Surrounded by Midlothian
It was finally in 2021 that I launched my first series of sound effect libraries featuring environmental ambience sounds captured in my local neighborhood of Midlothian. The source material was all recorded within a couple miles of Pathhead during the winter of 2020-21. It was COVID lockdown times and the skies were very quiet because no one was travelling and there were no planes in the sky. It was also pretty darn cold. Some of these recordings have gone on to become part of the professional aounds available from the Soundly SFZ library (GetSoundly). The four libraries are featured below and you are welcome to listen or download using the Bandcamp links. These recordings also provided the source material for my two collections, Sonables and Sonables II.
Building the project
These volumes of sound libraries were recorded at different locations around Midlothian. The recordings also represent the environment during the winter period of the year. Recordings for the other seasons of the year are currently in production. Details of each library are found in these links where you can also download the origina audio:
Each library is presented as an immersive audio scene featuring a primary ambisonic microphone with a combination of other microphones and sound sources. I started constructing a variety of Aeolian harps which I also added to the scenario to develop a way to capture the sound of the wind. All the elements were recorded at the same time to create an immersive representation of season, location and environment.
On a field session I usually record of selection of these devices at the same time with the main ambisonic mic in the middle. Back in the studio they all go into a large Reaper project and get synchronized with the video footage so that events in the landscape line up in the project. Using reaper allows me to mix in a 3D atmosphere and I can print files that are creative mixes from all sources as well as edited and mastered stems from each source.
I got into the habit of planting cameras around the recording scene to capture whatever would happen, Sometimes hanging cameras in trees or balanced on rocks in the water. Check out the videos below that show some of these processes.
Ambisonics is a full-sphere surround sound format: in addition to the horizontal plane, it covers sound sources above and below the listener. For more info you can read more here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambisonics. There is extensive information, tutorial videos and free software from Trond Lossius and the Ambisonics Tool Kit ATK – https://www.ambisonictoolkit.net/. Further useful resources and software links can be found here as well https://ambisonic.info/practical/software.html.