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No pain, no gain

Recording sound effects for Animal Farm library

Recording sound effects for Animal Farm library

Recording sound effects can be a dangerous game as Frank Bry nicely put it in the A Sound Effect interview on how to record thunderstorms. And Pasi Pitkanen knows something about it, as well, recording his latest Footstep Two SFX library.

Now, we also have a first-hand story to tell :)

Recently we were recording animal sounds featured in our fresh released library Animal Farm. We had to visit many farms, barns and hen coops, as well as open fields in order to capture bucolic ambiences and agricultural activities. The recordings were going really well, with plenty of interesting sessions of cute floppy sheep, goats, proud Arabian horses, lovely ducks, merry farmers working in the field and so on.

Until we turned to record cows.

We found the farmer, who kindly drove us to his farm (more than an hour’s drive). By the time we arrived the cows welcomed us warmly. Everything seemed just perfect. It all looked like we’d leave with great material in our sound cards. I mean, think about it, we were recording at 7 p.m, in a fantastic scenery, away from city noises, with rich cow voices, indeed, echoing beautifully in the air.

Sound Ex Machina - Animal Farm [Teaser] from sound ex machina on Vimeo.

As the dark fell, the session ended and happy we all drove back home, thinking how exciting moments we have the chance to live through what we do for a living. A truly unprecedented experience in an unusual job, if nothing else.

And that’s the point our drama begins.

Do you know flea? Not the bass guitarist from Red Hot Chili Peppers. The parasite. We brought several dozens of them back home, without knowing it and within minutes our situation looked like this:

...and a few hours later something like this:

The fleas were all over our places and our bodies were full of bites. Later on we realized that some of them had nested also in the windshields we used that day.

The result: Seven days exiled from our homes, with a couple of chemical disinfestation sessions taking place and our wives on the edge of a nervous breakdown :-) Our only consolation was that the sounds we managed to capture were great!

Hope this story does not act as a disincentive factor for your recordings – it will certainly not avert us from doing it again, if needed. Just be aware of the dangers lying hidden and take the necessary precautions before taking any action. Safety is the first priority no matter what ;-)