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Recording Gun Powder Flame Bursts Part-2

Here is the second video from recording the sound of black powder. 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 are some black powder flame bursts… in slow motion (50% playback speed). Recorded with the MKH-8040ST, they have the beef… and the sizzle! BBQ Anyone?

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

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

Recording Large Fire Bursts 11-6-2010

This is the second installment for a series of blog posts following my recording of a new library I am releasing soon called Ultimate Fire. Last week I posted pictures and video of recording a traditional torch. This week shows me dumping various flammable liquids on a bed of coals that had burned quietly overnight.

I’ve been recording fire for this collection since 2007. So far I’ve recorded 10 gigabytes of raw material for this collection. I started out with small and medium size slash piles burning and have since recorded massive slash piles left over from a logging operation, burning bushes, small propane burners, propane torches, jet torches, various liquids on the ground and in containers and some large fire bursts which you will see in the video below.

Setting up and recording fire for this new Ultimate collection has been a lot of work, dangerous, but most of all a hell of a lot of fun. I will go into greater detail on the foolishness and techniques used shortly before the libary is released next month. Until then: Burn Baby Burn!

Some photos are here: Fire Recording Pics 11-07-2010

I like fire. Enjoy!

Recording set-up: Sound Devices 702, Sanken CSS-5, Fostex FR-2, Audio Technica AT-835ST recording at 24Bit/192kHz.

Fire Torch Recording 11-14-2010

For what I hope is the final session for Ultimate Fire SFX I recorded some old fashioned torches. I had a minor goofball moment when the top of the first torch flew off and hit the side of the garage. All is well and I got some fantastic flame whooshes.

To contruct these torches I gathered together a broom stick shaft, rake handle, old towels, wire and kerosene. I made 3 sizes: small, medium and large. I will have a more in depth article for the making of Ultimate Fire SFX which will be released next month. Stay tuned.

Recording set-up: Sound Devices 702 and Sanken CSS-5 at 24Bit/96kHz.

Fire Torch Recording 11-14-10 by therecordist

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Shot of the flame on the 3rd take away from the house

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Shot of the flame against the grey Idaho skies today

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There was so much kerosene left on the handle it took a while to put out in water

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Lighting the kerosene, I had no idea what I was getting into

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Nice fireball whooshing sounds

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Head of the flaming torch detaches from stick

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I saw it hit the garage and stood there for 3 seconds or so, duh!

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Ok, we're back in business

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I was never that good at baseball, Lacrosse was my game

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The smaller torch

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It's sounding pretty cool!

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Lining this one up, Don't hit the CSS-5!

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Notice the flame left behind after the swing

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Circular motions sounded really good

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Trying to get just a steady burn, but I still had to move it around a bit

Fire Recording 11-07-2010

Since I could not attend the AES show this year I had nothing to do over the weekend. Really? Nah. I decided the weather was just right to get some fire recording done. I will have a more in depth blog post in December but here is what is in the audio clip:

1. Stove oil and gasoline bursts
2. Bottles of liquid fuel tossed on hot coals (one burst a hole and squirted fire all over)
3. Propane torch ignited into the fire and coals (a little dangerous don’t you think?)
4. Gasoline burning in the coals

Recording set-up: Sound Devices 702, Sanken CSS-5, Fostex FR-2, Audio Technica AT-835ST recording at 24Bit/192kHz.

Fire Recording 11-7-2010 by therecordist

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Getting set up to record fire at 24/192

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Recording the burn pile from different perpectives, core is quite hot

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Seems to be burning pretty good now, added more fuel to the flame.

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Using the propane torch to get the fire scorching hot.

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The propane torch on the smoking hot coals sounded awesome!

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OK, time for some real fire bursts! Stove oil works the best, gasoline will do also.

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Wow, that one was really hot. Trying not to make too much foot noise, just lean back.

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The fuel delivery tin can caught on fire. Don't panic, get some whooshes, quick!

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I tossed some bottles full of gasoline and stove oil on the coals. Unexpected sound! Like a gun silencer.

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This one was really nice, a good poof!

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Now, this bottle of fuel burst a small hole and squirted fuel way too close to the CSS-5.

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It was still squirting way too much for my comfort so I tried to snuff it out, yeah right.

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This is what happens after stirring the coals with all the un-burned fuel in there.