Sound Recordist: Capturing Galloping Arabian Horses in Challenging Environments

In the exhilarating world of film production, sound recordists face unique challenges when tasked with capturing audio in demanding circumstances. This is a case study from Taron Allison, an esteemed sound recordist and proud member of The Sab Network. On a shoot set in the dynamic surroundings of an international race event, Taron found himself confronted with the need to audibly capture the graceful galloping of Arabian horses amidst a cacophony of noise from helicopters, tracking vehicles, and drones. In this blog post, Taron dives into his innovative solution: the Horse Body Recorder!

The Birth of an Idea

"At the start of March, during our discussions about the audio requirements for riders in the race, I quickly realised that the location conditions called for a different approach. Instead of relying on traditional methods, I decided to explore the use of spot sound effects and wild track recording to reconstruct the soundscape during post-production. This led me to the development of a unique piece of equipment: the Horse Body Recorder. I set out to capture pristine audio amidst the challenging race environment.

Audio Experimentation

With limited resources and a keen understanding of the audio dynamics involved, I began by rigging radio mics and lav mics around the stirrups. However, this setup resulted in unwanted saddle noise and interference. I turned to my trusty Sanken Cub 01, typically reserved for capturing vehicle sounds.

Next, I had to determine the optimal placement for the microphone and find a way to windproof it. Fortunately, I had a tin lid that served as the perfect mounting platform. Using black tack and gaffa tape, I securely attached the Cub 01 to the lid and added a Rycote windscreen to create a barrier against wind noise. With the setup complete, I placed the tin lid against the underside of the horse and secured it through the saddle straps.

To transmit the audio back to me, I connected the Cub 01 to a phantom power radio transmitter cable. The cable was led under the saddle and transmitted the recorded gallop sounds to a receiver in my 4x4 vehicle, allowing me to capture the audio from a 100m range in the Saudi desert.

Successful Solution

The Horse Body Recorder proved to be a remarkable solution for capturing the sounds of galloping Arabian horses in a challenging environment. Through experimentation and a combination of unconventional techniques, we overcame the noise pollution from helicopters, tracking vehicles, and drones, and capture the pure essence of the horses' galloping."

Listen to the final result in the video below. 
This experience highlights the ingenuity and resourcefulness that sound recordists bring to their craft. We love listening to the tales and journeys of our members who contribute to the success of diverse and exciting productions. Stay tuned for more tales from the world of sound recording!

View Taron Allison's profile here.

By Taron Allison

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