Sounds of the Seasons: WINTER -Footsteps – Icy Grass and Frozen Puddles

I’ve been thinking about setting myself some small briefs or topics for my field recordings and decided this would be a nice place to start. ‘Sounds of the Seasons’ will be a long-term project based on recording sound effects revolving around each of the seasons, snow or icy footsteps for winter, leaves for autumn, the beach for summer and so on! Given where we are now, it made sense to start with winter!

So it’s been pretty darn chilly lately and whilst walking my dog, I discovered a puddle that had completely frozen over. I trod on it tentatively and hearing that satisfying crack, I knew it would be great fun to record. Unfortunately, as it’s located near a busy road, I knew it would be impossible to do during the day. Thus, I returned home and lied in wait until around 1am, and then off I went out with my cans and recorder to hand and my brother to provide some much needed light! The intention was just to record the puddle, but I also realised all of the grass had frozen over too and, being quite overgrown, I thought that would be a nice add on.

I’ve been wanting to record some decent grass footsteps for a while and often you find freezing things tends to add a bit more depth to a sound, almost like a natural form of saturation. Sometimes when people record crunches and breaks with vegetables, they can freeze them first to get a bit more bite out of the sound. That’s exactly what the ice did for these footsteps. The grass itself was quite dry and coupled with the frost, I got a lovely sharp crunch out of my footsteps. I did a range of patterns, some slow steady footsteps, some firmer bolder steps and some softer quicker steps. When doing this sort of performance recording, (i.e. me dancing foot to foot with a recorder in my hand), getting a decent technique can be tricky but I got enough content to play around with, and I may go out and get some more once it freezes over again.

The ice cracks came out surprisingly well. There seemed to be a lot of background noise with the occasional car or person still being around but none of that seemed to affect the recording. The only downside of these sounds was that the squeak of the rubber on my trainers can be heard and so it does limit its potential to be used for anything that doesn’t have a character wearing trainers! Nevertheless, I was pleased with the results and there are some nicely details cracked in there that I will still use for educational and implementation purposes and also to edit up, post-process and make some cool sounds out of.

Overall, some of the sounds came out slightly phasey. I’m not 100% sure why, unless it was due to reflections from a nearby fence, so as a result I would re-record them if I was to implement them in to an official project. However, the reason I do this blog and make these recordings is to learn, learn and learn some more and it definitely contributed in that regard!

As always, your feedback is appreciated, I hope you enjoy and you can find the tracks above and below to listen to!

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