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, LLC

Boeing B-17 bomber June 25 2012

A Boeing B-17 bomber “Nine-o-Nine” stopped in Sandpoint Idaho on June 25, 2012 and I was there to record the amazing sound this plane makes with the Sennheiser MKH-8040ST. It was a beautiful, sunny summer day out on the airfield. I had no idea this plane was going to be in town that day. I only found out as I was recording bullet impacts and I heard this faint rumble-drone sound. I looked up and saw a B-24 bomber heading my way.

I quickly grabbed the microphone I was recording with and pointed it skyward and there she was… low and flying right over me. I figured where there was a B-24, there was a B-17. I gathered my gear and drove the 10 miles to Sandpoint Airport and they were there… the Boeing B-17 and B-24.

I waited around and talked to the pilots and they told me they would be taking off around 5PM to give some passengers a ride. I was going to take a ride with and record the flight but since they were going to be in town for a couple of days I decided to catch the flight the next day. I wanted to get some new exterior sounds in HD first as I have not recorded this airplane since 1996 in Seattle.

I was able to get a position directly in front of the airplane as it was starting up and taxiing away. I had enough time to get over to the far end of the runway away from the crowd and do more recording. I was able to record the take-off, a fly by and the landing. All in all it was a good day and some helicopters were flying around also and I will post those someday.

Recorded with A sennheiser MKH-8040ST in XY at 24/96. Enjoy! -Frank

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

Tweetie Bird Feeding

Birds 2012

For a month now I have been hearing this faint and frantic bird tweeting when at the south side of the house. I knew there was a birds nest around there somewhere but could not locate it. The chirping was very quiet and high pitched as they were very young chicks in the nest. I decided to wait until they were more mature to try and record them. Now they are louder and deeper in pitch than before and I was able to locate them in a small shrub very close to the outside wall of the house. Every time the mother fed them they went crazy like they were at a concert or something.

My first attempt at recording the little buggers was a failure I think because the microphone was on a stand and the mother bird thought it was a animal or something and would not feed them. I gave up quickly as to not disrupt her feeding pattern. I then thought if I put the microphone in the shrub next to the nest maybe she would not freak out as bad. Turned out I was right. This morning was very quiet and I heard the chicks as I strolled by and they did not stop. Maybe they were close to leaving the nest and were more mature about having a microphone that looked like a cat next to them (brave!)

Birds 2012

I carefully set the Sennheiser MKH-416 in the shrub next to the nest, set up the video camera, began recording and walked away. I made sure I was no where near the nest as the mother kept a close eye on her nest. In the past as soon as I was within a few yards of her castle she would fly around and guard her babies. I waiting inside the house and watched from a window and hoped a car would not pass by when she swooped in to drop the food delivery off. I was lucky, she came back a few times and I was able to get some clean recordings.

These sounds will be in a new sound effects library called: “Bats, Birds and Bugs” coming out soon. Enjoy! -Frank

Birds 2012

The Cannon: Recording Session 1

Cannon Banner
This is a cannon… not a huge cannon but a decent sized fairly portable cannon that makes quite a bang. When you pack it with synthetic black powder, ram a chunk of solid steel down the barrel, light the fuse, run for cover, block your ears and wait… it makes a noise, a loud noise. This is the first of many sessions planned with this cannon over the next few weeks and I plan on recording it in many locations. Next location is high up on a cliff overlooking the river where there is not much but solid rock around. I named it the “Cannon on Call” as I can record it pretty much anytime I would like with just a little advance notice and planning.

This session was initially going to be at a mountain location deep in the woods but the entry gate was locked so I had to move it to another location, the driveway of the people that own the cannon. This was not a bad location since the gear was easy to set up and it was still quiet enough for recording.

Cannon Recording 2012

Once we had the cannon functional (the first two shots were no-gos because the fuse got jammed up in some condensation or something and would not ignite the black powder) I recorded 4 shots with pieces of quarter inch solid steel rod cut to two inches in length. I did not have a long throw so I was not able to get the projectile pass by and hitting. We shot it into the forest up a hill. There was some background noise of yard work going on so we had to wait about a half hour for that to stop but then the wind and kicked up. I read the forecast before the shoot and knew the wind would be getting stronger as the day went by, very common here as the sun comes up and heats the air. The wind would come and go so in between the stronger gusts we set the cannon off.

The microphones I used were four MKH-8040s, a MKH-416, AT-835ST, CSS-5 and a Sony PCM D-50. I tracked these to a pair of Sound Devices SD-702 recorders, a Fostex FR-2 and a Sony PCM-D1 with the XLR-1 microphone module. The first set of MKH-8040s were centered right behind the cannon in XY mode. The second set of MKH-8040s were place further behind and spaced far apart aiming in towards the barrel. The CSS-5 was placed out in the forest off to the right of the cannon. The AT-835ST and the MKH-416 were placed to the sides and just a little closer then the wide MKH-8040 microphones. Finally, I had the PCM D-50 about 150 feet away to the right down the driveway. I knew we only had a few steel projectiles so this basically was a test to find the right combination and placement of the microphones.

The cannon rolls back a little bit when fired so I set some moving blankets under it and also noticed the long metal bar in the back hits the ground also so I wrapped that in a towel. The barrel itself rocks up and down also and next time I plan on padding that also to see if I can minimized the hit noise it makes. This noise is part of the cannon but I would like to try it with the pad in place.

Cannon Recording 2012

Overall this session took about three hours and I was satisfied with the results on the first shoot given the circumstances. I plan to try other microphone placements and locations very soon and will update the website with the latest cannon session sounds, video and blabbing as it happens.

Cannon Recording 2012

Cannon Recording 2012

Cannon Recording 2012

Cannon Recording 2012

Cannon Recording 2012

Cannon Recording 2012

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