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Recording Park Music...

Discussion in 'Archive' started by s8ntmark, Mar 8, 2003.

  1. s8ntmark

    s8ntmark Member

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    Ive heard it said that one way of recording park music is by way of one of those "Phone Mics" you can buy at Radio Shack. Im thinking of picking one up and trying it out...

    Has anyone tried this? How does it sound? Anyone have Pros, Cons, or advise?

    Has anyone actually gotten in trouble doing this?

    Tell me your storys, Im interested :)

    Mark!
     
  2. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Member

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    Great idea for a thread!

    Before my last park visit, I purchased a Hi-Fi Hi-8 camcorder just to get better recordings of park music--especially my buddies the Dapper Dans, Rhythm Rascals, the piano players at Casey's, Fantasyland Woodwind Society, and the dearly departed Main Street Marching Band. :'(

    The stereo recordings make all the difference for capturing a wider sound field and bringing alive the live recordings. It also helps capture the "live" sound of parade music, etc as the camera moves side-to-side and picks up different sounds around you from their respective places. Hard to explain in the written word.

    Would love to hear what others are using! Intrigued by the Phone mic idea
     
  3. Zarpman

    Zarpman Member

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    With a MiniDisc recorder and some form of microphone and/or pickup, you can capture lots of area music from the shrubbery speakers. Pick up an Assistive Listening Device and you have your own personal speaker in your hands.

    The ALDs have very limited ranges, so make sure you're up front and clear of obstructions.
     
  4. dreamfinder

    dreamfinder Member

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    The five dollar (approx) phone mic thingy from Radio Shack works fairly well. Several drawbacks/issues. You need to be able to place it on the speaker for it to work. So the shrubbery speakers, speakers in the doom buggies, etc. It needs to be pretty much right on the speaker for it to work. If I remember right, it works about maybe 1 inch away. But if it moves from side to side, the sound changes slightly. Also, if you are anywhere near something that produces interfearnce (some examples TV screen, power lines, etc) you get a nasty hum in the background that pretty much renders the recording useless. Third problem is that it just produces a mono track. Left side only I believe. It's easy to fix by just mirroring the left on the right, but you lose any stereo effects.
    Plus side - it's cheap (cheapest decent mic I have found) good quality, (hard to tell that it was done on the sly) fairly easy to use.
    Problem with it being so good, you end up with recordings that can (and will) get mislabeled as originals from the masters and such when they are really still fan recordings and could be better.
    Whether you use this type of setup, or mics, try not to be obvious. Some cast members will be obnoxious, even though most attractions do not specifically condone audio recordings. Also, with the nation in its current state, being suspicious and walking around with extra wires dangling all over your body doesn't make security love you.
    Minidisc recorders are great (I listen to 5 hrs of music on one disc for 40 hrs on one AA battery) Beats cd and tape any day.
    Never thought of using the ALD, will possibly try doing that next time around.
    Hope that helps,

    Dreamfinder
     
  5. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Member

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    This is some excellent stuff here!

    Makes me wish I was heading back to WDW soon! (Like I need any further incentive!)

    The ALD sounds like an AWESOME way to go! Zarp, do they have a mini-plug ear jack? Stereo/mono? Does WDW request a deposit/do they charge? How does it work?

    Do they work for just attractions? Or parades, shows, etc?
     
  6. Zarpman

    Zarpman Member

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    Some of the ALDs have what appears to be a mini jack (not the standard plug found on most things, but that next smaller size I can never remember the measurements on). I have yet to try to tap directly into this, as it might also be for those T-coil hearing aid adaptors?

    Some places, including most of Epcot, have resorted to using a visual captioning device. :( This is of great help, since it can display a multidue of languages, but doesn't help us out any.

    The parade music (MSEP, Spectro, etc) is broadcast over the air to the parade floats, so some budding radio fanatic might be able to tap into this. I have to admit I know NOTHING when it comes to this stuff, but the frequencies are posted on several sites across the web.
     
  7. Scarecrow

    Scarecrow New Member

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    What worked for me was a Minidisc and a small microphone that you could place a "anti-wind thingy" so that you don't get whooshes or garbage when recording on a breezy day.

