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    The Quantum Effect of Field-Recording


    (Simul-post to http://www.reddit.com/r/fieldrecording)

    Much like Quantum Physics, it very often occurs to me that the Universe seems to 'know' when it is being watched or recorded. I realize this is an oversimplification given that it is typically only Quantum particles that exhibit this behaviour, but consider how many times things kinda like this happen to you:

    -Strive to record any bird, and it stops the second the record button is pressed (This happens in the studio as well during soundcheck. The only time you want someone to make noise, they cease)

    -Start recording a bird and instead get AWESOME car/road/environment noises, with bird silent, or just washed out.

    -Conversely, go record some hot cars, and suddenly the same damn birds are insanely loud (mixed with hot cars)

    -Hiding in the forest waiting; Recorder running for hours, want to be safe and change battery pack... BANG: The elusive wildlife is in full audio splendour, but the machine isn't running. (Yes, I have tried this with two machines but still varying results)

    -Frogs are particularly bad for this in my experience: I'm no where near them, but just about the time I am thinking of pressing record, they go silent. Last time this happened, I figured they heard me coming, so I left the recorder going for 8 straight hours after I went to bed... Nothing.

    The above are not my only examples, just recent ones.

    I have come to the conclusion that no matter what, hitting the record button changes the Universe, like trying to track photons in a known position of space and time.

    I will point out, I often record environments where I have no agenda and record whatever happens, and this not only works well, but you often end up capturing things you would NEVER have seeked out.
    Not all sound capture can happen under these circumstances however, but the serendipity of it does tend to work wonderfully.

    Perhaps that's the only way the Universe WANTS to be remembered.

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    Hugely recognizable phenomenon. So I put my recorder down and let cosmos do her job.
    Every time I plan a recording, something undesirable happens.
    If the Quantum Effect exists, and that is what the current physics says, record with love and no goal. wink

    To hear, you first have to listen
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    I agree entirely with the clarity of that principle, and is often my normal mode. However, when one is trying to get work done on a specific thing it is sometimes necessary to persevere and get what you need.

    Even when thwarted on an initial idea, I always record with love and accept what may come.

    Lastly, I don't remember EVER deleting a recording I made regardless of original intention. All recordings have some use in a certain time and place no matter how it sounded originally...

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    So far the case has been present for the poor but perseveering sound recorder that gets his efforts constantly sabotaged by the 'evil' or 'naughty' universe.

    I present a different case. The universe is watching alright. It knows when it is being recorded. But rather than intentionally sabotaging your recordings, maybe the universe is just a bit shy.
    A case of the well known and documented 'I can't do it with you watching' effect. smile

    I want to believe.
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    Sounds like a valid theory to me. Will incorporate if only I can figure out just how much room at the sound-urinal I need to allow for

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    Evil and Naughty are way too strong. I would never try to attribute such emotions to the problem. More so the unpredictable situation of capturing nature. Obviously nature is not going to cooperate just because we want a nice recording.

    However I do enjoy the idea you bring up, but I think it is even as we jest, deeper than comedy or the mundane. We are being whimsical but also serious at the same time, and so is nature

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    AlienXXX wrote:

    A case of the well known and documented 'I can't do it with you watching' effect. smile


    I have that problem in public toilets smile

    never mind the botox zagi2
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    zagi2 wrote:
    AlienXXX wrote:

    A case of the well known and documented 'I can't do it with you watching' effect. smile


    I have that problem in public toilets smile

    I do not have any: http://freesound.org/people/klankbeeld/sounds/140886/

    To hear, you first have to listen
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    Yes, it's almost a LAW that if you set a mics at an isolated, distant spot of any beach or forest, a group of people will stop right there for a chat, out of the blue. Yes, try it if you survive a shipwreck and find yourself astray on a deserted island. Actually, I can't understand why military survival kits don't include a digital recorder.

    Particularly sensitive to mic presence are kids, they can sense a recorder at huge distances! With no known exception, regardless of kid age and time of day, they will run straight to your mic to start crying, running and jumping by its side (which is overkill, since you don't need much to ruin a recording session, low talk is more than enough). I guess that tale about the Piper of Hamelin should be renamed to 'The digital recordist and the kids' or similar, geez..

    D

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    lonemonk wrote:
    ...
    Perhaps that's the only way the Universe WANTS to be remembered.

    And that was effectively the end of all speculative thinking on planet Earth.
    You put that in words better than I - or anyone - could have used. smile

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    This post amuses me a lot smile

    What about wind? Surely those sounds ruining a perfectly nice recording are not coincidental!?!?

    - bram

    Admin | Support | Freesound Benevolent Dictator For Life | ...
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    Also some of the most interesting sound sources are often in areas flooded with some very uninteresting noise.

    Try to record at night in the city, everyone thinks you're a burglar. [Stranger] suspiciously wandering around, stoping for unknown reason an just staying still and silent. It's quite dangerous hobby I can tell you.

    My friend had rented a place for his studio (in a project studio sense). The day he finished his acoustic panels (lot of work) massive construction in the building next to his place begins. Facing about a year of pneumatic hammers and drilling sounds through the wall he fled to another space... peaceful so far wink.

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    Bram wrote:
    This post amuses me a lot smile

    What about wind? Surely those sounds ruining a perfectly nice recording are not coincidental!?!?

    - bram

    You mean 'wind' like in breeze or storm or 'the sudden need to break wind' when you start recording.
    No joke, people: I know of at least one recording that was interrupted by a fart from the recorder. - But user still posted to Freesound anyway grin
    (Yess... I can go and look it up if people doubt what I am saying...)

    I want to believe.
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    matucha wrote:
    ....Try to record at night in the city, everyone thinks you're a burglar. [Stranger] suspiciously wandering around, stoping for unknown reason an just staying still and silent. It's quite dangerous hobby I can tell you.

