Car FX, Car chases… & submarines

I spent most of this afternoon recording car FX with a V8 Valiant Charger being used in a film that I’ll be doing post on later in the year & meanwhile had a revelation – I need a six track recorder! Stereo just doesnt cut it any more…. I went & visited the set last night & sat with the production sound recordist (Ken Saville) & during the meal break we got to discussing vehicle recording and when I mentioned I only had a 722 stereo recorder but always like to record 4 tracks for car interiors (engine, exhaust & stereo interior) & he promptly volunteered to loan me his Fostex PD6, which he wasn’t using on set. Of course I jumped at the chance!

I ended up recording 5 tracks for the car: tracks 1&2 were my Sanken CSS5 stereo shotgun interior, track 3 was a dynamic mic in the engine bay and track 4 was a dynamic on the exhaust. I plugged my Sennhesier MKH70 into my 722 and synced the two machines together with a verbal ID and a finger click and left both machines rolling the entire time. When I was onboard I used the MKH70 out the window to get tyre sounds & objects passing by – there is a very distinctive bridge in the film, so it as great to capture the whoop whoop as we crossed it. But as soon as we stopped I could jump out with the 722 & MKH70 & record exterior FX (passbys, start/aways, up/approaches etc) and meanwhile left the PD6 still recording interiors… It will be weird to be able to play in sync an onboard & an away – two perspectives in sync! So anyway, after such fun I realised I ‘need’ a six track recorder, but i just need technology to catch up with my expectation/budget ratio!

After I got back from recording the car today I got into a rant with the picture editor his assistant about great car chases from films past & these three instantly came to mind:

Steve McQueen in Bullitt

The French Connection

& the ultimate Mini chase in The Italian Job

I must watch those three movies on DVD some time soon, with the sound cranked up!

And the submarine? Well I didnt get to go in one but The Wire blog has a great set of links worth a visit (here) about a project by sonic anthropologist Stefan Helmreich who went on a mission in The Alvin, a three-person submersible…. hmmmm I’m not sure what would be more claustraphobic, a big submarine or a small one! Beautiful sounds though!

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