2 week period, I was experimenting with a few different types of black powder to see what sounds it would make separately and combined. As you can hear in this demonstration the smokeless kind produces a nice fat flame rumble while the regular kind makes a bright flash and sizzle.
Here is some video from recording the sound of gun powder for Explosives HD Pro SFX Library. The sound in the video is from a dual mono microphone setup using a MKH8040 and a MKH416. Each microphone has its own distinct sound and when blended, work really well together. The Rycote windjammers look like they are being cooked but they appear closer that than actually were. It was windy when I started and then it calmed a bit so I removed them.

These sessions went very well. Making Ultimate Fire SFX helped in knowing when to back off with the microphones when it got to hot. I did end up getting a new Rycote blimp for my MKH8040ST just in case it melted a bit. Just a precaution, I did not notice any melting or difference in sound, but I did not want to risk using it anymore. Rycote makes their gear to fairly exacting specs with the cloth and plastics used. Better safe than sorry when out recording stuff. Fire is crazy sometimes and the “Fire Gods” were looking out for me :)

All images and sound effects copyright 2012 Frank Bry – Creative Sound Design
Music by Mick Gordon

Explosives HD Pro SFX Trailer

Get ready… It’s coming very soon. More than 450 earth shaking explosions and black powder sound effects in High Definition from The Recordist. Here is a small sampling of the many recording sessions from the last 3 years. Don’t miss the blooper clip at the very end of the video!

As many of you already know I’ve been recording lots of Black Powder and other “Explosive” things. Well, here is the audio teaser and video trailer showcasing some of the sounds I recorded and designed from the raw source material.

I’ve recorded a whole bunch of Tannerite, White Lightning, A Black Powder Cannon, Large Caliber Rifles and some other secret stuff I’m not cleared to have video and pictures of. This new library will be a massive collection of things that make a loud noise when lit up and will include all sorts of black powder bursts, sizzle, flames, rocket type effects and many other things I have not thought of yet.

Some of the source material is thunder, lightning, plastic air pops, Weatherby 300 rounds and various shotguns. Here in North Idaho we have a amazing environment for recording loud bangs and weapons. The reverb tails even from a small caliber rifle can produce really cool echoes and textures depending on the location and time of year. Some of the locations where I recorded were on a mountain top rock quarry, a dense forest, a medium size gravel pit and my own field here on the ranch. I’ve also recorded during all the four seasons and I will say they all sound a little different.

The collection is still a work in progress and I have many more sessions planned for this fall. When I feel the library contains enough sounds it will be released as a Beta then as the final collection. Until then please enjoy the video and audio presentations and keep an eye out for future blog posts of the latest recording sessions. Enjoy! -Frank

All images and sounds copyright 2012 Frank Bry – Creative Sound Design

Crazy Sound of the Week – Aug 29, 2012

Prop Plane Aug 2012

This is a prop plane engine start and run at various speeds recorded on August 11, 2012 in Sandpoint Idaho. I was 50 yards from the plane when it started up and performed some high RPM tests. It then approached and strolled on by me on it’s the way to the runway for take off. Recorded with a Sennheiser MKH-8040ST at X/Y 90 degrees. Free and Downloadable at 24-Bit 48kHz. -Enjoy! -Frank

Prop Plane Aug 2012 2

Note: The standard single user license applies to this free sound effect.


This work is made and given to you under license. By accepting this work, you agree to the following terms and conditions. Your use of this work is limited and restricted solely for the purpose of synchronizing recordings there from in timed relation with films, training or marketing presentations, radio and television presentations or commercials, and any other multimedia, audiovisual or computer generated displays, programs or presentations. Neither you nor anyone else may make any copies of any of the recordings on this work, except as may be designated to a single stand alone workstation for the purpose of specific audio and/or visual synchronization at your own facility. Transfer, copying or duplication of the work in whole or in part for any other purpose is expressly prohibited unless specifically authorized in writing by The Recordist. *** Transfer of one or more sounds to any format allowing network or remote access by two or more end users requires a multi-user License. Contact The Recordist for details. In the event of a breach of these terms, action may be taken against you directly by the owner of the copyright.