    Dangerous indeed; I get questioned recording trains at stations (especially at night), and the airport screeners are often overly interested in the rigs they xray within my carry-on.

    I've never had my gear confiscated, but I ALWAYS put some music on my SD card so that when airport/border peeps want the machine demonstrated, I play it for them and say it is an MP3 player... I make sure it is classical, NOT the anti-authoritarian music I love to perform in my spare time.

    (PS: It's almost always Bach and performed by Glenn Gould)

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    Bram wrote:
    This post amuses me a lot smile

    What about wind? Surely those sounds ruining a perfectly nice recording are not coincidental!?!?

    - bram

    Don't get me started about wind bram! A perfect example of my original principle... Try to record ANYTHING, and suddenly there is wind. Wind ruins all recordings that don't include the wind.

    Wind is the single condition that even excellent microphones hate! Unless one picks a sweet-spot where wind noise can be captured obliquely, and not across the capsule...

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    Blimp makes wind and air currents a non-issue in normal conditions. It introduces some resonance/combfiltering, slight loss of HF and has no effect on farts what so ever.

    It's very comfortable to take out the air currents out of the equation when positioning the mic. And if there is some leak, izotope rx is able to "transparently" delete the thumps.

    I have no wind protection for my D50 and it makes every air current painfully obvious... even in places you'd normaly thought the air doesn't move considerably. That can ruin takes, though as long as it doesn't clip and it's not extreme it still can be repaired in the post. Unfortunatelly any kind of wind protection lowers the stealth factor considerably. People are used to se various gizmos (phones, tablets), but not many of them put hairy stuff on it wink.

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    Ever since I started a few years back I decided not to fight wind and, instead, to become a friend with it. So if my windscreens are good wnough to protect the mics, I keep recording, then upload. If it's too strong I just put the rig back in the bag, try not to pay any atention to sounds, and take pictures. I have even a pack made with this approach in mind ( http://www.freesound.org/people/dobroide/packs/1163/ ). I love wind, actually!

    D

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    lonemonk, yep, the same phenomenon here, but depends on what I do want to record. And it can't be explained by cognitive biases (can be measured). But to be mor eprecise, it's like "out of phase" relationship, which means you can tune into the phase. States of coherence.

    As for Bram's comment - it's called quantum entanglement on the macro scale.

    p.s.: what is the relationship between space and time? Well - less than 170dB. So imagine a noise that is packed in 32bit sound (at 24bit you can't get more than 144dB), 170dB below the floor. For example, in programming, 180dB below the floor noise is used, to remove certain (random) behaviors.

    http://planetaziemia.net - independent research on sound and consciousness
    http://conscious-sound.bandcamp.com - best sounds for extraordinary inner experiences
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    I like this post a lot. I'm quite young in field recording but I already have chalked up more experiences of this than I have sound effects.

    Went to record the dust cart outside my wife's house, it having arived the previous week at between six and eight so I was sure of my time.

    I arived at about quarter to six, set up and started rolling. The sound of the kids getting ready for school was far more audible out the window than I thought it would be. Then, to top it all off, the bin men didn't show up until I'd finally given up and gone inside at close to 10Am..

    I posted in another thread about the two hour recording of the traffic lights outside my house that was unusable because of the people talking to me and, much more so, the music blaring from cars. That was a frustrating waste of time.

    Tried to record a music box and a dog started up barking next door.

    Turned my recorder off whereupon horns started honking, emergency service vehicles started passing etc etc. Wind noise, or the sound of air-conditioning systems has ruined many an otherwise good take. The worst one of those was when I was lucky enough to get permition to record an MRI scanner from the observation room. I put the mic at the vent and there was wind blowing through from the air conditioning system. I put on my wind protection, a Rycote Wind jammer and then had to rush off to be scanned. The worst of the wind was removed but there was still a constant low rumble and, again, the sound was unusable.

    I could go on but I've saved the best til last. We never get decent thunder storms in Britain or, if we do, I'm not around when they happen. It's usually just three or four claps of thunder, that is if you're lucky, if not it's just rumbles, and it's all done. Well this was a proper storm with cannonades of thunder that you could feel as well as hear and I had my kit ready. I set it up - mic, stand, recorder, wind protection, all pointing at the open window. Got some great claps of thunder. the one thing I didn't have with me was my headphones for monitoring. A while into the recording, I discretely turned up the volume so that I could just about hear it to check all was well. It most definitely was not. There was this awful crackling coming from the speaker, feedback and all kinds of weird and wonderful decidely unnatural noises. I panicked. At first I thought my precautions had been inadequate, water had got into the mic and my equipment was ruined. I checked everything thoroughly and could find no water on anything and no loose connections. Then my batteries began to die. I changed them only to find that my other two sets hadn't charged as they should have. I remembered, belatedly, that I had a mains lead. Not really worried about the possibility of ground hum on the recording as it had become more about identifying the problem and checking that over a grand's worth of equipment hadn't just been written off, I plugged it in and started recording. Fortunately there were no crunching screeching noises at least, though of course, by this time, the storm had dwindled to a steady rain, which my levels were too low to capture satisfactorally.

    Incidentally, I think the noises were because of dud batteries as they haven't worked since.

    So yes the universe can definitely be difficult when it comes to recordings.

    Follow me @JustinMac_84 for updates on my various projects, what I'll be posting to Freesound and various other goodness.
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    Your theory is valid, really. I agree. But I got the solution when a storm arrives. The wind. Wind is not a continous phenomenon, it comes in cycles. Many things in nature comes in periods of time. I mean... one minute, two, or the like. When I´m trying to capture sound I just wait. Sure It will be another opportunity to make the capture. Just wait.

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