Tomorrow they are announcing 25 to 50mm of rain. A perfect day for recording it.
I will be using a TASCAM US-144 MKII USB audio interface and a pair of audiotechnica studio cardioid mics.
This will be my first attempt. So any tips that you can share will be most appreciated.
You mostly can’t record rain, but you can record it hitting stuff. This is a cousin problem of making a video of an earthquake. You don’t. You record the credenza falling over.
So what’s the script or story you’re trying to illustrate? Rain on the street, rain in the trees, rain on the water. All different.
We can make rain in the trees. That’s Generate > Noise (Pink). Tilt the treble/bass a bit to taste with the equalizer.
Probably the worst problem with rain is keeping the microphone dry without the shield getting into the show. Similar to recording surf. Umbrellas are out. That thumping sound is raindrops hitting the umbrella fabric.
Thanks a lot guys for the prompt reply.
I will be recording from my cottage in the woods which has a porch with a tin roof. As forthe sound of the forest I was thinking of throwing a couple of thick blankets over my minivan and placing the mic under the rear lift door. I’ll take some pictures of the setup.
Last summer in Thailand I did a short video of a down poor from the first floor balcony of my guest house. The hard rain hitting the camera made the sound track useless. So I mixed four different rain tracks from the net at the end you can hear some of the real one. With all the neon lights, the choice of music was clear to me.
Five minute video: A Rainy Evening in Soi Chaiyapoon https://youtu.be/tTNjEFA27CY
So rain showers sound like a Buddy Rich drum solo.
I was thinking of throwing a couple of thick blankets over my minivan
You have to keep the van from acting like a tuned cavity. The large box version of singing into a wine glass. Alternately, you can find out where the resonance is and pull most of it out in post production.
You can do a newspaper test. Crunch up a newspaper (without the rain) in the van and record it. Ten to twenty seconds should do it. Analyze > Plot Spectrum. The lumps and bumps down around 100Hz or do should be where the van likes to “sing.”
Not sure what you are wanting to record rain. If it is to add to a project, you can save yourself a lot of time by downloading free of charge and royalty free samples of rain in the following link https://www.soundjay.com/rain-sound-effect.html
If you go the pre-baked route, you will be missing the war stories of what you went through to get the track. You’ll also be missing the experiences which could be valuable against the time you can’t find a pre-baked sound for your show—and you have to shoot it.
Also, if you shift the point of view in the story, you have to shift the background sound. That can be a bunch harder if you have to do an effects search for everything—and then have to match them.
Hi Steve! I just had a look at “Freesound.org” https://freesound.org/ which you recommended. That is really good! Do you know if all the sounds are royalty free? I looked at their terms and conditions but could not see anything about.
Below the download button for each of the sounds, you will usually see a statement similar to the image below, stating the license terms for that sound.
In each case, the license mentioned links to the relevant page on https://wiki.creativecommons.org
The licenses are designed to be “permissive”. That is, they are designed to allow free use with minimal restrictions.
In short, most of the sounds require “attribution”, so, for example, if you are making a film and you use a sound in your film, then you would need to include a credit for the creator of the sound that you used. Please check the actual license terms for any sounds that you use in projects that will be published.
And all of that vanishes if you shoot it yourself.
Recording can be environment dependent. Last time it rained here was, I think, January. Recording lawn sprinkers works. We got a lot of those. Nobody wrote the sound has to be the exact thing you present in the show.
The only time that I recall using the sound of rain in a video myself, I recorded the sound from an electronic keyboard. In fact, I layered several recordings from the keyboard so as to produce a “heavier” rain sound. Most MIDI keyboards include the sound of rain (MIDI patch number 97: “FX 1 (rain)”).
“Rain” is virtually silent. The “sound of rain” is not actually the “rain”, but “the raindrops hitting things”.
The challenge when trying to record the sound of rain, is in controlling what the rain hits. Obviously you need to protect your microphone from being rained on, but you need to shield it with something that does not make a distracting noise when rain hits it.
If you are recording, for example, the sound of rain in a forest, then sheltering the mic in the shade of a tree will probably be acceptable, but sheltering the mic under an umbrella would not sound good.
Contact microphones work well for rain. But indeed, it very much depends on the surface you stick them to. Metal bistro tables work well and you can keep the equipment dry under the table. You’ll need proper preamps for piezo microphones.
I always end up just having too much popping as rain hits the mic.
[ cringe ] Did the microphone still work after that?
Rain isn’t easy. Also see: recording surf.
youtube channel that does soundscapes
One of the two public broadcasting stations in LA has a transition/bumper that I really like. After all the promotional hubbub and loud craziness it switches to a cactus in the late evening with the quietest possible desert wind sound. It’s striking. Even if they made it up, anybody who has ever spent time in the desert snapped right back there.
Very well done.
On the other hand, last time I tried recording surf in a public park, a couple walked up to me and struck up a conversation. After a while, the woman noticed I had a sound recorder and put it together I was trying to record the waves. I wonder if they also put it together I recorded their entire conversation.
Note to self: use a more isolated beach.
Try suspending a heavy towel over the microphone. Tilt it so it drips to one side.