ALASKA: Sound Design | #2
The H6 was this years pick-up, and golden investment. Took me a while to find a field recorder that would work well for me. While some of the bigger units (ones you have to have a shoulder strap bag on to carry) seemed nice, but yet, troublesome. The thing is, what I needed this for was not just film sets, or standing around inside, but something that was portable, quick, had an easy agile microphone, but still gave me options. The H6 took the cake.
Couple of things: The amount of inputs you get is incredible. In one hand held device, i get 4 separate XLR inputs, each with individual gain pots (yes, gain pots. I don't have to go digging through digital menus for 15 seconds just to change my input level. Thanks Zoom.) So that adds convenience and speed. Also, they send the device with two different microphones up top that are interchangeable. I get a conventional XY pattern microphone (Always good to have for a focussed sound and little to no chance of phasing issues, since both mics are picking up input from virtually the same sonic position) With that, we got our second option: The Mid-Side microphone. This one is so sweet. It's self explanatory in a way. There is one mono, center microphone, pointing straight ahead, capturing directly from the position your pointing the mic, and neighboring it are a set of wide microphones. One wide left. One wide right. So, when all 3 are combined, you get an ear party of stereo goodness. Seriously, this microphone just raw is stellar. Especially with that small nuance of up-ing your recording resolution, your pretty much set to capture beauty itself. This wide microphone, if you ever get your hands on it, proceed with caution. It works EXTREMELY well for non-direct sound capturing (i.e. wind, trains from afar, rain, crowds etc.), but if you use it close to the sound source (which you can), just be mindful of what all's going on in your surroundings. Especially if you're in a smaller room with really reflective surfaces or walls, you could get some nasty crossing going on. Could be your thing! But might be your worst enemy.
So, thats the overview of the main device I'll be using. I normally keep the resolutions at 48,000 kHz , 24 bit. Yes, playback quality standards these days normally end up at 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, BUT, remember your recording resolutions could matter depending on what platform this audio will be used for. On top of that too, call me crazy, but i genuinely think in my lifetime, we'll see a mass improvement of audio resolution playback. Will the standard be 192 kHz , eh, who am I to say. But, especially for something like this, when building sample libraries (which is what I'm doing), it might be a smart investment to record your sources in a higher resolution for the future. I could be off my rocker and completely wrong, but, I've got a small feeling and hope we'll see an improvement in audio quality, hopefully before Apple stops running the world (which could be never).
WIND-SCREENS: I don't think i need to waste anyones time on explaining 'why' behind this. There are plenty of videos on YouTube showing you the differences in using, and not using them. Do yourself, your client and your project a huge favor, and invest a few small dollars into getting some windscreens, and use them! Rule of thumb: When your field recording, put on the windscreen!