AUS220 – Location sound wk3

Location! location! location!  …recording.

Today I had my first experience working with the film students, recording location sound for documentary footage.

I was looking forward to this, but ultimately was a little disappointed with the recordings.

The film students had to go out and get shots for a poetic style documentary. This entailed a lot of varied shots of the juxtaposition of man-made and natural environments. The group I was with decided to film a lot of trees and grass in the parks around the campus. The job for me was just to capture some ambient sounds. I was looking forward to recording some dialogue in the wild but it wasn’t necessary for the project.

Instead; I have about 5 minutes of the traffic noise around campus.



We tried doing some spot recordings of leaves rustling etc, but ultimately this was unsuccessful as there was just waaaaaay too much background noise of the Normanby Rd traffic, nearby tram line and helicopters flying overhead.


I brought a variety of equipment with me, as I was unsure what would need to be recorded. This included the Zoom H4N recorder, Rode NTG-2 mic with shotgun grip and a boom handle.


I tested the NTG2 with some mono spot recordings and discovered there was way too much noise to be effective, so instead oped to record in stereo with the Zoom X/Y mics at 120°. As the kit I was using did not include a wind filter, my first efforts were completely unusable, and I had to run back to campus and swap recorders.

We tried a few shots of different trees and grass etc. so the director could get the footage he was after. These looked great on camera; in my headphones was a different story. Yet more traffic noise.


One of the last shots was of an industrial excavator in action. This was slightly more interesting and I managed to get some good sounds of the machinery… with a whole bunch of traffic noise.


After they finished shooting, I realised what I had recorded wasn’t necessarily all that useful in its current state, so I volunteered to take the clips home and try to edit them into something usable. I wasn’t sure where to even start – aside from removing obvious background talking and artifacts – so, I check in the Matt Bangerter for some advice – he suggested some basic EQ so it’s not so washy and not to bother compressing. I plan to do this over the weekend and deliver the files for the director via my website.