The Art of Recording Live in Nature | Improvised Soul Singing
Hello beautiful souls. I am being asked how I go about recording/filming these live improvisations out in nature so I thought it would be helpful if I spent some time detailing the process in this blog post. At some point I will film the process if that is helpful to those who wish to try it, or simply have a curious mind. :)
Firstly, I sing to connect to myself and my surroundings. The improvisations are raw and unplanned, sung over a pre-recording drone track that I put together the night before. As for the location, I always venture deep into the countryside, away from people and modern life. It helps me disconnect from my mortal mind and step into an ancient world that cannot be seen, but felt. I return to plug myself in to the channels that lured me into the woods as a child, alone and unafraid.
Secondly, I record and film everything myself. This is partly due to finances and partly because I enjoy the creative process and freedom to be myself with any distraction. The journey to the location (often found by mistake) is part of the meditative, reflective journey that I find myself on. By the time I reach the final destination I have shed my mind and found my heart once more.
I carry all of my equipment on my back which is great because I walk MILES. I don’t carry a cumbersome mic stand and manage to fit everything that I need into a rucksack, making the journey easy come mountain or river. I have detailed these items below.
Equipment / Set Up
Laptop (MacBook Air)
Recording Software (Cubase and Komplete)
AKG D5 Microphone
Roland Rubix 22 USB Audio Interface
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Headphones
Manfrotto Element Tripod
OSMO Mobile 2
I set my laptop and interface on something dry, out of frame but close enough to use. If you are recording in wet environments then be prepared to clean cables later. That leads me on to the next HUGE AND IMPORTANT piece of advice. Have bags handy to separate muddy equipment before packing those cables away with your nice laptop… I learned that the hard way!
Check the levels, make sure that the mic and headphones stretch far enough etc, and you’re good to go.
I have a DSLR that I could use for filming but I have been using my iPhone 7 in order to keep the weight down in my rucksack. DSLR’s are better for various reasons but the iphone7 has done the job, and I believe that you should just use what you have to work with, and don’t get caught up in the idea that you can’t do anything with what you already have. If I had a choice I would have a full blow film crew but alas I don’t so I make the best of things.
I set my gimbal up on my tripod, attach my phone and work out the composition. I then do some test runs which involve exactly that… running backwards and forwards between the camera and my position, filming bits and playing them back to make sure that I am happy with the result. This is a really useful exercise when you are COLD like I was on Nacton Shores.
Once everything is ready to go, I change into my dress if I haven't done so already (always a liberating moment, if not refreshing, to be at one with nature in the flesh for a moment), hit record on the phone camera, go over to the laptop and hit record, walk/run over to my position, look around for onlookers, put on my headphones, pick up the mic and drift away.
I hope this post has been useful or insightful in someway and offers some useful tips to those who might want to get out there and perform in nature. Let me know in the comments below if you have any further questions! Take care, be yourself and I look forward to sharing more journeys with you soon.
Love & Light.
Izzy’s Daughter x