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Capturing nature audio

Chris Harmon's picture
Last seen: 2 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 05/10/2007 - 12:04pm

I would like to do field recordings of nature sounds here in Florida (birds, frogs, etc.) The conditions can be hot and humid, and I need to work at night.

What types of mikes and recorders would you recommend?

I like the idea of the zoom H4n with phantom powered shotguns, but should I also consider a high end stereo mic for ambient?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.


composite1's picture
Last seen: 6 months 1 week ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Peachy,

Shotgun mics + parabolic dish + pistol grip + fuzzy muff. Add unlubricated condom over the mic (not over the muff) if conditions are wet. You can buy a PB Dish or prefab one yourself. Save your money from the 'high-end stereo mic' and use it to buy a good flash format audio recorder and XLR cables. You get good audio on one channel and you can copy it to a second for the 'stereo effect' in audio post.

Enjoy the mosquitoes and don't forget to set your watch for the 3 O'clock rainstorms. Oh and that thing floating in the water coming towards you isn't a log....

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com



composite1's picture
Last seen: 6 months 1 week ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

"... Old DAT recorder...."

Ha! I've even got some old 'brand new' never been opened DAT tape I could sell you cheap. Yeah, you could easily run with that. But if you're of the growing throng of production pros who can't stand to digitize anything anymore, your best option is flash media. I kinda miss DAT's. If you had one with timecode on it long as you kept it dry and the heads clean they worked great.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


Rick Crampton's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: 08/20/2009 - 1:08pm

Peachydingo asks: " I would like to do field recordings of nature sounds here in Florida (birds, frogs, etc.) The conditions can be hot and humid, and I need to work at night.

What types of mikes and recorders would you recommend?

I like the idea of the zoom H4n with phantom powered shotguns, but should I also consider a high end stereo mic for ambient? "

There are a couple dozen or more decent small, portable digital audio recorders. I haven't had enough experience with them so I can't make any recommendations other than the Korg MR-1000 which I have owned for a couple years. Phantom power at the mic jacks is a good thing, but be sure the available voltage will power your mic of choice; ie, some " Phantom power " is only 12 volts, whereas most of the better condenser mics require 48 volts. I'm not a fan of pocket recorders which feature automatic level control. If one is not careful, a recording may come out squashed; ie, obviously compressed dynamic range . . .

My preference for " ambiences " would be a pair of good omni-directional condenser mics, spaced ten or twelve feet. ( Gee, I hope you're not considering surround sound! ) Coincident stereo mics, shotgun or otherwise, simply do not provide the sense of space an omni pair can provide. ( doubling up a mono track is poor man's faux stereo which went out a couple decades ago ) There is no need for tall mic stands when recording BG's ( less gear to tote ). The mics should be as close to the ground as possible w/o getting em wet!

As for recording specific critter noises, it's hard to beat something like the Sennheiser 815 long shotgun. You'll need only one mic here, to record your critter in mono, which will presumably be mixed into the stereo BG bed you have recorded, when you get to the sound mix on your project. Parabolic mics color the sound too much in my opinion.

Try to keep your gear to a minimum and your setups simple as possible out there in the boonies!

R Crampton