A few weeks ago I abducted my good friend Ryan (check out his Twitter here) and the ever-patient Nik and went for a wander in the woods to capture some sfx and ambience for some future projects I’m working on. I’ve yet to invest in some more flexible location recording equipment but have had good results with the Zoom portable recorders in the past, even with their built-in microphones, although I wish I could have found the handy hand-holding adapter section!
Without some decent foley facilities available at home or work, I first wanted to try and capture some different footstep sounds, and experiment with their use for a few (basic) game projects I’ve started in Unity and Unreal. The Zoom was surprisingly adept at capturing these, and we found that walking in a semi-circle and following with the recorder worked quite well. We tried a selection of surfaces including gravel path, wet mud and undergrowth to get a good selection, although there are still plenty missing from my ‘footstep’ library to record in the future.
We also spent some time recording a selection of twig, branch and log sound effects including snapping and breaking sounds, hitting branches against trees, throwing them into puddles and so forth, with some more successful (and messier!) than others.
We ended up with around 50 minutes of audio which Nik kindly kept track of by naming each of the takes, some personal favourites include ‘Mindless Branch Snapping 1’ and ‘Squidgy Steps Nik’ which were all quickly added to my audio library. I’m going to be experimenting with the Zoom recorders again soon although hopefully with the addition of some other external condenser microphones and definitely the hand-holding attachment! I keep one nearby at all times now, as I’m always hearing little sounds that may one day be very useful.