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    How much is too much?


    Hello everybody, this is my second post on freesound and I'm very glad to be here. smile

    Today I missed my train due to icy snowy haily weather conditions, and since I had my gear with me anyhow I thought I'd make the best of an annoying situation and grab some ambient railway foley at Connolly Railway Station in Dublin. The nice Iarnród Éireann people let me onto the platform with my ticket for my missed train to record my audio, so thanks to them. smile

    I sat for well over an hour outside in the snow on a windy exposed railway platform recording ambient station and train sounds in below freezing conditions. As I sat there with my headphones on, gradually becoming chilled to the bone, I kept asking myself "Why am I still here?" I mean, why didn't I head straight for someplace nice and comfy? I kept telling myself what an idiot I was being until my hands were so cold that I had incredible difficulty unplugging my stuff and putting it away. I'm still warming up from that with a hot water bottle right now.

    I got some great stuff though. tongue

    Last month I sat outside for an hour in the snow outside a railway freight depot, but at least the sun was shining. I kept thinking "This is a stupid hobby", but really, I'm sure I'm the one who's stupid, and not the hobby. smile

    Does anybody here regularly endure uncomfortable conditions just to capture those perfect audio moments? Am I a lone idiot in a sea of sensible people? How much is too much?

    I thank you for your input. smile

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    Well, not with audio, but a few days ago, I went outside at 3 am in the freezing cold just to snap some photos of snow by moonlight tongue

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    I only have one question: can we hear the result?
    See it's all about the result!!

    wink smile

    - bram

    Warning: if you break the rules, see my avatar. Freesound Admin, Moderator, Ex-Freesound-Coder & Benevolent Dictator For Life.
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    See it's all about the result!!

    Oh dear! I usually get rubbish results! :cry:

    I'd convinced myself it was all about the journey, not the arriving. wootops:

    Oh well, too old to change my philosophy now, but I'll muddle through somehow. :?

    Heaven in the sky is to die for, Heaven on earth is to live for.
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    Does anybody here regularly endure uncomfortable conditions just to capture those perfect audio moments?

    Oh yes,welcome to the world of field recording. Nightjars and damned midges come to mind. A hobby can become an obsession but at least you aren't hurting anyone else. Well that is what I keep telling myself anyway.

    Keep it up. Get out and record. Crack some ice in ponds, walk on snow. Record people moaning about atrocious weather conditions, there aren't many Irish accents on Freesound. If I remember correctly there are only a few geotags in Ireland.

    We await for more from you.

    Regards

    Ben

    "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." Douglas Adams
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    Spleencast

    I sat for well over an hour outside in the snow on a windy exposed railway platform recording ambient station and train sounds in below freezing conditions.

    Geez, your post took me out of a basically non-talkative mood...
    This might not be a consolation, but you are not alone in feeling yourself a bit... eccentric (nuts?). Just spend a few months in this 'hobby' (? ha!) and you'd fill a book with anecdotes, maybe we all should write such stuff down.

    Like most of us, I've recorded in really weird - to say the least - circumstances during the last years. I've had arguments with people who simply couldn't understand why should I stay in the middle of nowhere doing nothing (their words). But the weirdest situation I have lived recently was having a four people crew followingd me for three days just to film me while I recorded !! Boy, this really makes you feel like a monster or something, weird experience indeed

    By the way, I'll let you all know when the movie is finished.

    D

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    maybe we all should write such stuff down.

    Actually, that would be a great idea for an additional forum on freesound, or a place in freesound2's wiki/docs!

    By the way, I'll let you all know when the movie is finished.

    Coooooooooooooooooooooool!!!

    - Bram

    Warning: if you break the rules, see my avatar. Freesound Admin, Moderator, Ex-Freesound-Coder & Benevolent Dictator For Life.
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    having a four people crew followingd me for three days just to film me while I recorded

    Sounds like a real life "Lisbon Story".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisbon_Story_(1994_film)

    I look forward to it.

