The National Film and Sound Archive recently contracted us to record video and audio for Bart Willoughby’s performance at the Melbourne Town Hall. A great night which attracted a full house. We captured the show with four 5D3 cameras, a ProTools rig (using our Nagra VI for redundancy) and a Sound Devices 702 for mobile interviews.
Sound Librarian’s Stephan Schutze ran his 2013 Recording Workshop again at the Docklands Studios and we were asked to film and record the event for a series of upcoming youtube clips. This year around 90 people attended and a quick headcount showed that around half of the attendees brought field recorders to the event, along with three Sound Devices 788T recorders and our Nagra VI. Factory Sound (on behalf of Amber Technology) were kind enough to bring a couple of DPA 4017B Shotgun microphones to the event so I quickly borrowed one and attached it for the day to my four channel IRT cross setup (4 x DPA4023s) turning it into a five channel rig (photo here). The chaps from Portfire Studios brought in a number of guns to record including a revolver, shotgun, uzi and assault rifle and after firing them had a great Q&A session. Stephan showed how the mic up two motorbikes using DPA4062 microphones, made a series of crowd recordings and went through a section of vegetable recording (for bone shattering effects and squishes). The day finished with a great discussion on hyper-realistic vs real sound use in film and looking forward to the third instalment next year.
Some more all night recording sessions for Bart back at the Melbourne Town Hall. Jon O’Neil lent a hand for these and brought along a bag of extra microphones (including a pair of AKG C414 XLS’, Carillon AXIS 70 ribbon and a Neumann TLM 49 amongst the others). Nick Sorich also assisted on the final night. Following the recording sessions we took impulse responses of the hall using sine wave sweeps and a starter pistol (conducted around 4am which was nice and quiet) recorded across 8 microphones spread throughout the hall. As a bit of trivia, this organ has 6024 pipes and stands at 9.75 metres high.
Last week I had an assignment to collect supermarket sounds for a short film and we were lucky enough to have access to the supermarket for several hours over two days before the doors opened for shopping. For the recordings I brought out a matched pair of DPA 4023 mics in ORTF arrangement in a blimp for atmos and a Rode NTG-3 shotgun mic in a second blimp, recording to the Nagra VI. Got plenty of different hums from the fridges and appliances along with the supermarket staff working on different tasks like using the automatic bread cutter, packing shelves, requests over the PA etc. Here’s a quick chop of some of the sounds.
Choristry ran a crowd funding campaign through Pozible and managed to raise funds to produce a new CD. This recording took place over three nights at St Johns Church in Southbank. For the first two nights Ben Cook assisted with the recording and on the third night Jon O’Neil assisted. We setup the main matched pair of DPA4023s cardiod mics in ORTF configuration to capture a natural wide stereo image; the second matched pair of DPA4023s were positioned in XY, three quarters of the way down the church facing the rear to pick up more of the diffuse field just in case we needed a little more later down the track. Mics run into the Nagra VI with additional EMP pres. In addition we took several impulse responses of the church using 45 second sine sweeps using the Convolution Reverb Pro plugin from Max for Live.
Sound Library’s Stephan Schultze ran a location sound recording workshop at the Docklands Studios Sound Stage 1 on the 6th of September. The event attracted around 70 recording enthusiasts and covered microphone placement for recording a sports car, dry ice with stringed instruments, flying arrows, crowd noises and some screaming. Stephan’s a fantastic public speaker and extremely passionate about recording (perhaps bordering on obsessive!). He has over 25,000 sounds recorded and catalogued which are able to be browsed and licenced through his website stephanschutze.com My involvement was to film and photograph the event although of course I took the Nagra VI and a set of DPA 4023 mics to capture some sounds. I snapped this photo of Stephan before the equipment was rolled in. Stephan is cutting up some Youtube video’s from the day so worth keeping an eye on his website if you’re interested in catching them.
Recording session with Bart Willoughby at the Melbourne Town Hall – awesome! Bart convinced someone to let him on the organ earlier in 2011 and has been practising on the organ regularly since. He wanted to record some song beds along with electric guitar and singing in the hall so that’s exactly what we did. To finish up we made some impulse response recordings of the hall (playing tone sweeps through a pair of Mackie HR824 monitors) so that the hall reverb can be applied to further instruments recorded in the studio.
Over the weekend James and I headed over to the Northcote Uniting Church to record three fantastic musicians perform a mixture of Indian and Chinese music. I haven’t been to this particular Church before and it was obvious that street noise was going to be an issue as the Church fronts onto a main street. So we put emphasis on the positioning of the instrument microphones, with the plan of adding room microphones subtly to glue the overall recording together. Microphones were run to the Nagra VI recorder coupled with the Nagra EMP preamp. We used two DPA 4023s in overhead ORTF configuration and two 4023s for spots on the guzheng and bansuri flute as well as two Shure SM57s on the tablas. The concert featured Mindy Mang Wang on guzheng, Vinod Prasanna playing bansuri flute and Glen Kniebeiss on tabla.
I’ve been really enjoying the concert recording trips recently and one of the highlights this year has been to record and produce a run of CDs for the Star Chorale Choir and Orchestra in the James Tatoulis Auditorium at the Methodist Ladies’ College with help from my good friend James Howard. A week before the concert I headed along to a rehearsal to meet and hear the choir, check the acoustics of the auditorium and plan the recording setup.
