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Field recording mistakes

Field Recording Mistakes

Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there. We get so excited about our field recording session that we forget some essential preparation steps. But don’t worry, I’m here to share some of my field recording mistakes I made and what I learned from them.

In this blog post, I’ll give you the lowdown on how to avoid these blunders and save you from ruining your recordings, losing or breaking expensive equipment, and missing out on incredible recording opportunities. So, buckle up and get ready for some tips and tricks that will take your field recording game to the next level.

I’ll break down this post into three parts – Preparation, Recording in the Field, and Post-production Editing. After reading this, you’ll be a field recording pro, ready to tackle any challenge that comes your way. Let’s do this!

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Let’s face it, organizing and preparing for a field recording session can be a hassle. Who has time to make a checklist, right? Well, let me tell you, my friend, I’ve learned the hard way that not having a checklist or designated area for all of your gear can be a disaster waiting to happen.

I used to think I was good at remembering everything, but boy was I wrong. I can’t tell you how many times I drove for hours, walked to a remote location, and set up all my equipment only to find out I forgot the most important thing of all – the batteries! Or worse, forgetting the recorder itself.

To avoid these embarrassing moments, I’ve learned to be more organized. I know it sounds boring, but a simple checklist can save you from a lot of headaches. Make a list of everything you need for your recording session, and double-check it before leaving your house.

If you’re like me and can’t seem to remember everything, only bring what you need for that day. And before you head out, take the time to physically organize your equipment and check it off your list. Trust me, your future self will thank you for it!

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Equipment and what to buy

Have you ever found yourself lost in a sea of microphone options when trying to decide what gear to invest in for your field recording? I know I have. With so many microphones and recorders on the market, it’s hard to know which one is right for the job. That’s why I’m here to help.

Before you start shopping, it’s important to understand the basics. Polar patterns are essential for selecting the right microphone for your recording. You don’t want to end up with a microphone that doesn’t pick up the sounds you want to record. So take the time to research and learn about polar patterns and different recording techniques.

Once you have a good understanding of microphones, it’s time to start thinking about the additional gear you will need. Wind protection is a must-have for outdoor recordings, but many microphone manufacturers only provide a foam cover as standard. That’s why I always check the Rycote or Cinela website for professional wind protection options for the microphone I’m interested in. And if I can’t find anything, I search Amazon, B&H, Trew Audio, Gotham Sound or Thomann for alternative options.

Investing in the right equipment is crucial for capturing high-quality sound recordings, but it can also be overwhelming. Don’t hesitate to reach out to others in the field recording community for advice and recommendations. Remember, it’s better to do your research and invest in the right gear than to regret a poor recording due to inadequate equipment.

Field Recording Mistakes and how to avoid them

Do it yourself or not

It can be tempting to cut corners and try to save a few bucks by making your own windshields and accessories, but trust me when I say that it’s not worth it. I’ve made that mistake before and ended up wasting time, money, and resources on a DIY project that didn’t work as well as the high-quality version specifically designed for my microphone.

The same goes for other accessories like XLR cables, connectors and SD cards. It’s important to invest in high-quality equipment that won’t let you down in the field. Don’t let a cheap cable or card ruin a great recording opportunity.

And speaking of SD cards, it’s crucial to check your recorder’s specifications before purchasing one. If you want to use a fast 64 GB card for longer recordings, make sure your recorder can handle it. Cheaper field recorders often have limitations on the size and speed of SD cards they can use. Always double-check to avoid any mishaps in the field.

Field Recording Mistakes & how to avoid them

In The Field Recording Mistakes

Ah, the frustration of running out of storage space during a recording session. It has happened to me, and I bet it has happened to you too. When you’re in the field, there’s nothing worse than finding out that the card is full or the battery is dead. It can ruin a recording and possibly an entire day of work.

To prevent this from happening, make sure to check the storage capacity of your SD cards before heading out. If you plan to record for an extended period of time, bring extra cards or an external hard drive. Also, don’t forget to charge your batteries and bring spares just in case.

Another mistake to avoid is forgetting to check your recording settings. Make sure you choose the correct format and sampling rate for your project. It’s easy to accidentally switch to a different setting, resulting in a lower quality recording. Double-check your settings before hitting the record button.

