In this Inside Sound Design I wanted to use our interns to explore an early part of the sound editing process: Field Recording.  It’s always a blast to capture sounds in the wild, and we try to do so at every opportunity.  I sent Ian Howard out with instructions to research and capture two unique and interesting ambiences.  

How did you begin researching for your recordings?

I began looking for areas that would have the most controlled environment. In an urban area, finding somewhere can be difficult if you don't want to travel very far so I had to accept that my recordings may turn out with some sort of noise. But as long as it was constant, I was ok with that.

What were the two locations you chose, and why?


The first location I chose was an old empty train car at the American Southwestern Railway Museum in Griffith Park. Because I went on a weekday and during off hours for visitors, there were less public interruptions. The location however was located near the freeway so it was inevitable that I would get traffic noise.


The second location was found while driving to my original second location. I was driving from the Railway Museum through Griffith Park when I came across a driving range. I pulled off and listened and loved the sound of the resonating golf hits that I wanted to record there. 

What was the most challenging aspect of capturing these locations with sound?

Like I said before, urban environments are tough. The train car didn't have too many interruptions because inside the train car itself was controlled but the driving range had more variables. Because it was a gated golf club, I recorded next to a road so cars were passing by. Along with the cars, the mic would also pick up airplanes passing overhead and airplanes have really long tail ends so they would go on for a long time. I went back for a second recording at that location and about 1 minute in, someone nearby started flying a drone so I just called it a day and used what I had.

What is your favorite characteristic or element of the recordings?

I really enjoyed the tail sound of the golf swings/hits.


What are your favorite locations for capturing backgrounds and ambiences?  Let us know in the comments!