Close Encounters of a Special Kind – Part 1
Close Encounters of a Special Kind – Part 1
((the unexpected adventures of an unknown sound designer) If you want to support my work, please make use of the "PayPal" button - thank you very much indeed!
Boiling a Microphone (it´s – not – all about sound)
I had sent my wife and the children on a short holiday abroad to have our whole flat as my sound designer´s laboratory. Producing a whole project only using things I have in my household, like keys, doors, the boiler, kettles, suspensions under my bed, curtain rails and so on (the project would be called “Things II” later – more about it here: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/46 ).
I was interested in how boiling eggs would sound INSIDE the water. I imagined the sound of the bubbles, bumping eggs against each other, or even the sound from the gas flame under the pot. There would be a bunch of nice sounds, some of which might be useful in their raw form, some would make interesting material for my granular sound processors. So I went to a local yard sale to get me some cheap microphones condemned to be destroyed in boiling water. Have you ever found a picture like that in a textbook about the art and technique of sound design? Anyway, the microphones endured the torture for a surprisingly long time as long as no water intruded the little plastic bag. One mike (the one in the photograph) sounded even better – well, more interesting – after having been boiled a few times. But the real surprise came from a direction I hadn´t expected at all. And it gave me the creeps!
When I listened to the recordings afterwards I discovered sounds, that I had not heard while watching the experiment from outside. Sounds like from animals crying in pain! The sounds were so real, so present as if I indeed had recorded painfully dying little birds. I can´t describe the creepy feelings I had! Later I understood, that these scary sounds were caused by the air in the eggs streaming out through little pores in the eggshells. But even now I get goose bumbs when I think of the occurrence.
Creatures From the Cold (another kind of sound design 101)
I am convinced that everything is a form of life. Yes, yes, I know the definition that biologists use to tell if something is a living being or not. But I think there isn´t anything like a really dead thing in the universe – at least not soundwise.
In the course of my aforementioned project I repeated an experiment, which I had already done some years before: recording the process of melting ice using contact (piezo) microphones. You´ll find a video about these early and icy sound experiments here: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/208 . But I wanted to accelerate the process this time and put the ice on a gas flame. Later I had a hard time explaining to my wife why I had to remove the chicken from the freezer (to gain the space for the pot of water that I had to turn into an ice block), and why I had forgotten to put it back in again, and why it was still lying and smelling in the waste bin. Well, I managed the situation somehow. But back to sound design. I knew is already: I would not hear a lot during the process, nor would the recorded sounds be loud enough to be used in their raw form. In my early experiments with melting ice I let the ice melt very slowly, just leaving it alone in my studio for some hours.
This time things went a lot faster. The sounds were, well, they were even kind of melodic. And the sequence of cracks and crackles even made interesting rhythms from time to time. And when I tuned the whole recording down by a few octaves I got something like a singing whale in the far distance. Didn´t I tell you: I don´t believe that there is a single thing, that can be called “dead” - not a single thing in the whole universe.
Sound Design – Everything You Need to Know About Your Dishwasher
Children are born. Then they start growing and mentally developing. They get 1 year old, then 2 years old, then 3 and 4 and 5 – some get even 6 years old (mentally). And then – suddenly – some of them become sound designers and stop developing (not growing though). I was lucky and made it up to being 6 years old.
And so I eagerly wanted to know what´s going on in our dishwasher (my wife doesn´t stop saying “my” dishwasher instead of “our” dishwasher, and so I was lucky to have her far away on holiday – as I already told you). It´s not really an easy task to record (video and sound) of a running dishwasher from inside. I am the proud owner of one of these small action cams or adventure cams or how people call them. You know, these little gizmos some overactive guys glue to their helmets to look like wannabe aliens from Mars. This thingy came with a waterproof case. Therefore I think they produce these things mainly for shooting videos from inside running dishwashers. All this “action” cam fuss is based on a fatal misconception of the manufacturer´s real intention. But the problem is the missing light as well as the incompetence of the manufacturers of my sound recording devices: none of them is prepared to be used inside a running dishwasher – unbelievable! Well, I manufactures a waterproof case containing a battery and a small light, and – no, I decided against using my beloved sound recorder inside the dishwasher. The action cam´s microphone had to suffice. The result was more than just interesting. I´m thinking of making a short film called “A Rainy Day At Home”.
... to be continued
to part 2: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/345
to part 3: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/353
to part 4: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/362
to part 5: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/367
to part 6: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/376
to part 7: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/383
to part 8: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/388
to part 9: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/394
to part 10: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/405
to part 11: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/409
to part 12: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/417