I can work on your project.

Find me! Call DAP at 214.350.7678 or email rene@dallasaudiopost.com. Also check out echocollectivefx.com for custom sfx, and tonebenders.net for my podcast.

Saturday, March 3

slingshots and dishes

I have a project in the house that requires the creation of a ton of bullet impacts, and while I'd love to do what Frank Bry does and go record some targets shot up with custom subsonic ammo, I don't have the resources to get that done for this specific project.

I had to get creative for many of the surfaces, using a rockhammer and a mobile rig for many things, but for the glass impacts I found myself with a slingshot, a stack of dishes and about 45 minutes in an empty warehouse to get the sounds I needed.

Since the warehouse wasn't onsite and I knew I had limited time, I decided to roll with the venerable Sure VP-88 and a 744t as my rig.  The VP-88 isn't a great ambient mic because of its relatively high self noise, but it works great as a spot fx mic when the preamps are going to be at 12 o'clock or below, and I wanted a stereo rig that would be quick and easy to set up and tear down.  I set the pre's down to zero with no pad on the 744 to leave enough headroom for the close miked impacts I was setting up to record.

I needed the sounds to be able to pass for outdoors, so that meant I had to dry up the verb in the space as much as possible for recording.  I also needed to contain and direct the debris to keep myself safe and keep cleanup quick.  I solved this by building a little pup tent using packing blankets and laying down a cheap plastic tablecloth on the floor with a light layer of sand.   I also placed a board against the wall as a backstop, and angled it away from me so that any projectiles that hit it directly would (hopefully) direct away and into the side of the tent.

I protected the mic by placing it behind a heavy wooden box that was holding up the left part of my pup tent, and just poking it through the packing blanket.  Next I set up the plates.

 Not the best picture, but you get the idea.  I stacked several towers of glasses and dishes with the intent of getting as much peripheral debris as I could when stuff fell down.

I also ended up with a happy accident regarding ammo, since my original intent was to buy solid metal slingshot ammo for the recording.  It turned out that I didn't have time to make the purchase before I had to record, so I opted for quarter sized rocks from outside. That ended up being the superior choice though, because the rocks tended to shatter on impact, and if they didn't do that they would riccochet and make generally interesting whizzing sounds on their own.

20 minutes of recording yielded these final results and a few others: (these sounds are unprocessed except for MS decoding and some slight limiting)

In the end, I was surprised by how happy I ended up being with both the noisefloor and the debris detail I managed to get.  I didn't get the warehouse verb all of the way out, but layered with an ourdoor ambiance those sounds will play.

I also don't think the soundcloud conversion does these particular sounds justice, so feel free to download them to really hear what went on there.

Here's the aftermath:

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