Audio recording and Cave diving

As a location sound recordist you can end up working anywhere in the world and on any terrain. Sab Network member Taron Allison recently found himself with the challenge of recording a complex cave dive scene. He tells us about his experience and how he approached the task at hand.
Luckily we had a few days for the cave dive scene. The divers were looking for markings in a submerged part of the cave system 30 meters underwater. 

The access was down a 40 meter boulder field set at about 60degrees, so lugging all the kit down to the waters edge was a task in itself. It was dangerous; every time someone slipped or dislodged some shale above and behind you'd freeze and wait for the rock fall to stop before moving on. It was like a bowling alley!
Once down at the water side, I set up the base station supplied by Esprit Film from the UK. This consisted of a self powered handset and comms connected to a transceiver which we floated out to the middle of the pool, and dropped it about 5 meters below the surface. There was concern that the signal might cancel out with the reflections from the cave pool sides.
With the divers almost ready, I initiated the body recorders (Zaxcom ZFR400s), time coded them, installed them in the custom pressurised cases, connected the comms system in the full face masks to the record units and let the divers go.

The audio from all the sources would give us a great vantage for the film; intimacy, clarity and respirator breathing from the face mask for close ups and for wides we could use the land base feed recorded on a regular Sound devices 633 HD at a more lo fi quality as the signal travelled through 30 meters of water.
All in all it was a brilliant experience, which I cant wait to use again on a Natural History shoot on the open seas.

Now for hiking all that equipment up that severely angled boulder filed to the cars!

By Taron Allison

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