Although there is an element of chaos in field recording, planning your field recording trip gives you more control over your results.
Of course, you cannot plan everything, something may go wrong or not as you wish. But being ready will save you some frustration.
Deciding your target
It is really important to know exactly what to record before going on your field trip. Of course, you can just go and record whatever you like, but recording certain sounds require a better planning than that. It is always good to know what you are doing in the field.
Right Sound Source
If you know what to record, you may want to find a great source for that sound. For example, if your goal is recording the sound of a fountain, you may want to choose a small, humble fountain to record all the details of water flow. On the other hand, a very large fountain may sound like a white noise with fewer details. So you can think about all your options.
When you have a goal for your field recording, you should pick up the best possible place to record its sound. Let’s discuss the same example above, you should consider all possible noise factors. You can’t just go and pick up a fountain in the middle of everything. Because it would be very hard to eliminate all the noises. You may read my Things To Avoid During Field Recording article for things to consider. Picking up a good place may require some scouting before planning stage. But it’s worth it.
Now that you have a sound source and a place to record it, choosing the right time for recording is critical too. For example, recording urban sounds early in the morning or late at night may prevent traffic and all other human noises. Recording the sound of a river or waterfall late at night eliminates insect noises. To record rooster crowing, you should do your field recording in the morning. So choosing the right time for your field recording is essential.
Weather conditions can make or ruin your field trip. Wind is a challenging factor for field recording. You should avoid choosing windy and rainy days unless the sounds of the weather are what you are trying to record. Prolonged exposure to rain, snow, wind, and even sunlight may damage your equipment. It is not good for your health either. So make sure you choose a warm, dry day with low wind.
Transport and Accommodations
Sometimes you just go out for a walk and record a sound nearby in a relatively short amount of time. But sometimes your trip may take more time than you think. You may have to deal with unforeseen circumstances and wander more for the perfect place. You may even want to stay at your place. So considering your transport and accommodation options beforehand may prove useful.
Most of the equipment these days are battery operated. So you should bring some spare batteries with you, just in case.
Checking Your Equipment
Check your equipment and select what you will bring with you. Mobility is an advantage in field trips. So make sure that you are portable enough!
You are more important than anything else. If you are not well and healthy enough, your trip won’t be effective either. Make sure you have no health conditions going on beforehand. Considering that your trip may take more time than you think, you may bring your drinks, meals, medicine (if you are on), clothes etc. It is wise to be prudent.
The most important aspect of field recording is enjoying it. The planning stage is no different. Enjoy every bit of moment and you will get wonderful results in no time!
Now that you have planned everything carefully, you are ready to go.