    "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." Douglas Adams
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    nemoDaedalus
    Well, not with audio, but a few days ago, I went outside at 3 am in the freezing cold just to snap some photos of snow by moonlight tongue

    Heh, I do that too, but photos only take moments, so I categorise that kind of thing within what I consider reasonable. tongue

    Microscopia
    There are two types of audio recordists, the studio recordist and the field recordist; welcome as one of the latter!! :wink:

    Regards

    PS. Spleencast - you spend far too much time in the bathroom - get out more! :lol:

    Thank you very much for the welcome. smile And believe me, the bathroom is way more comfy than some other locations I could mention. tongue

    Bram
    I only have one question: can we hear the result?
    See it's all about the result!!

    wink smile

    - bram

    Yes you can, I uploaded a sample pack of station announcements from that day. smile

    And I agree, if the results are fabulous, then the temporary discomfort was worth it. Discomfort is temporary, fabulous audio is long-lived. smile

    Benboncan
    dobroide
    Spleencast

    I sat for well over an hour outside in the snow on a windy exposed railway platform recording ambient station and train sounds in below freezing conditions.

    Geez, your post took me out of a basically non-talkative mood...
    This might not be a consolation, but you are not alone in feeling yourself a bit... eccentric (nuts?). Just spend a few months in this 'hobby' (? ha!) and you'd fill a book with anecdotes, maybe we all should write such stuff down.

    Like most of us, I've recorded in really weird - to say the least - circumstances during the last years. I've had arguments with people who simply couldn't understand why should I stay in the middle of nowhere doing nothing (their words). But the weirdest situation I have lived recently was having a four people crew followingd me for three days just to film me while I recorded !! Boy, this really makes you feel like a monster or something, weird experience indeed

    By the way, I'll let you all know when the movie is finished.

    D

    Thanks for your input, I feel relieved. smile The anecdotes thing is a great idea, I'll try to document my experiences as well as the audio itself.

    As for the crew following you, in my experience, all sorts of people have all sorts of interests, and if that crew's interest was documenting your interest, then so be it. tongue I just hope they were dead quiet so you didn't have more work to do! I've been considered "odd" for my whole life, so this oddness isn't too odd for me, if you know what I mean? The oddness for me was that I moved my priority for my own comfort (usually very very high!) down a few notches to prioritise getting the audio over my own discomfort. But maybe I'll just move my locations to warm indoors or warmer times of year.

    Or I could just go back to the bathroom and do more work there. tongue

    I look forward to seeing your movie when it's done. smile

    Thank you all for your warm welcome and reassuring input. I feel much better (and warmer!) smile

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    Spleencast
    nemoDaedalus
    Well, not with audio, but a few days ago, I went outside at 3 am in the freezing cold just to snap some photos of snow by moonlight tongue

    Heh, I do that too, but photos only take moments, so I categorise that kind of thing within what I consider reasonable. tongue


    Depends how you take your pictures. Setting up tripod, finding the exact right spot, shooting 30 photos 360 degrees round takes a bit longer than run out, point, shoot, run back in tongue
    But yeah, audio recordings generally take more time.

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    nemoDaedalus
    Spleencast
    Heh, I do that too, but photos only take moments, so I categorise that kind of thing within what I consider reasonable. tongue

    Depends how you take your pictures. Setting up tripod, finding the exact right spot, shooting 30 photos 360 degrees round takes a bit longer than run out, point, shoot, run back in tongue
    But yeah, audio recordings generally take more time.

    I agree, "moments" was a poor word choice. I've taken time to take photos too, it does take longer than simply pressing the shutter. I probably said that because I was still feeling stupid when I wrote that post for freezing my arse off.

    Sorry. tongue

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    Oh no, no problem smile

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    Some of the audio I got on that freezing day is now available:

    http://www.freesound.org/packsViewSingle.php?id=5676

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    Microscopia
    You don't mean to say that you sat there freezing your a*** off for over an hour and you only managed 7mins of recording! weirdhock:

    Next time sit there longer and get at least 30mins of recording.

