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It has been about a week since Seattle (and it's surrounding areas) was hit with the snow storm to end all snow storms. Just kidding, honestly the worst we got was about 6 to 8 inches but because the areas do not have a infrastructure in place to deal with snow like this the entire area shuts down. People started to panic and in some cases a 25 minute commute turned into a 5 hour commute. Seriously. That is what some people encountered this past Friday.

I personally love when this happens. I grew up in Winnipeg, MB, Canada so I am quite the experienced winter driver and I have an AWD vehicle. I love driving in the snow and I love how quiet the city becomes. Areas near freeways become quiet enough to record sounds around because no one wants to drive.

During the first snowfall (last week) I began taking advantage of the situation by capturing as many sounds as I could get. I started with outdoor snow footsteps recorded with a CMIT and then upgraded to some tire snow surface recordings with a co worker using my vehicle. We were the only ones at work so we went to the top of our work's parking garage and captured as many different driving on snow recordings we could get. My vehicle is a Hybrid so we could get some pretty good recordings having him boom out of the back seat window with a CMIT.

After my first adventure playing in the snow things returned to normal, at least until this past Friday when the city shut down again. This time with even more snow then last time. It wasn't too bad to drive in but I did not need to leave home to capture the next set of winter wonderland sounds. I noticed that outside my garage at home quite a collection of icicles had formed. I am not a fan of icicles in that location, although they look cool they are a bit too close to where my girlfriend parks her car for my comfort. So as a good boyfriend should, I set my sights to knock them down. But I had to jump at the chance to record them while I knocked them down.

Before I go I have to share this pic with you. I took it on Thursday, the day before the second snow fall. We had gone to 2 different grocery stores to collect food just in case and this was the result of the fear of Snowpocalypse 2.


I am going to take a small break from blogging about my trip to Oregon to post about my adventures at Stevens Pass Ski Resort this past weekend.

Ever since I started field recording my favorite thing to record has been snowboarding. It allows me to combine my two passions into one. Yes, I probably look like a weirdo bombing down the mountains with a big furry microphone but I just don't care. I love the sound my board makes as it carves down the mountain. The crunchiness is truly satisfying and pointing the board straight down hill sounds almost like silk brushing against a surface.

It is funny, as I rode up the chair lift with a group of 3 other skiers, one of them commented on how much they enjoyed the sound of a snowboarder carving down the mountain. I smiled a bit because it reaffirmed that I was not completely crazy.

Stevens Pass is a pretty nice ski resort, especially for field recording. There is a run that goes along the terrain park that has a lot of easy to ride stretches. It also leads to a 2 person chairlift that is not usually busy so you can also grab a recording of that on the way up.

When I go riding I usually stick to handheld AA battery powered recorders. I do this because a long time ago I took a Sound Devices 702 to Whistler and the Sony L Batteries died instantly in the cold. I find that AA batteries do quite well in extreme conditions. I use a small REI messenger bag I got to carry my camera a field recording gear. It is secure with 3 straps and is small enough to not be restrictive. I am also mindful not to pack it too full so it does not push me towards the edge when riding a chair lift.

This time I took the Zoom H3VR and my GoPro Hero 7. I put the foam that came with the H3VR on it then covered that with a Rycote dead cat cover. It did surprisingly well in the wind. The last time I went I used a Sony M10 with a furry and it got pretty blown out by the wind.

Halfway through the day I revised my set up and used a spare arm from a Joby Tripod to make a rig that allowed me to hold the H3VR and the GoPro in one hand. This yielded much better results as the H3VR can be reoriented to record upside down and then I could get it much closer to the board.

Here is a video summary of what I managed to recorded while riding. I down mixed the files from the Zoom H3VR to Stereo using the Rode Plug In. I included some selects from my first run where I held the H3VR in my hand and then one full ride (from top to bottom) with the Joby Arm Rig (pictured above).

After a full day of recording I took some time to grab some ambiences at the base of a mountain. I worked on a short film once that was set on a ski resort. It is always useful to have a capture of a scene like this.


As I mentioned in my previous blog post we stayed at an amazing place on the Oregon Coast. Being that close to the powerful Ocean Waves was an opportunity I felt I had to take advantage of. My plan was simple, I had 3 different handheld rigs so I might as well do a shoot out. See how the Zoom H3VR, the Mikro Usi's and the D100 handled such a full frequency, loud environment. Also I wanted to check out what I can do with a H3VR recording from an environment like this in post, especially in a surround environment. Maybe it would sound like you are on a giant pirate ship in 5.1 or a boat out at sea in extreme waves.

Before I set up I headed down to the beach to do some test recordings, using the Mikro Usi/M10 rig. I thought it would be smart to walk around to see what kind of sounds I can get and perspectives I could record from before I set up all the equipment. In theory this seemed like a great idea but I ran into a snag while I was testing out a particular spot. Luckily I got the whole incident on video:

After I escaped that dicey situation I had a plan formulated. I found three spots that I could set up the recorders at to represent what I thought would be a close, a mid - distant and a far perspective. Since I work in games I often have to think about what things sound like from different distances and try to emulate that effect on several different sounds. I think about it a lot. So often that I get distracted when I walk down the street because I might be thinking about that police siren sound bouncing off the buildings, or that car honk in the distance and how filtered it feels. I started recording reference sounds/videos of different locations that I felt would be helpful to have on file. I thought I would keep it in case I ever had to recreate that scene in the future. Now I just do it because I truly enjoy it.

This was my mid distance perspective. About half way up the stairs that led to the Ocean.

Below are the recordings I got during the test. I think all the rigs did pretty good. It is interesting to hear the different filtering that occurs when you switch recorders. Personally I like the Mikro Usi's and the Zoom's sound a bit better then the D100. But both were more susceptible to wind than the D100. So it is almost too close to tell, at least for me. The Zoom is probably my favorite because (these tests don't show it as YouTube can't do surround sound) of all the experiences you can create in post. It's funny, I actually found several more features in the Rode Plug In while I was bouncing out these files to post these videos. You have even more control than I thought. Anyway, enough of my rambling. Here are the videos:

Close Distance Ocean Waves

Mid - Distant Ocean Waves

Far Distance Ocean Waves

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