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All images and sounds copyright 2012 Frank Bry – Creative Sound Design


Slow Motion Bullets Part-2

Slow Motion Bullets Part-2 Article

Image: 29 Grain .22 on the left. 40 grain .22 on the right

Earlier this year I wrote an article about recording the sound of subsonic bullets using 40 caliber ammunition and learned a lot about the physics and technical aspects of these bullets. Since then I have recorded hundreds of subsonic bullets using smaller 22 caliber ammunition. Keep in mind I am no physics or ammunition expert but since talking with many knowledgable people about subsonic ammunition and actually recording them I have learned even more.

Without going into the boring and extensive details of this process I can can reveal some of the things I’ve learned and experienced. First is that every bullet sounds completely different. I’ve been working mainly with 710 feet per second 22 caliber 40 grain and 29 grain ammunition. The term grain is used to measure the weight of the slug that comes out of the gun. The smaller the number the lighter the projectile is. In a nutshell the 29 grain bullet tends to become very unstable shortly after it leaves the barrel of the gun. It’s using approximately the same amount of powder as the 40 grain but is rounder and tends to start wobbling quicker. Because of this it makes a completely different sound than the 40 grain slug. It also can go off course more easily and can be unpredictable. I’ve shot at the same spot with the same type of 29 grain bullet and it always sounds different. The sound it makes is more like a fast twirl than a ricochet unless it falls to the ground in front of the microphone and bounces off the ground.

The Second thing I learned is the 40 grain bullet makes a better typical ricochet sound than the 29 grain. The slug is heavier and more oval shaped than the 29 grain so it is stable for longer distances before it starts to wobble. It also breaks apart into bigger pieces and that is what makes some ricochets sound really interesting.

This audio demonstration includes both types of ammunition played back at 60% or 50% of normal speed to show in greater detail the differences between the grain size. Also included are some 40 grain bullets bouncing off the surface of water from a 150 meters and a 40 grain bullet that seemed to ricochet straight up upon impact of the boulder and then the slug falls back to the ground right to the side of the MKH-8040ST microphone rig. Enjoy! -Frank

Check out Bullets HD Pro SFX Library for more sounds. The original sounds from this blog post are included in the Beta 2 release out now.

Bullets Aug 2012
MKH-8040ST in the rocks

Bullets Aug 2012 MKH-8040ST and MKH-416
MKH-8040ST and MKH-416

Bullets Aug 2012 MKH-416 and MKH-8040 in front of the boulders
MKH-416 and MKH-8040 in front of the boulders

Bullets Aug 2012 MKH-8040ST over water, yikes!
MKH-8040ST over water, yikes!

All images and sounds copyright 2012 Frank Bry – Creative Sound Design

A Train And A Bird And A MKH8060

SFX Recording 2012

This is an informal test of the off-axis rejection capabilities of the Sennheiser MKH 8060 – Short Shotgun Microphone. As the official product blurb states:

“The MKH 8060 offers true and natural sound in a lightweight, rugged package. Reliable under the toughest climatic conditions, the MKH 8060’s symmetrical RF transducer design produces high sensitivity, low distortion, excellent transient response. Newly designed short interference tube yields a pleasing supercardioid / lobar pickup pattern, suppressing off-axis sound without coloration to create extremely natural and detailed results.”

On August 6, 2012 as I sat outside on my deck trying to record a bird screeching in the late night hours I heard an approaching train in the distance and pointed the microphone North in it’s general direction. When the wind is just right the passing trains sound closer than they actually are and sometimes the rumble can vibrate my deck ever so slightly. The train was 5 miles or so away and was heading South West (as they usually do that time of night) I noticed the bird was barely audible and pointed the microphone 90 degrees back towards it. The bird was quite far away up in the mountains behind the house. As I did this 90 degree switch in direction, I noticed the distant train had virtually disappeared and I was quite surprised at how much it was attenuated especially in the lower frequency range.

As you can hear in the demo below the train is not very loud but has a lot of 100Hz and below. As soon as it stops blaring it’s horn the sound level decreases and that’s when I changed the direction of the microphone. The angle did not completely remove the train but is was enough to hear the bird quite clearly.

So far I am very happy with this microphone and have been recording lots of birds and bugs with it and it seems well suited for this. I have many other things I want to record with it and find out what it is good at. I did try it with some bullet passes and I found the MKH-8040 was better suited for that as a non-shotgun microphone. (More on that in the coming weeks) I do want to try it with close up gun sessions and will post the results and a comparison demo with the MKH-416 and MKH-8040.

Enjoy! -Frank

MKH8060 WS2-MZL 2012
The MKH 8060 with a Rycote WS2-MZL ConnBox and Grip