Nat Geo – Wild
Sound Creation and Design by Radium Audio
Radium is asked to create the soundscape and sonic narrative for the latest NatGeo Wild idents for the National Geographic Channel Italy. Our client PopScience share their exquisite draft visuals with us, and we can’t wait to get started. Also, given that we have just scheduled in our own internal recording session straight from the world of nature, the timing couldn’t be better!
See below for
- Indepth Narrative
- Behind the Scenes Video
- Insect Recordings
- Insect Recording Photo Gallery
In our Radiumphonic Lab we regularly schedule recording sessions of various organic materials to experiment with sound for adding to our own internal sound library. We have been debating for a while whether a recording session with insects might yield some worthwhile material for our library, and so have just completed all the arrangements and scheduled it in when the Nat Geo Wild project comes up.
Live Insect Sound
The logistics of planning our sessions with the insects have proven quite complex. These are not inanimate objects which can be manipulated in any way we wish to suit our purposes, but living, self willed creatures with very specific needs. It has taken us some time to find a supplier who is willing to rent us the range of insects we want to work with, organise protective packaging and specialist transport, send us full care instructions and appropriate food supply, support us over the phone when we have any questions about the best way to handle the insects while being mindful of their welfare, and help us put arrangements in place to ensure the insects can be returned to their home safely after their visit to our Radiumphonic Lab. Having finally managed to get everything in place for the recording session, now having a specific project where we can immediately apply this new source material is the icing on the cake!
We relish the opportunity to bring out one of our favourite pieces of kit, one of the most sensitive microphones available on the market. The Japanese-engineered Sanken MO 64 is specifically created to be able to record the heartbeat of a snail, and it’s absolutely perfect for the task at hand. We also introduce into the insects’ environments other custom built contact microphones to capture aspects of their individual movements. The contact microphones can be attached directly to whichever surface the insects are engaging with at any given time, enabling us to record the vibrations created by those kinetic interactions. The DPA 4060 mini microphones prove especially useful inside the insect tanks, the small size of these allowing us to get very close without alarming the insects into a state of panicked immobility.
Some of the most aurally striking material comes from the collection of crickets moving around in their enclosure, and the millipede’s pitter-patter of multiple little feet traversing a piece of wood. Much as we are all excited at the prospect of working with a live scorpion, the cliche “silent but deadly” unfortunately proves more to be the case. We have varying degrees of success with some of the other species and then, just when we think we’re done for the day and almost all packed up, as the sun sinks into the horizon the crickets decide to launch into a chorus of chirruping, so we scramble to set the mikes up again, recording in the near-dark so that we don’t disrupt their flow.
Afterwards, we have a large bank of source material which can be used raw, or manipulated via different effects including reverb, timestretching, ringmodulation, granulisation, and some bespoke software processing we cook up ourselves to sculpt the final sound files. And best of all, we now have a whole new batch of sounds to play with, as we create the sonic universe for the Nat Geo Wild idents!
Nat Geo Wild Insect Recording by Radium-Audio
- Dave and Peter unpack the insects
- Recording hissing cockroach with the Sanken MO64 and DPA 4011
- Recording centipede on the black sand surface
- Hissing cockroach up close
- Recording millipede with DPA 4011 and 4060 microphones
- We just had to take the opportunity ... deploying the Sanken MO64 for the very purpose it was designed ... recording the heartbeat of a snail
- Recording grasshopper with custom built contact microphone
- Capturing more cockroach sounds
- Millipede and cockroach with DPA 4011 and 4060 microphones
- Recording cockroach vibrations on wood
- Recording scorpion
- Cockroach with contact microphones
- Cockroach with Sound Devices 788T
- Unpacking the Crickets