    Only joking! Well done - they turned out ok - worth the wait and inconvenience!


    Heh, yes indeed, remember the part where I felt kind of stupid? tongue (I know, you're kidding grin ) I'm glad you thought the announcements were worth it. smile

    Microscopia
    Did you have any problems with self-noise from Macbook combination and how well did the batteries last whilst recording?

    On this occasion the conditions were so cold that the Macbook was running at about 34 degrees and the fans didn't engage. Even if the fans were running, the engine sounds would likely have drowned out any fan sounds, and the mic was some distance away (about 3 meters). I got over an hour of recording, and according to the battery meter I had about 50 minutes left.

    In quieter warmer environments I have had some issues with fan noise, and in those cases I try to do shorter takes or run the mic further away. Other than the fans, I've had no issues that I know of with self-noise from the Macbook. The most I've gotten from a freshly charged battery was about 3 hours of recording with nothing else running and the software window minimised.

    Microscopia
    I was considering the possibility of going down that road for more 'covert' recording as netbooks/notebooks are so common nowadays in public spaces that people tend to ignore them!

    I have this stand
    http://cachepe.zzounds.com/media/quality,85/brand,zzounds/A188-11bd95adfb96222dcdbed9708dc70d44.jpg
    with a shockmount mic holder and a Shure Beta 58A with a big black windscreen on it. I find that most people treat that as unobtrusive. (possibly because it's usually on the floor/ground)

    I normally run the mic far enough away from the Macbook that most people don't associate the one with the other. One time on a train somebody actually followed the cable looking for who was recording and didn't spot me until I identified myself to him. I think a smaller recorder with a mic is likely to be even more unobtrusive because the recorder can sit on a lap or in some other out-of-the-way place.

    My Zoom H4n arrived a few hours ago, and I am really, really looking forward to having a lighter rig. Since I've only had the Macbook to record on to date, I can't yet comment on what it's like to have anything else from a covert point of view. I ordered the Zoom because I am absolutely fed up with dragging the Macbook, firewire 410 sound card, firewire cable, and Macbook power supply, in addition to the mic, mic stand, and mic cable. I checked recently, and the Macbook and soundcard alone are nearly 4 kilos, well over 10 times the weight of the Zoom.

    Furthermore, it does take a bit of doing to launch the software, connect the sound card and mic, and get levels before recording can even start. It kind of gives the game away when checking the mic is transmitting a live signal, if you're trying to be covert. tongue Also, unlike a portable recorder, the Macbook must be more or less where it's going to be before you start recording, because of connecting everything up. Whereas with a portable recorder, the mic can in principle be connected and recording already when you carry it to its final destination.

    So unless you're already going to be carrying around your laptop anyhow, from the weight point of view I cannot recommend that set-up as conveniently portable or particularly covert. In my experience, being covert is mostly about mic placement.

    My experience is quite limited as I've only been doing this for about a year, but I hope this has been at least somewhat helpful. I really appreciate your positive comments about the station announcements, my defrosted arse thanks you. smile

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    Or you can take an old notebook's body, modify it so your portable recorder fits right in it. So it looks like you have a notebook, but in reality it's just a cover-up for your recorder tongue

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    Then you're introducing phase shifts into your recordings tongue

    I am recording more and more again with a Zoom H4, I use my recordings for theater productions, and the biggest hassle is the people who think you are downright crazy or people who think it's funny to shout or scream extra, thus making your recording time longer (especially when you need a clean sound of, let's say, church chimes that play a melody every hour...

    I once made recordings with a DAT recorder, two gunshots and empty soda cans kicking them around through a reverberating railway station. This caused such a commotion amongst standers by that most people were too 'afraid' to say anything at all and they passed by silently with a large curve, not to disturb me. Now that was funny (I though so at least).

