A fountain is an ornamental feature that pours water into a basin or sprays it into the air. Fountains are great for beginning a field recording career.
In my previous articles, I wrote about the definition and the various stages of field recording like planning and recording. Also, I mentioned some factors to avoid during a field recording session. Now, I want to tell you about my actual experiences.
I always loved nature and all the living things. When I was a child, I used to spend most of my time outdoors. I used to hike in the country, interact with all those beautiful creatures that live in nature. As you may imagine, I was so happy. Because it was natural, you know. Remember what Einstein once said:
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.Albert Einstein
Of course, I didn’t understand anything back then. Well, I was just a kid. But as I grow up, I realized that I was gradually being pulled away from nature by modern life. While everyone seemingly thought that I was doing okay, I wasn’t happy at all. The life that consists of big concrete buildings, air pollution, and crowded streets wasn’t nearly enough for me. It took a big leap of faith to shake off and decide to quit my former life and try something new. This is how I started my music, field recording, and sound design adventure.
How I Bought My Equipment
Before I bought my first portable recorder, I didn’t know much about field recording except its definition. I knew no one to teach me which equipment to buy. So, I immediately decided to do some research on the Internet. Almost everyone was bragging about their expensive and high-quality devices. I got to say that I felt a little bit discouraged. But, I didn’t give up.
Just like every other time I hesitate about buying something, I decided to search for the devices with the mid-price range. I didn’t want to invest thousands of dollars into it. Of course, there were so many portable devices that I could buy. When I saw that I spent so much time on research and everybody had different preferences, I went ahead and chose Zoom H5 Handy Recorder and bought it. My plan was learning how to record in the field with it and then move on to the other devices or microphones.
My First Field Trips
Once the shopping was out of the way, I started taking field trips. At that time, I didn’t much about actual field recording. I was learning by trial and error. One of my earliest targets was a fountain in a park within walking distance of my house.
It is one of the most crowded parks in this city. So, I knew it wouldn’t be easy to record the sound of this fountain. I went there several times at different hours of the day to determine when to attempt to record that sound. During that time, I noticed and learned about almost all factors to avoid during a field recording session.
As you can see, it was nearly impossible to record anything during the day time, because it was a touristic attraction. So, I went there in the evening. There were few people. But this time, I heard noises coming from the tramline behind the border of the park. I had to choose the right time to get rid of the tram noise. Once I determined the time and the day, I made my backpack ready and went there.
Field Recording of the Fountain
On the day of the recording, the weather was clear. I went there at 9 PM. This way, I wouldn’t have any concerns about frequent tram service. Although I didn’t feel any wind, I used the rubber-foam windshield that comes with Zoom H5 just in case.
I recorded the sound of the fountain from different angles several times. Meanwhile, I was taking notes for future reference.
At first, I made a lot of mistakes. For example, I held the recorder in my bare hands. Although Zoom H5 has a rubber surface to prevent extra handling noise, I couldn’t help but make a lot of noise even when I push the record button. I immediately solved this issue by using my camera’s tripod with my recorder. This way, I touched the recorder less and created lesser noise. Even after using the tripod, I noticed some touch noise.
Days before this recording, I learned that Zoom has an accessory pack. The APH-5 Accessory Pack saved a lot of trouble for me. It had a better hairy windshield and a wired remote controller. That wired remote controller alone lowered the touch noise. As you may notice by now, I was pretty much a newbie. But, I never afraid of making mistakes. After a couple more fail attempts, I was able to record a cleaner sound. And here it is.
Conclusion and Suggestions
The recording of that fountain was my first field recording. It taught me a lot of things that I might have never learned from reading an article on a website. Therefore, I think all newbie field recordists should go out and take frequent field trips. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Try your best to avoid unwanted noises. Record as many sounds as you can. You will get better in no time. Also, remember that you don’t have to invest tons of money to equipment. All you need is dedication!
Even if it wasn’t the best field recording around, I felt better after that. I felt just like in my childhood: Close to nature!