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What would you buy/bring?


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Hi friends, I could use your advice.

I have an SD744t and a MixPre-D.  For mics I have a Rode NT4, an Usi stereo pair, 2 JrF contacts, 1 JrF hydro, and 1 Aquarian hydro.

I'm going to north Australia (Cape Tribulation) in July and want to record mainly

  • ambiances of the rainforest and beach
  • the sound of a cassowary yelling at me

I'm wondering what gear you would bring on a trip like this, so that I may consider upgrading or investing,  Since I'd prefer to stay away from the Cassowary's deadly claw, I'm thinking maybe Tellinga parabolic system.  Alternately I could maybe find an animal specialist that could work with me to find one and get the sound.  Has anyone here ever done something like that for a project?

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I would first look into renting mics in Australia - presumably Sydney but wherever you're flying into. I own a Telinga dish, which I use with non-Telinga mics (Bruel Kjaer omni or MKH8040 cardioid) but I'm not sure it's your first choice over a short shotgun (DPA, Schoeps or Sennheiser) since it's a loud bird with a deep (bass content) voice. Given a decent recording situation you might not even need a shotgun at all - if the ambient sound is not 'unwanted' in the location (traffic etc). Sounds likely you're recording from a diffuse sound field (ie further away than the direct sound field of close up) so a good quality (nice sound, high output, low noise) hyper, cardioid or even omni mic might give just as good a result as a shotgun.

For the ambiences I would look into hiring a stereo pair of omnis, such as MKH20/8020s, but several other good options (if looking into hiring). If you did manage to hire I would pick up also, say an MKH50/8050 and an MKH70/8070 in case they worked out better for the recording situation. In the latter case especially, hiring would mean getting a windscreen kit thrown in with the hire price and not needing to spend even more for something you might use sporadically.

I'm assuming mono recording of the bird. You might want to consider MS for stereo depending on your final sound requirements.

If it was a far-away tweeter in a tree, I would look at a parabola (or a long shotgun). In this case (in hopefully controlled situations like the YouTube video pointed to), I reckon a more ordinary handheld: hope for the best with background noise and watch for specifics like fence noises.

From someone who spent several weeks on a private estate with ostriches, a python, a Komodo Dragon (and whose attempts to visit to record the separate island compound of lions, tigers etc were pooh-poohed by the producer) ...

... Good luck!

Jez Adamson

Oh yes, with wildlife, prerecord is your friend!

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And yes, finally, an animal handler / specialist will get you much further, especially if you discuss your wishes. It can be astonishing how far a handler will go beyond the ordinary to do something different whilst keeping both safety and animal wellbeing in mind. I would say all my best results came with this kind of help.

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