And one last thing, always keep an eye and ear out for unwanted noise or interference in the recording. It’s easy to forget to check the surroundings, but a simple mistake like this can ruin an otherwise perfect recording.

Field Recording Mistakes & how to avoid them


Now let’s talk about the fashion police of field recording: clothing. You might not think that what you wear matters when it comes to audio, but trust me, it does. That noisy jacket or those clunky zippers can ruin your pristine recordings faster than you can say “oops”.

Picture this: I once spent hours hiking through the wilderness to capture the perfect nature sounds, only to realize that the jacket I was wearing sounded like a herd of elephants running through the forest. Lesson learned!

So, how can you avoid having your outfit steal the show in your recordings? First, choose clothing that makes minimal noise. Skip the swishy track pants and opt for quieter materials. Second, take a moment to listen to yourself before hitting record. If you can hear rustling or clicking, try adjusting your clothing or securing any noisy accessories with tape.

Remember, your goal is to capture the sounds of your environment, not your wardrobe malfunctions. Happy recording!

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We’ve all been there. You’re out in the field, ready to capture some amazing sounds, and suddenly a stranger appears out of nowhere to strike up a conversation. Before you know it, you’re deep into a discussion about life, the universe, and everything, and you’ve completely missed the perfect recording opportunity.

In my case, it was a friendly chat about travel and sound recording that cost me dearly. I left my bag behind and lost some valuable equipment, including two pairs of omnidirectional mics, a contact mic, a hydrophone, and the LOM Priezor. That conversation was more expensive than a plane ticket to Asia!

So how can you prevent these distractions from ruining your recordings? One solution is to find a quiet location with fewer people around. Look for empty corridors, small side streets, or other hidden spots where you can capture great sounds without attracting too much attention.

If you do end up in a conversation, try to keep it brief and to the point. Let people know that you’re busy recording sounds, but do it with a smile so you don’t come across as suspicious.

Another trick is to use signs to draw attention to your recording session. You can create a “recording in progress” sign or a “do not disturb” sign to let people know that you’re hard at work.

So remember, distractions can be costly. Be prepared, be alert, and keep your eyes and ears open for those perfect recording opportunities. And if you do get distracted, just smile and move on. After all, there’s always another sound waiting to be captured!

Editing and post production

When I first started editing my field recordings, I quickly realized that I had made a huge mistake – I had no idea how to properly name my files. I mean, come on, who wants to spend hours sorting through recordings named “recording1”, “recording2”, and so on? Lesson learned: never underestimate the power of metadata!

If you’re like me and want to save yourself from hours of tedious file-naming, take the time to learn about metadata. Trust me, it’s worth it.
But editing your field recordings is more than just file-naming. It’s about bringing your recordings to life and telling a story. That’s why I always make sure to include a vocal slate at the beginning or end of my recordings, so I never forget where I was when I made the recording. And if I’m feeling extra organized, I’ll take a quick photo or video to help jog my memory.

And let’s not forget about the importance of post-production editing. This is where the magic happens. Whether it’s cutting out unwanted noise, adjusting levels, or adding effects, post-production is where you can truly bring your recordings to life. So don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. Just remember to save your original recordings in case you want to start over!

In the end, editing and post-production can be time-consuming, but it’s worth it when you hear your final product. So, take your time, stay organized, and have fun with it!

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Field Recording As A Business

Libby and I are living proof that you can turn your passion for field recording into a full-time gig! We’re not just dabbling in it, we’re making a living out of it! If you’re ready to take your skills to the next level, then you gotta check out our video on how to become a field recordist. It’s packed with helpful tips and tricks that we’ve picked up along the way. Whether you’re an experienced pro or a curious newbie, there’s something here for everyone. So, let’s go out there and capture some epic sounds!

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About Us

Who would have thought a handy sound recorder in Cambodia would lead us here?

Hi there we’re Marcel and Libby and every sound on this site has been recorded by us. For nearly 7 years, we’ve been traveling around the world recording unique sounds for others to use! 

If you’re curious and want to learn more about our journey traveling full-time as sound recordists you can read on here or on CNN Travel.

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