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Recording the breath of a horse during a horserace


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So, I've been asked to record some wild tracks of horse breaths in a real trot race for a TV movie.

(This is a questionable idea in general, as a real sport event provides not a very clean sound setting, e.g. constant PA and though the horse team will be very cooperative, I'd interfere procedures and routines previous to the race and potentially even introduce some safety risks. However I'd like to discuss the task to record racehorse breath in general and controlled setting.)

I did wire sulkies on camera on staged races before for this production but these where conducted horse friendly "as slow as credible" and at that time it was not clear, that it was the breath that was of interest. I was booming the show. Obviously the sulky is not close to the nose and it was not clear at the time that it is the breath the horse people were referring to as the impressive sound to the driver.

The horse will trot around 60Km/h 37mph at full power and interesting breathing behavior.

So, the actual question is, where to put a lav or even small diaphragm with whatever wind protection?

 

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At 37 MPH there will be considerable wind on the mic.  Whatever mic it is will need a very serious windscreen, like a zepplin type.  If this is wild sound (no cameras), can you rig off the frame of the sulky, like a pole reaching forward towards the horse's head, but back enough to be out of its sightline?  Then rig a small recorder to the seat or etc and let them go?

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44 minutes ago, Philip Perkins said:

At 37 MPH there will be considerable wind on the mic.  Whatever mic it is will need a very serious windscreen, like a zepplin type.  If this is wild sound (no cameras), can you rig off the frame of the sulky, like a pole reaching forward towards the horse's head, but back enough to be out of its sightline?  Then rig a small recorder to the seat or etc and let them go?

The sulky would produce a lot of body own movement and resonance to the boom. It would require a very stiff mic mount. It will require tests how the mic's position and direction changes regularly.

30 minutes ago, daniel said:

Hmm...

A mic inside these might produce a "canned" sound, but this is a good approach. However, I'd need to find a way to make it compatible to the snaffle.

 

Great thoughts, thank you guys.

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Being that it’s a narrative  film, can production budget a few hours so you could experiment with different mic placement? T If you have a horse/jockey at your disposal you could mount various mics, and not worry about if camera will see it. You could wire a Lectro PDR or equivalent small recorder and wire the bridle, trying different types of foam on the mic as well as shotgun with a zeppelin on frame of sulky. 

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If I get some time at the farms training course, I'll probably boom out of a car (preferrably electro motored) with a SuperCMIT or a KMR82 and try a lav somewhere under the chin. A limiting factor will be the endurance of the horse, so I can't try out forever.

I am sceptical if mounting a lav on the bridle will introduce the bribles self noise. The local rental place suggested sticking a lav on the animal at a comparably wind protected place, but I've never sticked anything to living fur before. I wonder what tape is appropriate, if any.

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3 hours ago, DanieldH said:

If I get some time at the farms training course, I'll probably boom out of a car (preferrably electro motored) with a SuperCMIT or a KMR82 and try a lav somewhere under the chin. A limiting factor will be the endurance of the horse, so I can't try out forever.

I am sceptical if mounting a lav on the bridle will introduce the bribles self noise. The local rental place suggested sticking a lav on the animal at a comparably wind protected place, but I've never sticked anything to living fur before. I wonder what tape is appropriate, if any.

Keep in mind that horses in general are not so fond of boom microphones. If you use a boom you should introduce that tool to the horse/ horses quite carefully.

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13 minutes ago, jbuerjes said:

 

Keep in mind that horses in general are not so fond of boom microphones. If you use a boom you should introduce that tool to the horse/ horses quite carefully.

Definitely. In this particular situation the horse needs to accustom to the entire car, including the boom sticking out.

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The obvious solution to me (and just checked with my daughter: a professional horsewoman) is to take advantage of the noseband (the most static part of the tack, going over the nose: if not wearing one then this can be added easily), which can have a sheepskin pad: the lav mic could then be incorporated (with its own fluffy) on the rear side of the nose pad to give it more wind protection.

 

Cheers,

 

Roland

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6 hours ago, drpro said:

I believe DPA makes some horse lavaliers!!

They have their "heavy duty line" but this is not a task to protect a few X00$ insured lavs but a few X00k$ animals, +some human athlete well-being. 😉

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? I think you  are over  reacting a touch .. mounting a mic on a horse will not harm it or the sulky driver. Having been to quite a few harness races myself ,until the sport fell to casinos here in Michigan,  they are more prone to injury while they trot or some new equine virus.  It’s just nature of the event.

As for being nervous around an auto, they are trailered to every event. Also, at least in the states, the starting gates are mounted to an SUV which the racers que behind and go 1 lap around the track so everyone is even in the starting line, so I wouldn’t worry too much about how the horse reacts to a vehicle. Let us know what you come up with. 

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16 hours ago, DanieldH said:

I am skeptical if mounting a lav on the bridle will introduce the bridles self noise. The local rental place suggested sticking a lav on the animal at a comparably wind protected place, but I've never stuck anything to living fur before. I wonder what tape is appropriate, if any.

 

I used "Nite Ize Original Gear Ties" to mount a GoPro between the horns of a rather wild bull once. The bull didn't seem to mind and the GoPro survived an hour or so of general running bull stuff. It should be easier to make friends with the horse...

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8 hours ago, Constantin said:


I have one, if you are interested, Daniel. Can‘t tell you if it works for this or not, though

Thnx, good to know. I'll keep it in mind, if I go to the farm.

On the real race, there is hardly a position I can be without any unwanted sounds on axis.

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11 hours ago, Mattias Larsen said:

I think it would be really hard to isolate the breathing of a running horse with a parabolic mic. It could be interesting to create sound effects, but of a bigger area of the horse I would say. 


Oh yes, I agree with that, not ideal to catch just the breathing - or at all

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