Monday, November 26, 2012

Field recording at Black Star Canyon

Last week, my Trends in Modern Sound Design class (which has all six MFAs and a few other students) got up early to truck out about 40 minutes into the desert-y mountains on the east side of Orange County. The class is a rotating topics course, and this year, we decided to take a field recording trip.  Black Star Canyon is fairly quiet (except for the occasional jet or bird chirp), and we wanted to take advantage of the quiet to record some larger machinery sounds.  We settled on two sets of sounds: an old quirky car and smashing machinery.

I divided the class into four groups: near-field recording, mid-field recording, far-field recording, and special projects (including contact mics). Each group had two students and was tasked with strategizing and assembling everything they'd need to make the recording. They assembled cable, microphones, recorders, batteries, tape (sticky, not magnetic), and other necessaries for their particular responsibility.

On the morning of the session, we assembled on campus and caravanned out to the Canyon. First up was an old (200,000+ miles) car with worn tires and busted shocks.  Then, an old beat-up air conditioner.  Then, a lamp.  Each time, the groups strategized and worked together to get the best recordings they could.

Right now, each group is editing their data, cleaning it up, labeling files, adding metadata. When they're all done, we're going to add the sounds to the UCI Sound Effects Library and make them public for all of you.  Until they're done, however, here's a video diary of our trip to amuse you:

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