Towards the end of January I was so pleased to take part in a field course on location sound, led by Chris Watson and Jez Riley French, at the UWS campus in Ayr. I was already interested in Chris Watson’s work, having listened to him speak previously at the University of Glasgow, and bought some of his records. I had also bought some microphones from Jez in the past so I was vaguely familiar with his work too.
The course was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about location sound. I had previously been doing quite a lot of field recording in my spare time, but the course deepened my understanding so I felt like I would be able to enhance my future recordings through the techniques I learnt. We looked at the different layers of a recording, and what is important to create an atmosphere that is subtle yet immersive. We were introduced to many different methods of recording, using a selection of microphones, booms, positions, locations etc., and then we also looked at interesting ways to deliver recordings to an audience, in various settings, using different speaker systems.
The aim of the course was to create a sound map of the River Ayr. We spent the week travelling to different points along the river, visiting Glen Buck Reservoir and the harbour at Ayr, to listen to how the sounds developed from the source of the river to the mouth. We worked in groups and alone, to experiment with the different microphones and recorders we were able to borrow. I particularly enjoyed using the hyrdophones, which allow you to hear in places that are otherwise often out of reach.