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GUIDE TO FIELD RECORDING

This section gives some tips and tools to record and submit your sounds and voice clips on your mobile phone.

HOW TO RECORD

Everyone has a field recording device nowadays - your mobile phone, find your recorder in your settings. There are a few things to consider when recording:

  • Before you set out: Check the weather and make sure you are warm and wrapped up.

  • Wind is not your friend!  Use a wind-shield or make sure it isn’t too windy - otherwise all you will record is the sound of the wind! 

  • Length: Sometimes it’s worth recording segments that are a few minutes long (although probably not longer than three minutes or so because of file sizes)

  • Patience: When recording remember that the sound field could change at any time, something sonically interesting could be just about to happen,  so wait a while and give chance for something unexpected!

  • No noisy hands! Before you hit record, make sure you are standing in a comfortable position with a firm grip of your phone. Try not to move your hands as this ‘handling noise’ will be picked up in the recording.

  • Directional. Locate your microphone on your phone and make sure this is pointing toward the object/scene you are recording for best audio quality.

  • Stillness V Movement. You may want to stand very still to capture the sound, or move your phone directionally towards an event


WHAT TO RECORD

Anything that is interesting to you! Field recording is a very personal activity, everyone will find different things that spark their curiosity along the Soundpaths route, pick an area that interests you, it’s all about listening closely and going with your instinct. 


Listen to your environment. What interests you? Maybe it is 

  • Events: an interesting place, event or activity that is happening

  • Wide focus: the general sound environment for example a busy street with lots of activity, people and lively noises, or a quiet more natural atmosphere with the sound of birds, trees and wind

  • Small focus: a specific sound that surprises you along the route such as trains, streams, birdsong, roadworks or church bells​.​


JOURNAL / LABEL YOUR SOUNDS

Please label and tell us about your recordings. For each one we need to know 

  • Location: Where the sound was recorded?

  • What: some info about the sound you have captured  

  • Label: You can combine this info when you label your file like this: FCUnited-Crowd-Noise.wav  or MostonLane-TrafficBeeps.wav 


LISTENING BACK 

It’s good to listen back to your recordings when you get home, especially on headphones. The listening back experience always raises surprises, there will be some things you didn’t expect to hear, or may sound different on playback to when you were in situ.


TOP TIPS

  • CALM | MEDITATIVE - take your time, walk the route and be present in the moment. Even if you are in a familiar setting, there is beauty to be found in the seemingly mundane, close your eyes and listen, what can you hear? How does it feel to listen closely?

  • KEEP RECORDING! Record in one spot for a few minutes… the sound environment can change from one minute to the next so remember to keep recording as you never know what will happen next.


YONATAN COLLIER - Soundpaths composer told us..."Studio recordings are normally quite meticulously planned. The thing I like about field recording is that you can't plan them too carefully - when you're heading out to record you never know exactly what you're going to come home with. As a composer I love that the results can be surprising and exciting - you never know where they are going to take you."

 

A short video with some do's and dont's of field recording

FIELD RECORDING - TIPS AND TRICKS

This field recording guide has been put together by Manchester based sound artist and musician Vicky Clarke. This video gives some useful hints on how to record outdoors. Useful to watch before you take to the outdoors have a go yourselves.

 
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DOWNLOADS

Maps, directions and the Field Recording Guide for offline use and printing

 
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FIELD RECORDING GUIDE PDF

Click the image to download the complete field recording guide to either print or view offline.

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DIRECTIONS & PHOTOS PDF

Click the image to download the complete route directions with photos.

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ROUTE MAP PDF

Click the image to download a printable version of the route with street names and marked footpaths.