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Field Recording Stages
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Field Recording Stages

Now that you have got your equipment and you have planned everything for your first field recording trip, it is time to take your first field trip. Here are the stages of a proper field recording session.

10 Stages Of Field Recording

Packing your equipment

Packing bag
Check out your equipment before taking your trip!

Check your equipment last time and pack them carefully. After that, you are free to go.

Transporting

Transport
Sometimes a bike is the best transport option!

Depart your location and head to your recording destination with a transport method you chose in the planning stage.

Scouting

Scouting
Scouting helps you to find the best recording spot!

Scouting is one of the most important stages. When you arrive at your destination, you may scout the area first to determine whether it is the best place to do your recording or not. Sometimes even with careful planning, you may have to wander for a while to find the best area. You may also find another sound sources there for your future recordings while scouting.

Setting up

Setting up
Set up your gear when you find the right spot!

After finding the best area to record, you set up and power up your equipment. You’ll also want to make sure that they are all functional. If the wind is blowing, you should make your windscreens ready.

Finding right angle and right range

Finding right angle and right range
Finding the right angle and the right range requires patience!

Now that your equipment is ready, you can experiment with your recorder and microphones to find where your target sounds best. It may take a while to find the right angle and right range depending on where you are but it’s worth it. In this stage, you can just listen up without recording anything.

Setting levels

Setting levels
You can experiment to find the most convenient recording level!

Also, you may wanna experiment with your recording levels. If you record too low, your recording may sound noisy when you boost its volume. If you record too loud (too hot), you run the risk of clipping which will ruin your entire field recording. Usually, it is common to adjust your gain on your recorder so that the level meter stays near -12 dB when the loudest sound is input. If the sound distorts even when you lower the input level of your recorder, try changing your microphone positions. So you may have to check your angle and range again.

Reducing noise

Reducing levels
Some portable recorders have low cut filters on them!

You can use the low-cut (or high-pass) filter (if any on your device) to reduce the wind noise and vocal pops. So you can experiment with it a little bit. You can also use windscreens to reduce the wind noise.

Recording

Recording
Take your time and get as many takes as you can!

When everything is ready, now it is time for the actual recording stage. Get as many takes as you can of your sound source. Having too many recordings of the same source is better than taking a second trip and do everything from scratch. So take your time, calm down, be patient.

Taking notes

Taking notes
Taking notes in the field proves to be useful!

You may take notes about when, where, how, with which equipment, from which angle and range you made the recording. Having those specific notes about each take will be useful later in the post. They will also serve as your experiment details. You will learn more about field recording from them.

Having fun

Having fun
Make sure you are having fun while recording!

Just like in the planning stage, having fun in the field is so important and awarding. The sonic world is so much fun and exciting. It is like capturing something in a time capsule.

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Gökhan Damgacı

Gökhan Damgacı is a pianist, composer, field recordist, sound designer, and author of sound and music-related books. All his life revolves around nature, art, books, and of course coffee. In his opinion, knowledge grows when shared. It is why, in his spare time, he likes to share what he learns and knows with others.

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Gökhan Damgacı

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Gökhan Damgacı is a pianist, composer, field recordist, sound designer, and author of sound and music-related books. All his life revolves around nature, art, books, and of course coffee. In his opinion, knowledge grows when shared. It is why, in his spare time, he likes to share what he learns and knows with others.

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