This week was our last audio based week. We learned more in-depth about microphones and their polar patterns. We also learnt about sound waves and its characteristics, followed by an example which will all be explained below.

In our last theory lesson, we firstly talked about sound waves. Sound waves is when there are vibrations created by an object that causes the air to vibrate around it, which causes the eardrum in the human ear to vibrate, which the brain interprets as sound. We have learned that there were 2 types of waves, transverse and longitudinal. Transverse is when the vibrations are at right angles to its movement, longitudinal is when the vibrations are the same direction to its movement. As we know from physics, we re-capped on what we should know about sound waves. There were 3 things within a sound wave: Amplitude, Wavelength and Frequency. Amplitude is the height between the middle line and the peak of the wave. Wavelength is the distance between one point of a wave and the next same point of a wave. Frequency, is the number of waves per second. Because we re-capped on frequency, we watched/listened a video which shows the frequency from 0 all the way to 20,000, which is supposedly, to what humans can hear. It was easy for everyone in the class to hear the lower frequencies, but once it went to around 12,000Hz and 13,000Hz, some people struggled to hear, such as myself. Although, other people were able to hear to 16,000 or a bit more which was quite impressive.

After this talk, we then went onto the main focus of this week, which was about microphones and to record voices in different locations. We looked at a picture of an office as our example. We had to look at the problems of recording in an office and think about the ways of doing an interview using the best tools. The most common problem in this case was mostly the ambient sound. There are loads of sounds in an office, which you don’t want to be recorded, so the best ways of avoiding that is to use a shotgun microphone if it’s a one-on-one interview, so that all the sounds can be cancelled. If it is multiple people who are being interviewed, a lapel microphone would be good, so that everyone’s voice can be clearly heard individually, without capting too much ambient sound. The other solution to this, is to simply do the interview in a quieter location within the office, to avoid the sound of people talking and printers.

We had 2 practicals again , like last week. The first one was to record in 3 different location using 4 different microphones. The first location was in an interior open space. We recorded Chantal’s voice by saying what type of microphone and in which location it was. The main focus of this task was to find out which of the microphones used, was the best to use for a particular location. In this location strangely, I have found out, that the shotgun was not as good because it picked up quite a bit of the background noise, which was clearly not meant to happen. The other microphones did not pick as much of the noise as the shotgun. The problem to this could have been that it was not positioned very well. Onto the next location which was an interior closed space, it was pretty much the same result as last time. For the exterior location, the shotgun did better this time, we were able to hear Chantal’s voice very clearly. The zoom recorder, when listening to it, had some wind noises as Chantal was speaking, which was really disturbing. This showed that it wouldn’t be too good to use in a location outside. In conclusion, the dynamic, zoom and lapel microphone were all 3 effective in the interior locations but not the shotgun. Although, for the outside, it was the opposite way, the shotgun was the most effective, and not the others.

The last practical of this week which we had was to do interviews using 3 locations in similar circumstances as the previous practical which was explained below. In this practical, although camera shots were involved in this task, it was still mainly focused on the audio. We had to do an interview within members of our group using 2 specific microphones, the lapel and shotgun microphones. In our first location, we struggled with the filming part because of the light. We were not positioned in the direction of the light which caused it to appear dark when watching. Once we did the recordings, the clarity of my voice with the shotgun microphone was very clear, although there was background noise which was clearly not right. With the Lapel microphone, it did the complete opposite. There was barely any ambient sound, but the voice wasn’t as loud as it should have been.

(Rest of reflection will be done next week once the editing of the 2 other interviews are finished)