Field Recordings are recordings capturing your moment as is, wherever you are. The recordings taken in the field – whether that field be a busy marketplace, at the beach, or while you’re hiking. Field recordings, in essence, are easy to take: Take a recorder, record what you hear, and you’re done. This recorder could even be your own phone, which is most likely capable of taking high quality recordings with it’s built-in microphone. However, when you’re taking field recordings, there are a few things you may want to consider.
Mono vs Stereo
It’s important to know whether the app you’re using records in mono or stereo. This not only changes how your recording works, but also the metadata of the track. Many distributors and music platforms will only accept recordings in stereo. Voice Memos app for Iphone takes recordings only in mono. You’ll need an app like Spire (which is free) to take proper field recordings in stereo.
Make sure it’s over 30 seconds
Recordings under 30 seconds aren’t accepted by most major distributors, as well as SubmitMusic. So if you’d like to release your own album of field recordings or send tracks to SubmitMusic, make sure they’re over 30 seconds!
Check Your Levels
Sometimes the sounds you’re trying to capture can be faint, or quiet. Make sure you’re ensuring your recordings are picking up the right sounds. On most audio gear, you can check levels. On a phone recording app, take a sample recording and listen back before you take your full field recording.
Monitor What Your Recording
Field recordings are great, but you must always be sure to double check what you’re recording is picking up. Because you’re in the ‘field’ you could pick up anything on recording. If you want to record people talking, make sure to ask for permission to record first. If you also happen to pick up any copyrighted material (like a song) in your recording, you cannot distribute it without permission from whoever owns the copyright of the track you picked up.
Capturing the perfect field recording can be tricky, but with today’s technology anyone can do it. So get out into the world and record the nature around you!