Recording is underway for Ultimate Rockslide II Sound Effects Library. I traveled back to the site where a majority of the first library was recorded. This time I was armed with a Sennheiser MKH-8040 and a few new ideas for rock sound effects.
VIDEO: There is no fancy music and I quickly synced the recorded sound effects with the video. It’s all SFX!
The last time I was crawling around on these rocks I used a Sony PCM-D1 and a Audio Technica AT-835ST. Both of these set-ups are light and easy to carry around on the side of a rock infested hill. Balance is key when on steep terrain so these made sense. This year I wanted to try a single MKH-8040 on a very light weight boom pole. The 8040 is very small and light. I found it easy to hold the mic out over the rock action and move it when needed.
I’m still learning about the Sennheiser MKH-8040 and it’s sonic character. The other microphones and hand held recorders I have been using for years are comfortable to me and I can predict what I’m going to get. The conditions on the rock hillside this day were not that out of the ordinary. There was a light, variable wind with some stronger gusts depending on where I was and a bird. Yes, that bird did drive my crazy. I tried to position the MKH-8040 so the bird was off to the side or behind and at the same time aim it at the rock correctly. With the location of the rock I was about to push over and the issue of where I could put my feet on solid ground made for a tough time. I was disappointed to hear a lot of bird chirps. The bird eventually moved further away and in later recordings there was very little or none.
One of the things I did learn about the MKH-8040 is that it picks up quite a bit more distant background sounds and “tones” from things like cars and boats and sometime even wind. In the past I would have used one of my shotguns microphones and they are more forgiving with distant background sounds.
The other thing I learned about the MKH-8040 is that it has some seriously heavy low end thump. Since I was not using any kind of low cut filter while recording I had to be very careful not to bump the mic boom. Holding a boom and attempting not to get handling rumble noise while on the side of a rock cliff is no easy task. My safety is the first concern so any rumble that is recorded because I had adjust my position or move the boom around I can live with. After loading the files into Soundminer back at the studio I played around with different pitches and at 50% playback speed these rocks sound huge!
I wanted to record some new and different kinds of rocks for the Ultimate Rockslide II Sound Effects Library. I found a massive flat rock face that I was able to slide rocks down and toss smaller rock debris onto. There was some gravel and smaller rocks on the flat surface that got dislodged and tumble down with the rocks I was sliding down. I also recorded some big rock drops. I was trying to get them to break apart and thump hard on the ground.
It was a good start for Ultimate Rockslide II and I am currently looking into other sources and locations for more rocks of all sizes. -Frank
The video presented here is to show how I recorded rocks. It is not intended as a rock climbing instruction video.