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Snowboarding with the Zoom H3-VR

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.




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