    I haven't uploaded those sounds (yet) and am very busy with theater shows and do not have internet at home, when I have the time and finally internet at home I will upload the coolest recordings and try to put as much anecdotes in the description as possible (keeping it short as possible too) wink

    Another anecdote I have is when I just bought new microphones and tested them out in my living room with my studio headphones on. I turned the volume up higher and higher and was impressed by the sound and the fact that I could hear a moped very clear and crisp driving more than a kilometer further with very little self noise.

    All of a sudden I almost got a heart attack as my neighbor rang my doorbell (which now was extremely loud as I had turned the volume up so high), I even screamed. When I opened the door for her and she asked why I screamed so loud I explained and she couldn't stop laughing, since this day she always teases me with that time (more than 12 years ago) tongue

    On a side note for the curious people: The microphones were Røde NT1's, which amazed me for one of the best price/quality mic out there. Røde was a recent newcomer in the Netherlands in 1998 and I tested them out for the music store I was working for. I still use these matched pairs for indoor studio recordings, still great stuff.

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    How crazy I am.

    As you see, I'm relatively new in this world. Last summer I was in Zeeland. (Holland) on the coast. Near a wind organ. My goal was the sound of that organ. The problems were many. It should blow, otherwise the organ does not play. The wind should blow alternately hard and soft. For a nice variation.
    No people talking. The sea must be low.
    It took me the entire vacation. And yet, the recordings are not exactly as I want.

    Example.
    Did I just install everything. Stereo Microphone windsheeld. Recorder on the ground. Bable tide. Cotton jacket behind microphone. A plastic coat makes too mutch noise. The correct variable winds. Low water. Recorder on. And in a minute I get a huge coughing. 5 minutes. Drink some water. Recorder turned on again. After 1 minute. Here comes the loudest family in the Netherlands. They remain half hours. Fluctuations in wind speed are gone. Not suitable for my purpose. Back to my sweetheart. She sees me coming. Pours coffee. The weather is one day past. Three days later, the garbage man at the wrong time at the wrong place. Days with too much wind. And many with too little wind.
    I ended in the middle of the night sound recordings. lying on the ground. The man who came my way must have seen me. But it was dark. I have a scary face. The take was completely clean.Oh man, what was it cold. The results are impressive. hihihi. And many looked at me with pity. Three weeks and not wat I wanted. Next Year I'm there again.

    Yes, I am crazy..

    http://www.freesound.org/packsViewSingle.php?id=6676

    To hear, you first have to listen
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    Kla, Whoah. thats crazy creepy awesome! i've always thought of doing a sound scape of random mechanics, but recorded at the beach. just to get that natural gritty feel of sudo industrial feel.

    haha, Great recordings and stories guys!

    I am usually on set for sound (field recording) and all my work to shut the ENTIRE crew up goes un-appreciated to get a simple "room tone"

    so i think even if you only got 30 seconds of that hour. it would be worth it. its proof you are real. smile

    I do sound for TV FILM AND VIDEOGAMES, lets talk business.
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    kantouth
    I am usually on set for sound (field recording) and all my work to shut the ENTIRE crew up goes un-appreciated to get a simple "room tone"

    Yeah, that's awful. I've often found great sounds on sets, but couldn't record them because I wouldn't need them for the film and couldn't get the crew silent for my personal recording. And sometimes you want to record a scene rehearsal, but it's often impossible due to tripods being thrown around outside.
    One time though, I was working with only a cameraman, shooting an interview. The interview went ok, but when it was finished, the interviewer and the guest started to talk, but much more natural of course. So the cameraman looked at me and we both understood this was much more interesting material than the whole interview, so we could keep recording, without the two knowing. They later said they thought we were just playing around, like we always point our equipment at everything, just for fun.
    But then when you have a cameraman (and we didn't have any other crew around) who understands not only his trade but also that of his co-workers, you can still work together to grab those moments.

    19 posts