The recording setup we put together for the concert was 4 DPA 4023 compact mics, being the ORTF main pair behind the conductor and a second ORTF pair in front of the choir. We used two DPA 4060s as outriggers the choir and setup 4 Neumann U89s \to cover the orchestra and soloists. The microphones were run into the Nagra VI recorder alongside a 4 channel GML preamp and interface combo in a room on stage left to monitor from. I managed to get up to the bio box for some choir photos which were used for CD artwork and the Star Chorale’s website. The Choir and Orchestra gave a fantastic performance to a full house.
During a recent conversation my friend Lisa mentioned she was singing with a choir and they had an upcoming concert, so I offered to make a recording. The choir was Choristry performing Dvořák’s Stabat Mater at St John’s Southgate which is a modern medium sized church in a quiet pocket of Southbank. I setup a main pair of DPA4023 microphones in AB configuration just behind Trevor the conductor, raised 8 foot. I placed a second pair of 4023s on magnetic bases inside the grand piano, positioned as best I could to catch an even spread of sound from the strings. With the four microphone lines run to the Nagra VI recorder (midway down the church on the wall) I set levels and through the sound check did some further microphone height adjustments to get a better mix between the soloists and choir. The concert was well attended and the recording went without a hitch so all up a good day. Following the concert I produced a mix and gave it to the choir on CD. The soloists were: Diipti Firmstone (Soprano), Christina Jonas (Alto), Michael Lapina (Tenor) and Andrea Carcassi (Bass). The concert was conducted by Trevor Jones with Piano by Peter Dumsday.
In March Namila and I headed over to WOMADelaide for some festival fun. Namila was mcing on the workshop stage throughout the festival and so I went off on various photography missions. Systa BB, presenter of ‘The Good, The Dub & The Global’ on RRR radio organised a photography pass for me to shoot photos for the station. She had three performers to interview in the speaker sessions: Archie Roach, Nitin Sawhney and Martha Wainwright. Her interview with Archie Roach was recorded for broadcast and her written piece ended up as a feature in ‘The Trip’ magazine along with the photos.
During the festival I met Sam & Paul who were over from Oxford running a series of product demos around Australia for Solid State Logic (I’d actually just attended their demo in Melbourne). Whilst we were chatting I bumped into a friend Steve Fieldhouse who was recording the festival for the ABC, and just happened to be using an SSL C200 console in the OB Truck (talk about a coincidence!). Steve and his co-sound engineer Tom gave the three of us a tour through the ABC OB truck. After the tour Steve asked if I’d be able to shoot photos to accompany their recordings (which of course I did) and so I spent the next two days in the pits snapping photos and generally having a great time.
Throughout 2010 and 2011 I’ve been recording and producing CDs with Dya Singh which has been a great experience, both for honing recording skills and learning more about music. Amongst the recordings I traveled to a few festivals and concerts to see Dya and his group perform and one moment which sticks out is from the Woodford Folk Festival. Straight after one of the performances Bob Hawke came backstage to meet Dya and I caught him say “thanks Dya, you’re doing a wonderful thing”.
Bukhchuluun Ganburged came to Melbourne late January to perform at Federation Square and he got me interested in finding out more. I’d taken some portfolio photos for Bukhu before previously and having since heard one of his CDs offered to do some recording whilst he was in town. As things turned out we both found time and recorded two songs. Amongst the music we had a great chat about Mongolian music and Bukhu explained the importance of the horse hair fiddle and some stories of the fiddle’s origins. For the recording we made do with my living room and used two DPA4023 microphones into the Nagra VI – one mic for voice and the other for the horse hair fiddle.
I drove up to the Woodford Folk Festival to record and photograph a number of artist performances including: Dya Singh World Music Group, The Bird, Mista Savona, Leah Flannigan, RedBantoo, Hermitude and Spankinhide. Most of the concert recordings were made taking a direct mix out from the console alongside a stereo pair of DPA4023s in ORTF a couple of meters above the mixing position inside a blimp. I shot some video from different positions during Hermitude’s show which they liked, and they ended up cutting an entire video from it for their track ‘Get in my Life’ which is viewable here
During my road trip up to the Woodford Festival I got stuck in Warwick because of floods blocking the way out of town and the way I’d drove in. So I spent the night with around 250 others camping out on the floor of the Aquatic Centre. It was good meeting the locals and other travellers but sad to hear about people who’d lost animals and houses. For most the night I took photos, made soundscape recordings and shot video which was aired on Prime TV the following day being that TV crews couldn’t get in during the night.
Here’s some Australian soundscapes made at various intervals between Sydney and Brisbane using a Nagra VI field recorder and a pair of DPA 4023 microphones.
I was driving back from my grandparents place in Orange and about 15km northeast of Cowra I saw this windmill so I stopped for a while and recorded it. There were birds chattering away in the reeds which made my first idea of recording the overall ambiance using the setup in the photo unsuitable. So I ended up close miking the pumps at the bottom of the windmill and caught their squelching sounds. Nice way to spend a roadside stop.
Contracted to produce a 20 minute music piece used in the Australian Pavilion throughout the World Expo in Shanghai to accompany sand art performances; the piece was a fuse of Indigenous musicians, outback soundscapes and contemporary music.
As part of the GEOS expedition led by Greg Simmons we recorded monks chanting at the Gyuto Monastery in January 2010
On our trip through Nepal we visited the Maya Devi Temple in Lumbini, Nepal where a marker stone proclaims “the Exact Birthplace of Buddha”. Just outside the temple Greg Simmons and I recorded two monks reciting prayers.