The sounds you collect for your piece will make it special. Try to record “action” in your environments. You want sounds of “life happening” within the location you’re recording.
Tips for getting good sound…
1) Record a lot of sound. Most say you will use about 2% of what you record. Keep the recorder going.
2) Get close to what you record. In general, try to get close to the action. This may require you knelling down beside a table, getting close to the stage, putting the mic right next to a TV playing in the room, etc.
3) Record at -6 db. Keep an eye on those numbers in front of the machine. Try for -6 (note…on the new machines -6 looks like 6) Anything in the red will not work for your project. It is best to be a little low (in the green) than a little high (in the red). Try not to be adjusting the sound levels all the time…some sounds will be louder, some more quiet, that’s ok.
4) Do a “sound survey” of the room/event right away. What are the cool sounds making up this place. Think about everything from people greeting one another as they walk the door, to welcome messages from a speaker, to background music, etc.
5) When possible, record one sound at a time. This is not always possible, but sometimes you can record one sound at a time. For example, you might wish to record the background conversation in a room. Record this separately and place it on its own track. If you want to conduct an interview interview with a person who is part of the group, ask the person to go with you to a quiet place and ask your question. You can mix the sounds together later in editing if you would like.
6) Work together. Really help one another identify and record sounds. Some of you will hear things others will not–help one another with that sound survey.
7) Be sure to record at least a few minutes of just general room sound. Stand somewhere where it sounds good in the headphones and hold up the mic to get a few minutes of background sound. It’s likely to get a few of these kinds of tracks recorded.
Be sure your team is quiet during the recording. Lots of good recordings are ruined by hearing the person doing the recording.
9) It’s important enough to say twice–record lots of stuff. Always good to have too much “tape” instead of too little.
10) Be respectful, but don’t be afraid to be intrusive. Always ask for permission, but don’t be afraid to move close to the action, whatever that action might be.
11) Spend time in the place…really good sounds don’t always happen right away. If you’re recording an event, get to the event early. Even things like “test, test, test” can sound good as you construct your story.