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Towards my audio reel: field recording

Field recording is great fun, especially when done with a precise plan.

Simone Silvestroni's avatar
Sit in a park setting up the Zoom H5 handheld recorder for a session of field recording. Photo by Silvia Maggi
Photo by Silvia Maggi

I finally re-started using my Zoom H5 for field recording. I’ve been quite consistently capturing several audio sources inside and outside the house. Here on the Lake Maggiore, there are several spots where to record interesting sounds.

I’ve been particularly enjoying experimenting with two mics, which coincidentally are also the cheapest in my rig. One is a telephone pick-up coil mic that I bought off Amazon last year for 3 dollars, the second is a Korg contact microphone that’s way cheaper than the usual suspects and is usually employed to tune instruments.

The pick-up coil microphone is giving great satisfaction with its quirky unique way of capturing sounds that are completely inaudible to the human ear. Can’t wait to post audio samples in the near future.

I also temporarily swapped my boom pole with a Ulanzy mini tripod that doubles as an extension so that my hands don’t touch the recorder. Probably the best hardware add-on in that matter is the Movo shock mount. After a bit of trial-and-error, I’ve found that to be awesome for preserving sound quality from body movement.


The best part has been establishing a routine that can successfully maintain consitency throughout my workflow. In a nutshell:

  • Prepare the mini-bag with a minimal gear set and get out
  • Find the place where I already have an idea of sounds to be captured
  • Try to reduce the amount of noise that might disturb, if possible
  • Record and take notes so that I don’t forget what’s being done
  • Immediately download the material from the SD card once at home
  • Listen to the audio and fill in details in my field recording journal
  • Format the SD card for the next session
  • Create the folder structure based on a template that I set up
  • Copy the recordings in the _RAW folder
  • Edit in Reaper following my field recording template (this creates a de facto copy of the raw material, so that it never ceases to exist in its original form)
  • Render the edited results in my library folder
  • Add detailed metadata and catalog in Reaper’s Media Explorer

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