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Find me! Call DAP at 214.350.7678 or email rene@dallasaudiopost.com. Also check out echocollectivefx.com for custom sfx, and tonebenders.net for my podcast.

Tuesday, June 7

west texas gun recording pt 2-recording day

In part 1 of this little series I went over the background and prep, and in this part I'll go over how the day of the record went.

The day before the shoot I had tested and packed everything up, and I drove to Lubbock on a Saturday morning. It's about a 5 hour drive from DFW, and after leaving at 8:30 am, I arrived at my destination around 1:30, with sunset due at 8:15 pm. When I met up with my gun-toting friends I was informed that the site that we had so carefully scouted was in the process of being bulldozed.


Time for plan B, and we had to scramble. We had access to a hunting lease about an hour outside of town, but it was relatively unscouted. It was a couple hundred acres of dry plains wilderness. With no alternatives we loaded up and headed out. Upon arrival we found another group of people out on the lease, camping and chilling out. We informed them of our intent and started scouting.

Scouting mostly consisted of me walking around and clapping. Most of the lease was pretty flat sounding, but I eventually landed in the spot you see in the photos and video. This was the most heavily wooded area, and really the only place with any notable echo at all, which was the primary thing I was looking for.

With our location set, I went about setting up the mics while the boys prepped the weapons. It was closing in on 6pm at this point.

My setup was:

-COS11 lav on the shooter
-Senn421 and Schoeps CMC6Mk4 for punch
-Rode Nt5 pair and AT4050 pair for verb
-I fried my Sony D50 the week before, so I brought a Zoom H4n for more verb


NT5s in ORTF

Schoeps CMC6 MK41

AT 4050s distant

Senn 421

Senn 416

Setup ran until about 6:30 pm, which meant I was going to lose daylight fast. I had the lav on a lanyard, which we used to quickly change out between the guys shooting and I told them all that priority was variety. I had each shooter try to vary his angle and target, and after one clip or so I was moving on to the next gun.

After the first test shoot I realized that one of my Nt5s was not passing signal. I did a quick look to make sure that my cable was connected and my channel was set properly, but after nothing obvioius reared its head I had to make the call to just roll with the one mic and get what I could get given the time that I had available. If we had gotten there an hour earlier I would have stopped it all down to troubleshoot, but I didn't feel I had the luxury of time. After the fact I discovered that the mic/line switch on the mixer had settled into a halfway point that killed the channel, so while it would have been an easy fix with a little more time I felt like I had to make a call and roll with it. I'm still not sure if that was the right call or not given what the issue ended up being.

On top of setting and monitoring everything I was also having to shoot the vid with the iphone, since the other guys were spending all of their time prepping and loading guns.

Here's the mic comparison of the different perspectives on a couple of different guns:

west texas gun shoot-mic comparisons from rene coronado on Vimeo.

After we had exhausted our weaponry, the other people at the lease pulled up in their 4-wheelers and offered to let my guys shoot the guns that they had on them as well. This netted us a .357 magnum and a 9mm high point rifle that we wouldn't have gotten otherwise, so that ended up being a really nice thing from what could have been a crappy situation.

As we were packing up, I went to the H4n and facepalmed as I looked and saw that it was set on line input mode and had recorded nothing. I really needed an intern out on this thing.

All in all, we shot 12 guns in about an hour and were packed up and heading out as dusk set in at 8:15.

Here's a comp of all of the guns we shot:

West Texas Gun Shoot 2011 from rene coronado on Vimeo.

In part 3 I'll discuss some of the things that I'd do differently and reiterate some of the things that really worked well.


Michael Maroussas said...

Awesome posts Rene - man, COS11 sales will be going up after that! They sound so cool! Although I agree with the necessity of capturing the sound within it's space as well, that COS11 sound by itself has that real tight kick that is so necessary for gun sounds in a lot of films these days (well, the ones I work on anyway); definitely gonna be checking them out.
Couple of questions: what about the Schoeps and the 421 - how did they turn out? Don't think they were in the vids?
Secondly, have you experimented at all with processing the gunshots with either of the new tape emulation plugins (waves mpx or ua's Studer plug) in order to perhaps get nagra-esque benefits? - re: obviously nagras are well documented as being great for capturing sharp transients.

Rene said...


I'll get into what went on with those mics in part 3, but suffice it to say I didn't get anything really impressive out of either mic, partially due to my own actions.

processing will also be addressed in part 3. I don't have a tape emulator, but I did use a plug that has a pretty analog sound.