February 1st, 2011
Another late call time and another late wrap.  I left set almost at midnight.  Halfway through the day there was a little scare.
My co-worker Todd sent me an email telling me that one of our clients at Disney wanted me to cut a promo for the Walt Disney Company and it had to be done by Friday morning.  This was very bad news to me since last Tuesday, I spent the night at my office editing a different so-called “fire-drill”.
It’s a blessing and a curse.  On the one hand it’s nice to know that I’m wanted as an editor but on the other it’s quite frustrating when you don’t get to see your family for a long time.  Later that night, I received an email saying that they canceled the job.  I was so relieved to hear it.
As I drove home I tried to figure out what kind of creative project I had the energy for.  I thought about this really inspiring project that Jared of Uprlip did recently where he froze a contact mic in ice and then recorded the melting process.  That got me thinking about the concept of underwater recording.  The contact mics I own have a plastic-dipped coating on them so they are completely waterproof.  Suddenly, I knew what my creative project was going to be.
When I got home I collected up the supplies for my experiment, June’s bucket from the backyard, a watering can, a glass full of pea gravel, and a straw.
I started by recording the sound of the bucket filling up with water, then I plopped some pea gravel into the bucket, then I poured the entire cup in.  I stirred it with a spoon.  I tried striking some of my DIY glockenspiel bars underwater with the spoon.  It didn’t work so well but I found I was able to get something interesting by striking the glock bar while dropping it into the water.
I grabbed the straw and recorded the sound of bubbles.  As I was recording I began to think that the bucket, being plastic, perhaps wasn’t the best resonate body for my experiments.
I remembered that wobbly sound you can get by striking a can of coke and shaking it.  I searched my car for an opened can of diet coke, usually not a very hard thing to find.
I dipped in the contact mic into the can and struck it with a spoon whilst shaking it back and forth.  These were some of the best sounds.
Press play below to hear what it all sounded like.

2 Replies to “Day 332 / Underwater Recording

  1. Jared

    awesome! i’ve been wanting to plastic dip my piezos for a while, but i realized through my ice experiment that you really can’t hurt them. next i want to burn one and record the output.

  2. The B-Roll

    Hmm, I’m interested in how would go about burning it. A blowtorch would probably sound like white noise. Throw it in the pan the next time you’re cooking bacon. :)

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