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Thread: Recording Fireworks

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    Default Recording Fireworks

    Anybody ever doing field recordings? Specifically fireworks? I'm thinking of draggin my laptop and an mbox2 with two mics to record some fireworks. Every summer our city (Vancouver) hosts the Celebration of Light fireworks display nights. Looking for tips and suggestions on mic placement, location in reference to the fireworks, type of mics, etc. Most things I can guess about in my head, and of course the limitations of what I'll be doing pretty much narrows it down to basically setting up the mics and hitting record, but in case there are some found-sound guys/gals out there with some good tips and advice about things I couldn't possibly foresee,...

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    Scott Fraser is offline Gold Club Member (1000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Derrick View Post
    Anybody ever doing field recordings? Specifically fireworks? I'm thinking of draggin my laptop and an mbox2 with two mics to record some fireworks. Every summer our city (Vancouver) hosts the Celebration of Light fireworks display nights. Looking for tips and suggestions on mic placement, location in reference to the fireworks, type of mics, etc. Most things I can guess about in my head, and of course the limitations of what I'll be doing pretty much narrows it down to basically setting up the mics and hitting record, but in case there are some found-sound guys/gals out there with some good tips and advice about things I couldn't possibly foresee,...
    Just did that recently, July 4th is when fireworks happen in the US. I took a handheld unit, a Sony PCM-D50. Main advice, get away from people & all sources of music. I basically got nothing useable because of all the patriotic drivel & non-stop yacking of audients.

    Scott Fraser

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Fraser View Post
    get away from people & all sources of music.
    I can second that advice. A friend of mine is a pro videographer, and he just did a great job doing a three-camera shoot of the local fireworks here. But since he was working for the company doing the display (for their own promo) he was able to set up only 100 feet from the launch area, well away from the spectators. Even then, at the beginning of the video you can hear someone's car radio playing in the distance. So maybe see if you can get permission, as in a "press pass," to get closer than usual. In case you care, this is from last year:

    Mark Weiss Video

    I hope he'll put up this year's fireworks video because it's even better. The dynamic range is so great that the audio track actually needs 24 bits to properly express the sound!

    --Ethan
    Last edited by Ethan Winer; 07-27-2010 at 03:20 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Fraser View Post
    I basically got nothing useable because of all the patriotic drivel
    What exactly were you expecting to find at a 4th of July celebration?
    Todd Robbins
    TX3 Productions, Inc.
    www.toddro.com

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    One thing you might not think about until you're on location and it's too late:

    Pop filter or wind screen. Absolutely critical when recording outside unless you want to end up with nothing but low frequency whumps. And any recorder with AGC will duck the audio severely every time the slightest blast hits the microphone. I would suggest foam or a windsock. Since you're not likely to buy a $250 windsock, you can make a homemade one. There are instructions on the internet.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

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    Scott Fraser is offline Gold Club Member (1000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Robbins View Post
    What exactly were you expecting to find at a 4th of July celebration?
    Call me a cock-eyed optimist, but since this was the biggest fireworks show in Southern California I guess I had an expectation of high quality, rather than drivel.

    Scott Fraser

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    Thanks, good advice. What about mic type, will it matter much if I go with omni or cardiod.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Derrick View Post
    Thanks, good advice. What about mic type, will it matter much if I go with omni or cardiod.
    The only reason I'd go with a cardioid is if you've got something in the soundfield that you want to exclude. Proximity effect will NOT be a factor. The bigger factor is Max SPL and S/N of the mic.

    If it was me picking, I would lean toward practical reasons to pick a mic. Battery or phantom powered. Compact size. Not expensive. In other words, no 251s. No U87s. No tube mics.

    What are your options?
    Lynn Fuston
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    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

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    Get as close as you can. Get as far away from the audience as possible (unless you want that special "ambience"). Use shotgun mics (in my expeience anyway).

    hB
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3daudioinc View Post
    The only reason I'd go with a cardioid is if you've got something in the soundfield that you want to exclude. Proximity effect will NOT be a factor. The bigger factor is Max SPL and S/N of the mic.

    If it was me picking, I would lean toward practical reasons to pick a mic. Battery or phantom powered. Compact size. Not expensive. In other words, no 251s. No U87s. No tube mics.

    What are your options?
    Options are endless since I can always rent. I have some nice sdc but thinking of hauling out some cheap sdc as I'm not looking for sonic impeccability. Shotguns sound like the best idea.
    Last edited by Mike Derrick; 07-28-2010 at 10:53 PM.

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