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Is Silence Going Extinct?


Bob Marts
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Silence never existed. Except in space where there are no gas molecules to vibrate and create sound in the first place. :)

In space, no one can hear you scream.

It was a good article. It reminded me of a time when I was driving to Trona Pinnacles in the Mohave Desert for a commercial. I took the back way, and there were no cars or people or houses. Nothing. I pulled over to... ummm... smell the roses, and was shocked by the quiet. Suddenly I heard a fly buzzing, looked over, and noticed it must have been almost 20ft away, but sounded so loud! I stayed a while, marvelling in the silence. Coincidentally, I get to the shoot and they had rented an Arri 435. Production told me to play it cool, because they didn't want to let the clients know it was a problem. But it was. We got the one line wild a few times afterwards, and the commercial sounded fine. Big national Bud Light campaign. It's amazing where they choose to save a few bucks.

Robert

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In space, no one can hear you scream.

It was a good article. It reminded me of a time when I was driving to Trona Pinnacles in the Mohave Desert for a commercial. I took the back way, and there were no cars or people or houses. Nothing. I pulled over to... ummm... smell the roses, and was shocked by the quiet. Suddenly I heard a fly buzzing, looked over, and noticed it must have been almost 20ft away, but sounded so loud! I stayed a while, marvelling in the silence. Coincidentally, I get to the shoot and they had rented an Arri 435. Production told me to play it cool, because they didn't want to let the clients know it was a problem. But it was. We got the one line wild a few times afterwards, and the commercial sounded fine. Big national Bud Light campaign. It's amazing where they choose to save a few bucks.

Robert

I worked for years for a very successful director/cameraman who owned an Arri III that he loved. He also loved to save money on camera rental, like for a sound camera. Once in awhile a client would comment on the noise of the camera in a quietish scene--the director would call over--""Hey Phil--that's not a problem, right?" What's the right answer here folks? "Camera noise? What camera noise...." Lots of great jobs....happy clients....why bust their chops? (The director was also great about wild lining everything.)

phil p

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  • 2 weeks later...

THIS ARTICLE IS AMAZING, Mr. Marts I thank you deeply for posting this. Wow. And this article also highlights the whole backup thing! Hike days out and have a power issue? Backup backup!

They never mentioned what's gonna happen with the month long recordings. Longest field recording I've done was only about 90 minutes, but I like to play it in my house. Yes I do so what? I'd play this dude's month-long recordings too!

Now I know what I want to be when I grow up - a soundscape ecologist!

Something else I wish was talked about is the other freqs that humans can't hear, well if machines can hear them we could at least see them. A housecat can hear up to 80k (scurrying insects and such), would those sounds be counted in the endangered soundscapes? I'd think so, even if we humans can't actually hear em. I wish we could. How different the world would be if we could hear say, 5Hz - 120kHz... Maybe it would be the same, or maybe manufacterers would do just a smidge more product development regarding sound pollution.

My mind spins when I read something like this. Those people are my heros. Mr. Marts you're my hero for posting this. Thank you, I've printed it out and will keep it to force many others to read it. I can't even express how this article affected me.

Now I really want a cabin in the woods, I'd have to hike 6 - 8 hours to get to, and have a bazooka to shoot down any planes.

The quietest place I've ever been was on top of Enchanted Rock near Austin TX. THAT WAS INSANELY quiet. No planes, no cars, no ACs, no people, just quiet. I can remember how it felt. Super weird. I have so many more thoughts about this topic but I guess that's enough for now. Thank you thank you this article is just awesome.

Dan Izen

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I found this line about Denali very sobering:

Part of the point was to add to baseline measurements of the park’s overall soundscape — another was to measure just how quiet the winter could be and preserve that sensation for posterity. “I suspect that it gets down below the threshold of human hearing,” Betchkal said, adding duck seal, Gaffer’s tape and an Exacto knife to the bag. “Below zero decibels.” If he did manage to capture a stretch of quiet that extreme, I wondered, what would it reveal?

Man, I want to hear a mike and preamp combo that can handle that... surprisedsmiley.gif

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Noisier lights and cheaper locations (chosen for visual reasons) are increasingly common.

On a shoot one month ago I was recording building sound fx for a day with 2 Arri 235 cameras on each take.

The German director was furious ("sound is very important for this commercial")

No rational thinking about wild tracks.

That afternoon we were shooting an hydraulic jack hammer inside a building - about 13dBa!

"I cant hear the jack hammer in my headphones"!

No I said your headphones are $10 mine are $400 I replied.

"Wrong" he said.

I walked over to the UPM and said I'm off this tomorrow please find another sound guy.

mike

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  • 2 years later...

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