AU120 - Field Recording

Course Description: Remote and Field Recording introduces students to the equipment, techniques, protocols, and procedures used in on-site recording for film and TV, where scheduling permits, students participate in a location film/video shoot. Topics include power requirements and electrical noise, acoustic isolation and location mixing, audio post-production tools and processes, field and post synchronization, sampling sounds and environments, microphone placement, wireless microphone placement, wireless microphones and communication and audio processing in the field. Course Objectives Set up and use location audio packages professionally. Demonstrate correct microphone placement and choice. Demonstrate hidden and exposed lavaliere techniques. Demonstrate correct audio calibration of pro and consumer video cameras. Understand set etiquette.

Text: The required text used in this class is Sound for Digital Video by TomlinsonHolman. Other Resources: Various handouts provided by the instructor

Standards for Grading A (90-100) Excellent to Very Good; comprehensive knowledge and understanding of subject matter; marked perception and/or originality B (80-89) Good; moderately broad knowledge and understanding of subject matter; noticeable perception and/or originality C (70-79) Satisfactory; reasonable knowledge and understanding of subject matter; some perception and/or originality D (60-69) Marginal; minimum of knowledge and understanding of subject matter; limited perception and/or originality F (<60) Failing; unacceptable low level of knowledge and understanding of subject matter; severely limited perception and/or originality; absences in excess of allowable limit


3 projects (60% of your grade, 20 points each)

2 tests: Midterm/Final (20% of your grade, 10 points each)

10 Weekly Quizzes (10% of your grade; 1 point each)

Participation (10% of your grade)

The instructor will only permit the makeup of work due to a legitimate absence. Academic Integrity: College guidelines for academic integrity are strictly enforced. Copying materials or otherwise using the words, thoughts, audio/video/graphics files of others is plagiarism, which could result in various penalties ranging from project failure to administrative action. Academic Support/Learning Disabilities: . Academic Support (tutoring) is provided to any student in need of tutoring. Students who feel they are able to assist with tutoring this course should also contact their instructor and/or the Student Services Office.


Instructor reserves the right to modify this, as necessary to accommodate student’s specific needs, shortcomings, and advantages.

Week 1: Lecture: Introduction to Remote and Field Recording Location scouting, boom mics, field recorders, others. Read Chapter 3 in the text. Project 1 discussed

Week 2: Lecture: Field recording Microphone polar patterns, using microphones Read Chapter 4 in the text

Week 3: Lecture: SFX (sound effects) Sound Design, importance of field recordings Read Chapter 7 in the text Project 1 due Project 2 discussed

Week 4: Lecture: Field recordingSFX SFX database, SFX recording, Micro-tracks, others. Read: Chapter 6 in the text

Week 5: Midterm Exam Project 2 due

Week 6: Lecture: Digital video Concerns of audio within the video domain Read Chapter 1 in the text Project 3 discussed

Week 7: Lecture: Digital video continued Reading: Read Chapter 2 in the text Project 3 due

Week 8: Lecture: Recording live music Understanding rooms, mic choice, mic placement, equipment, others Reading: TBA Project 4 discussed

Week 9: Lecture: Recording live music cont’d Reading: TBA 

Week 10:  Final Exam Lab: Final project critiques (including corrections from other projects)



Each week you will be responsible for taking an online quiz which will be available through eclass/ecompanion. The quizzes are your responsibility to take and will become available after the first lecture of the week and will no longer be accessible at the beginning of the following week’s lectures. The quiz will be over any information covered throughout the week.




1. You will be team up with students from a video class and capture the location audio for this team. You will be split into groups and be expected to attend all film sessions, capturing all location audio without distortion, an oppressive amount of reverberation, or background noise. 


2. You will create a SFX library of your own. Using different sorts of field gear, you will create an SFX library consisting of a number of effects, varying in location, type of effect, and capture technique. Captured SFX should be clean and useable. You will also create the database with all relevant meta-data attached to your effects.


3. You will record a band in a live venue using only a stereo pair of microphones. The choice of venue, type of music, choice of microphones, and microphone placement will all be factors you must consider. It is expected that your live two-track edit should be near-release quality. To achieve this, you will have to scout your locations and meet with your chosen group of musicians to discuss stage set up and their performance style. You will have to turn one of these projects in for your Portfolio class, so proficiency in this area is one of the determining factors of whether or not you graduate.