In a previous post I wrote why I love the philosophical aspect of what I do. The second thing that really excites me is grabbing some microphones, grabbing a recorder, and going out into the world to capture the sounds needed for a project. These are often, though not always, the sounds that will make the difference between an ordinary ‘okay’ soundtrack, and something that feels just right and exciting to the viewer, and that brings whatever story is being told, to life. When recording (and this for me is the same for Foley just as much as sound effects and ambiences), whatever else is going on suddenly and quite undemocratically becomes subordinate to the inner ear detective that has taken over me. Nothing else matters.
Capturing sound effects and ambiences out in the field call to mind what life might have be like as a hunter-gather, and I say this because when I’m in that outdoor recording mode I am very much trying to assess the environment that I’m in, in order to get the best sounds. I’m constantly observing and listening for things that will either warn me or alert me to issues that could compromise the quality of what I’m trying to capture, or put me at risk of physical harm. I survey and analyse where is best to record for the quality of sound (timbre, perspective) I’m after, and then - click, press - I gather them - record them. I’m collecting sounds like treasure and taking them back into the studio where I’ll be able to really understand what I’ve got and how I can use them.