PAPUA NEW GUINEA FIELD TRIP

1. What?
I’m off on Wednesday for a field trip for ten days or so….

 

 

2. Why?
To collect ambiences & sound effects for my current film project

 

PNG satellite photo

 

3. Where?
The ultimate destination is a village called Pidia, which is where the film is set and most of it was filmed. Pidia is on the island of Bougainville, up in the Solomon Islands. Here is a description of getting there:

– Fly Wellington to Brisbane: 3 hours 7min
– Fly Brisbane to Port Moresby: 2 hours 36min
– Fly Port Moresby to Buka Island: 1 hour 40min
– Boat trip across to Bouganville Island: 10min
– 4WD trek to Arawa: 4-5 hours with 11 river crossings (!)
– Boat trip to Pidia: 30min

We’ll be staying in the town of Arawa most of the time (which has power for charging batteries) but I will be spending at least 3 days/2 nights in Pidia Village with no access to power, hence all the batteries in my gear list below…

 

PNG MAP

 

PNG MAP

 

PNG MAP

 

4. How?

On every major field trip my field recording setup has evolved, and as this trip is more difficult and more remote than any previous trips, I am very thankful for the experience I gained from my two trips last year to Samoa, when working on THE ORATOR. I evolved my record kit a lot, especially on the second trip, removing things that were unnecessary & reducing my excess baggage charges to a mere NZ$25.

For this trip I have managed to evolve my microphone collection significantly, although I have also had to strategise packing a little differently, as the flight from Port Moresby to Buka Island is on a small plane where the carry on baggage is far more restrictive in size than a normal international flight. Accordingly I will have to check both my hard suitcase (with the big mics & stands in it) as well as check my LowePro PhotoTrekker AWII backpack and will take a smaller backpack with the breakable essentials (recorders, cameras, laptop, drives, essential mics.) Th carry on bag is also my mission critical gear – if all my checked baggage was lost I could still function… plus I need to record ambiences in both the planes and in an Australian airport for the film…. I’ve also been doing a bunch of things to make life easier

 

 

Tim’s Field Kit v3

Mic Rig
mics: 5.0 + Telinga

PNG MAP
Same backpack + mic bag as Samoa (checked in a hard case)

 

PNG MAP

 

PNG MAP

 

there will be rain

There will be rain (but it won’t be cold!)

 

Rain cover

 

Gear List:

Recorders+Preamp:
– Sound Devices 744
– Sound Devices 722
– Sound Devices 302
– Zoom H2 + Rycote

Mics:
– Sennheiser MKH8040 x2
– Sennheiser MKH8050
– Sennheiser MKH8020 with MZF Filter
– Sennheiser MKH70 x2
– DPA 4060 x2

Stands/rigs:
– Rycote + Wind Protection x5
– Telinga Dish + Universal Mount
– Slik camera tripod

Cables:
– 8m mic cable x3
– 5m mic cable x6
– 3m mic cable x3

Headphones:
– Sennheiser HD25 MkII
– Sennheiser PX200 MkII

Batteries:
– F960 6000mAh x 10
– F960 Chargers x 4
– AA x50

Cameras:
– Canon 7D with 10-22mm and 60-200mm lens
– Canon s95

Rain cover:
– Travel umbrella x2
– Hat umbrella x1
– Petrol Rain Poncho x1
– 15″ Fotosharp rain cover x3
– 30″ Fotosharp rain cover x2
– Rain cover ex Kathmandu for mic/stand bag
– LowePro PhotoTrekker AWII has rain cover built into the base
– Pelican desiccant silica gel packs x2

Backup:
– Laptop + PT10 ilok
– 3 x 250GB drives

Random stuff:
– iPod Touch
– Sun Protection
– Anti Mosquito spray
– Anti-Maleria pills
– LED Torches: head lamp & lamps built into recorder bag
– Water bottles

Books:
– A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
– Ghost Written by David Mitchell

 

5. How with what?
Tomorrow I’m going to head out & do a test recording with the full rig, so I’ll write a seperate blog post about how and why I’ve made the mic choices I have, plus I’ll post a copy of a ProTools sessions with some of the recordings for you to have a listen. The Telinga with the 8020 in it has particularly fascinating potential; the combination of focus & isolation of the dish with the extended frequency response of the 8020 should make for some unreal insect recording in PNG! The cicadas and crickets in NZ are singing on a sunny day, so presuming tomorrows forecast is right I should have some tests with it for you to check out too…

 

6. Meanwhile…

Apparently internet access is dial-up speed (remember that?) at best in Arawa, so I won’t be blogging much at all until I get back. In my absence, rather than total blog silence I wondered if you are up for a challenge? I had an idea about creating a set of FIELD RECORDING TIPS – no matter your experience, field recording is an endless learning curve & some of the best field recording tips are often simple ones – things that you may not have otherwise have thought about until you are in a certain situation. A simple example; the best field recording tip I have read recently was in issue 335 (January 2012) of THE WIRE & was written by Chris Watson, where he eloquently describes setting up his mics and then sealing his recorder in a waterproof bag, “leaving my equipment to the mercy of the ever-present mosquitos, leeches and inquisitive macaques. I retreat back down the trail for fresh mango and coffee and anticipate rewinding the results…”

So I’ll make a section for tips about recording in adverse conditions such as this – nothing ruins a beautiful field recording like the slap of the recordist fighting off maleria-carrying mosquitos!! But the same goes for weather, and of course, personal safety must always be at the top of that list… I’ll structure the tips as a timeline, since all field recording requires preparation of days & often weeks, so any tips you want to contribute can be tagged to the timeline… I know I often remember gems of ideas when I am not in front of a computer so hopefully it is a post you might contribute to while I am away…

 

 

Lastly a few beautiful glimpses of Papua New Guinea:

 

 

 

 

12 Responses to PAPUA NEW GUINEA FIELD TRIP

  1. Stephen Saldanha says:

    Beware of the “Ball Cutter” fish with human like teeth that go after men’s nuts.

    • tim says:

      sounds like someones been watching Animal Planet ;)

      • Stephen Saldanha says:

        Haha have a safe trip, sounds like its going to be a very tiring one.

        btw could I ask why you’ve blocked me on twitter :(

        • tim says:

          blocked? thats probably either due to one of those web apps that removes people based on certain criteria or u said something i found totally offensive :)
          life is like that sometimes….

  2. Have nice and succesful trip, and take care!

  3. Tim,

    Do your rycotes and stands go into that big duffle and get checked? Is that the infamous baseball bag? And what is the hard case you refer to?

    Thanks!
    Michael

  4. Pingback: Music of Sound » Ambiences for Film

  5. Very nice to me you are reading. Tim sends greetings.Thanks

  6. Great read! Thanks for posting and will be back to see how your PNG recording mission turned out.

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