THUNDERSTORM III HD Pro SFX library Update

THUNDERSTORM III HD Professional SFX library Update: Three years ago I started recording all new thunder and lightning sounds for this new collection. As you might guess you cannot call up the thunder gods and schedule a recording session or two. Strange I know but that’s the way they work. So, I’ve been slowly and patiently waiting, recording, waiting, recording, editing, waiting, recording, etc during this time and have recorded quite a bit of material.

Up until this summer the storms have been few and far between so the library has been delayed. This summer there have been many amazing storms here in North Idaho, and now that I’m in a different location I have been recording some of the best thunder and lightning strikes ever. The weather forecasts for the rest of the summer look promising, and I’m always ready to record when the storms head my way. I have been using a couple of lightning tracker Apps to get a better idea when the storms are coming and from what direction. This has worked out extremely well, but as you all know, recording thunder is very difficult and potentially dangerous. It’s still a game of cat and mouse with these storms. Sometimes you get some great sounds and sometimes you do not.

The best thunder sounds come from when there is little to no wind or rain. We get that here but not that often. This year has been the exception as most of the storms, averaging one per week, have been relatively artifact free as they come in and as they exit. This gets me very excited as the editing and cleaning up process is minimal.

I have recorded very close lightning strikes, massive thunder claps, heavy booms and beautiful thunder with the perfect rainfall. I am reaching for at least 100 tracks for this new collection. The summer is not over and there are many storms still on the way. So, I will keep on setting up the ORTF and XY microphone rigs, stringing the long cable, running for cover and recording until the season is over. Until then, be safe and get ready for some rockin’ booms!

UPDATE: August 20, 2014 – The day will be forever imprinted in my memory banks. I recorded more clean thunder and dry lightning strikes in one day than I recorded in all of the last two years.

It all started in the early afternoon on August 20, 2014, and I had just checked the weather patterns for the day and decided I had a little more time to get some other work done on a video game project before I have to set up the recording gear. Soon after I began working I heard a very nice medium distant thunder clap (oops… missed that one). It sounded very impressive and I was baffled because it was sunny outside with just a few clouds in the distance. I figured there may be a chance more thunder claps would occur so I set up a Sony PCM D-100 in the front yard facing North. I then began to gather the other recording gear to place in the back yard in my special “thunder paradise” location under some trees with moving blankets suspended on the branches to protect the microphones.

Every time I suspect there might be some weather action I set up two Sennheiser MKH-8040ST microphone sets, one XY and the other ORTF. I place them about three meters apart under the trees with each microphone rig pointed in a different direction based on what my weather tracking Apps indicate the direct of the storm will come from. Here in North Idaho we get some wild storms from all directions. Some storms even collide over the lake for no reason unless the thunder gods say so.

This is when I get totally bummed out… Just as I was bringing all the gear out on to the deck and preparing the recorders, my phone rang and I answered it. Then, out of nowhere, “FLASH – CRACK” and the closest lightning strike I have ever witnessed ripped through the sky. I only saw a flash, no bolt because it was on the other side of the house. I told the caller I needed to get back to them later. It was LOUD to say the least. From what I heard the lightning that day was not single bolts but more like a spider legged alien reaching down from the clouds. I was very excited but totally bummed out that I did not have the other microphones running but… To save the day, the Sony PCM D-100 recorded it and it’s in the video.

The whole day was spent recording this crazy thunderstorm. There was very little wind and rain the whole day, and I now have a TON of dry thunder and lightning to edit. Life is great!

It was quite a day! Here is the video footage of the storm rolling in and swirling around the house. Needless to say, I was tired and totally jazzed with the sounds I recorded with three microphones and recorders placed in the yard. Enjoy! -Frank

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