Balloon Pop On Pond May 6, 2012

This last weekend I had a really stupid idea. I thought if I blow up a ballon, tie it to a pole and submerge it underwater at my secret pond I could the pop it and record the sound of the bubbles surfacing. I had the notion that it just might work. I have recorded many large stone splashes at this pond and when the rock sinks to the bottom of the pond the air bubbles that surface immediately after sound really cool. The thing is, they surface just after the splash and they are very short. I wanted to get some longer take of bubbles surfacing and thought the balloon idea was the ticket to bubble bliss.

Well, I found out that it takes a whole lot of weight to hold a ballon under water. Sometime, try to hold a medium sized balloon under water in a tub… you can barely hold it down and most of the time it pops from the pressure. All was not lost though. I figured while I was there recording I must get something so I pushed down on the balloon in the water with a pole as deep as I could and poked it with another pole that had a sharp nail attached. It popped and the resulting sound was OK but what I found out after listening at lower piches that it did not sound half bad. Maybe a little low end enhancement and some compression and it would make for a decent water explosion sweetener, or a sea serpent with really bad gas.

Heres is the audio demonstration:

Recorded with a Sennheiser MKH-8040ST (yes, it was over the water). Enjoy! -Frank

The video with slow motion playback speeds:

Frame grabs from Flip HD video camera:

Water Recording 2012

Water Recording 2012

Water Recording 2012

Water Recording 2012

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

3AM Rain Recording May 4, 2012

Here is the sound from a heavy rain storm that pounded North Idaho last night. Recorded on my 40 foot long deck at 3AM with a MKH-8040ST set to XY 90 degrees at 24-Bit 96K on May 4, 2012. The location faces West towards the forest and at 3AM it is very quiet here. No cars, trains, birds or anything else going on to disturb the beautiful rain drops that fall from my roof edge.

Rain Recording 2012

This storm woke me up from a deep sleep as I have a metal roof on the house and when we get a heavy downpour of rain it can be quite loud. This storm was fairly calm earlier in the evening so when it ramped up it was dumping huge amounts of rain and knocked me out of bed. I quickly grabbed the recording gear and set it just outside my door on the deck under the roof edge. The sound demo does not sound like a massive downpour but as you can hear it makes a wonderful splatting noise when it hits the deck. Most of the loud downpour sound is way above the microphone at the sheet metal roof line. I pointed the microphone directly towards where the rain drips where hitting the deck and since the water falls though between the deck planks it does not puddle or pool but there is just enough water on the surface that the drips splat against a thin sheet of water.

I have recorded here dozens of times and each time it sounds slightly different depending on the amount of rain falling. This kind of downpour is my favorite because it has a steady action and very little wind. Also, this time of year the leaves are still coming in on the trees so the “noise” from rain hitting thousands of leaves is barely noticeable. Enjoy! -Frank

Rain Recording 2012

Please Note: The Soundcloud sound effect is downloadable at 24Bit 48kHz.

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

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

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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Recording Gun Powder Flame Bursts

Recently I have been experimenting with recording different type of gun powder to see which is the most effective at certain things. Some of those things are flare up speed, loudness, sizzle and volatility. So far I have tried three different types and those include synthetic, natural, and smokeless. These three types make a different sound and visual effect. The synthetic burns really fast and bright, the natural has a nice sizzle and of course makes a lot of smoke and finally the smokeless burns slow with sparks and makes a nice deep whoosh sound.

Fire Recording 2012

I set up a Sennheiser MKH-416 and a Sennheiser MKH-8040 on my outdoor concrete foley studio (which is very safe for recording fire this time of year). All the types of gun powder were not very loud so I experimented with various distances. At the beginning of the session there was a moderate wind so I had the Windjammers on and kept a close eye on any possible melting (they will melt very quickly, not recommend for use with fire recording). I started out with small flare ups so I thought the Windjammers would be OK and they were fine. After a few takes the wind died down so I took them off and it’s a good thing because I started to use more and more gun power so the bursts was getting hotter.

The video below does not have any footage of the synthetic kind. I used most of it while recording for Ultimate Destruction and I plan on recording more of it in the near future.

I combined the smokeless and the natural kind and got some wonderful fast bursts. I tried a curved pattern which was interesting because the whole thing went up at once NOT in a curve. I also tried long smokeless burns which turned out great for whoosh and flamethrower type sweeteners. I set the gun powder off with a short fuse with one end inside the powder. I found out that if I put too much of the fuse into the powder that it will still be sizzling after the powder has burned off and getting a good deep whoosh without a sizzle at the end was difficult.

As always, I must claim that I practiced as much fire safety as possible. I had goggles, gloves with a extinguisher at the ready. It is very wet here this time of year and the vegetation is saturated or just starting to grow. Yard waste burning is allowed without a permit in the my county at this time. Enjoy! -Frank

Fire Recording 2012

Fire Recording 2012

Fire Recording 2012

Fire Recording 2012

Fire Recording 2012

Fire Recording 2012

Fire Recording 2012

Thunderstorm Cleanup With RX2

Thunderstorm Thumb 2012This is a quick tutorial on one of my techniques for cleaning up thunder recordings. At the bottom of the page is a version of the original recording which you can download from SoundCloud for free. (24-Bit 48k) Recorded with a Sennheiser MKH-8040ST set at XY 90 degrees.

