Field Recording: Weapon Test Recording


On my last project I needed original gun recordings aimed to be used for sound layers for a mixture of Sci-Fi and realistic weapons. Good weapon recordings can act great for all kind of  ‘character supporters’. They can serve to increase beefiness (impact & size) or to reveal information on space. Of course this does depend on the general weapon mechanics and overall requirements.

As always – I tried to work from the very early gun concepts which, at the time, appeared to be very Sci-Fi-y, but also had typical mechanical gun parts associated to it. Because each of the eight total weapons, which we needed sounds for, had an alternative fire: Sci-Fi faster fire rounds and we immediately knew we would have to experiment in order to come up with a unique sound texture for each of them!

Initially, hand in hand with the visual effect department we went over the possibilities for the different weapon types and how they might ‘feel’ & interact when being used by us and the gamer. Throughout the entire development and production phase, we went through constant durations – audio as well as Vfx. Many times the art director changed the art and design concepts completely. Since the audio department remains to typically be the very last craft to be concerned about, on occasion, we did miss valuable information on changes that happen to come up in meetings, which had relevance to us and our decisions.

However, until then, I never really had the chance to do a proper gun recording and it felt to be a perfect timing to set one up. :-) Yeah!!! In Germany this wouldn’t be possible with ease – or at least it would be very very bulky! Germans love bureaucracy! And as a result, the law likes to ‘make’ things extra difficult. On the other hand, in America its really easy – and a super -duper fun experience!! To shoot a gun is like whiskey on the rocks. ;-) Stephen, my sound college, helped me out with managing range location, ammo and to find caliber types which suited our sound concepts.

During production we soon discovered that we would require every possible gun that we could get our hands on, due to the ever changing nature of the project. The more the better! It turns out that guns would change into a more realistic and mechanical look/feel! Either way, we concentrated on the recording and collection of fresh material which also should include alternative perspectives for NPC and PC distant fire. Stephen and I went out several times to test out location-space and microphone setups. Here is short video of a test sessions on the range in Gainesville, Florida.

Please note that the guns shown in the video may differ from it original sound you’re hearing. At the time I couldn’t quite keep track of look and sound to sync them up perfectly – sorry :-) This should serve for demonstration purposes only and should give you pretty decent idea of how it all went down!