Approximately 50% of the thunder I record here on the ranch is fairly clean with little to no rain and wind. The other 50% has some other junk like crickets, birds, cars, trains, bats, dogs, you name it. If I can hear it even slightly before recording it can get in there. The unpredictable nature of thunder is that you never know what you are going to get. I usually hope for the best and even have my front entrance modified with removable baffles to mute the rain drips but every now and then I can get some real nice claps and lightning strikes that need little to no clean up to make them sound good. They are what they are. These gems also come from recording a storm at night when it is really nice and quiet here. Since I cannot command the thunder gods to play at night I am at their mercy as to when I record. So, sometimes I have to record during the day. And here is one of my solutions to fixing problematic thunder tracks.

The best thunder I record happens when the storm is going around the ranch maybe to the North or from the South to the East. My recording location (right in front of my door) faces North so when a thunderstorm comes in from the West or South I really hope it makes a direction change and skirts around me. When this happens I usually get many takes without the heavy rain and wind associated with a severe thunderstorm. The best times are at the start of the storm and right after it passes. I have witnessed hours of thunder to the North and South of me without rain and wind but that is very rare.

Thunder

Here are photos from later the same day

So, what do you do when you have a great thunder clap or lightning strike with slight rain and wind? You try and fix it without upsetting the thunder gods. I have my usual tricks up my sleeve to get the thunder cleaned up like dynamic compression, expansion and EQ but sometimes I turn to RX2 for some extra punch. This is an amazing piece of software and when used correctly can greatly reduce the rain, wind and occasional overload clicks that happen often with the power and punch of a close by thunder clap. There are certain times of the year my stream is flowing and that gets in the track also but RX2 to the rescue, it can even reduce that also. Here are some of my solutions to fixing problematic thunder tracks.

Below is an audio example of a nice close by thunder clap that I recorded recently but it was plagued by some rain, soft wind and my stream. To top it all off, even though I had my recording levels set conservatively the energy from the clap still clipped something. Not sure if it was the MKH-8040 or the SD-702 preamp but a single click happens right at the peak energy of the clap. The level meters did not go over digital zero and the limiter did not kick in so I have no idea what caused it. I have included some screen grabs of the before and after.

The first sound is the original thunder clap with just some L2 limiting. (Note: I shortened the thunder tracks for the sake of this comparison.) The second example is the same thunder clap processed with some RX2 DeNoise. This is a simple Denoise with no advanced settings applied. I “Learn” a section that best represents the parts I want to reduce. This was at the start of the file with no thunder rumble just the wind and rain. I did not want to affect the low end of the file.

Thunder Recording 2012

Original Thunder Audio File

The third example is the Denoised file with some Declick and Decrackle applied. I could have edited out the loud click at the peak but I also wanted to reduce the light rain hitting the ground. The Denoise process took care of some of that and the Declicking was the icing on the cake. As you can see the junk was removed with some success. Now it sounds like a fairly clean thunder clap. RX2 can easily be over used and I hope I did not over do it but most thunder sounds used in a production are layered under or over other sound elements like rain (the rain you want, not the original track rain), music or is used in an interior scene with the thunder mixed to sound like it’s happening outside.

Thunder Recording 2012

Denoised Thunder Audio File

Well that wraps it up. I hope you enjoyed this quick thunder doctoring blog post and would love to hear about any other ideas on how to clean up thunder and lightning. It is one of my favorite things to record and I get totally bummed out when The recording does not come out as expected. But all is not lost sometimes, a little processing and maybe, just maybe, staying up all night recording was worth it.

-Frank

Frame grabs from the actual storm that night recorded with a Flip HD camera at 60fps:
Thunder Recording 2012

Thunder Recording 2012

Thunder Recording 2012

Thunder Recording 2012

Thunder Recording 2012

Here is a video from that night with slow-motion playback.

Here is the thunderstorm recording with various portions edited together:

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

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

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.

End User License Agreement

The Devil Dog

Devil Dog 2012

This is Dixie, a very special English Bull Terrier with an amazing vocal ability that is unlike anything I have every heard. She is special because she is deaf and cannot hear what comes out of her mouth. She is loved and cared for by some friends here in town and they graciously allowed me to come to their home and record her.

Dixie makes the best noises when she is asleep dreaming or very tired and does not want to be bothered. She was very excited when I arrived so they tried to calm her down a little bit to see if she would make some of the amazing “alien” noises they say she makes. The sounds she made when I was in the room were great but after a while I went outside for 5 minutes and left the gear with them and they were able to get her to make some really cool noises. They did not want to have her do it very long as she might get over tired from the excitement.

I used a Sennheiser MKH-416 and a MKH-8040 with the filter module set on a small stand. This combination is very good for this type of animal recording as the hyped-up top end of the MKH-416 works perfect for the normal pitched intense growls and barks while the MKH-8040 sounds amazing when pitched way down with a nice smooth top end and a monstrous low end. I recorded at 24-Bit 192K and plan on releasing a full library of her insane “alien like” sounds in the future. Soon, I will be leaving the gear overnight with them to get the sounds she makes while dreaming. Enjoy -Frank