    Minidisc and small microphone works great for those who wish to be inconspicous. I was never sure if Cast Members were instructed to discourage recording.....

    Also there are 2 other items that can assist you:
    Double Sitck Tape so that you an cleanly and temporarily fasten the mic to the speaker or source.
    A radio (telescoping) antenna so that you can attach the mic to the tip and raise it closer to pole speakers or closer to a ground speaker.

    These 2 extras assisted me to record very clean audio from attractions like the Haunted Mansion, parades, Rocket Rods (entire ride through), area music at DLP, WDW, DL, TDL.... over the years.

    Also... get a decent mic...don't go tooo cheapo. You usually get what you pay for.

    Also plan out your recording location and time of day carefully...... Busy locations tend to yield too much ambient noise and chatter.
     
  8. Scarecrow

    Scarecrow New Member

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    Great but again... if the MIC is not close enough to the source.... it will pick up too much ambient noise.. ie; Crowd Noise, etc etc....

    Of course, even with a good mic position its impossible to get a "direct feed - type" recording.. ie: Fireworks shows (always get firework pops).
     
  9. s8ntmark

    s8ntmark Member

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    Yeah, about ambient noise, I've used my mono (and undoubtedly omni-directional) mic'd VTR to record HMH twice in as many years and the ambient noise is maddening when you are trying to hear the music...

    I wish Id know about the ALD before hand I might have tried some tests on getting the HMH 2002 music on disc. I think it sounds like a great idea (when it works). Its almost like Disney is giving their music right too you! Its almost TOO easy!

    Also, I keep hearing the term "Pick up Mic" what exactly is that?

    thanks

    Mark!
     
  10. Zarpman

    Zarpman Member

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    Sadly, most of the ALDs transmit only the vocal tracks, leaving the sound effects, ambient music, and other audio elements to the outside speakers. A pickup microphone works on short range vibrations instead of a microphone's long range vibrations, so if it's attached directly to a speaker can pickup the audio without MOST ambient noises.
     
  11. Progressland

    Progressland Member

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    To record Disneyland Paris loops (they have so many lovely planter speakers!) I used a Sony ECM-MS907 stereo microphone attached to a MiniDisc recorder. Just put it in the bushes and wait for an hour to pass! I did run into a little bit of trouble, however, when recording near Sleeping Beauty Castle. I had placed the microphone and recorder a good amount inside the railing, but unfortunately there was little shrubbery in the area to conceal it. After about 10 minutes of recording, a French man and his family were walking by; we made eye contact and I felt he understood that it was my recorder in the planter. I guess I was wrong! He grabbed it out of the plants and I hurriedly took it back and walked off. :)

    -Jason
     
  12. Scarecrow

    Scarecrow New Member

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    Yes... it can be tough sometimes.... I experienced some grief at Phantom Manor... I was in the process of recording the exterior LOOP near Boot Hill...but as I was nearing end of the loop.... a family came over to where I was standing and their happy voices (glad they were happy as I was to be at DLP) killed my recording attempt at that moment.
     
  13. X-S Tech

    X-S Tech Active Member

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    While I don't bother collecting live recordings from others I do make a point to make them from my own trips to the park. In the event that no quality stuff surfaces from a particular attraction, live is better than nothing, and in some ways it stands on it's own. Anyway, rather than bringing a tape recorder I just film it with a Hi8 Digital camera and then transfer the audio portion to CD. Can anyone tell me if there's any way to improve quality at the recording stage? For example is there any sort of Wind guard that I can use without ruining the pick up? Just curious. The mic picks up the vocals and stuff great but I'd like to make whatever improvements I can.
     
  14. X-S Tech

    X-S Tech Active Member

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    s8ntmark,

    from what they tell me the radio shack pick up works great but be sure that if you're recording to a cassette player that there is a seperate recording volume. Otherwise the volume coming through the headphones will be blasting but you end up with a barely audible tape. Not sure if this is a concern with minidisc.
     
  15. dreamfinder

    dreamfinder Member

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    It depends on the model. Most of the newer minidisc recorders come with volume control, I believe its a PreAmp. Some can be changed on the fly, others can only be changed when you pause the recording. Newer minidisc recorders are pretty sophisticated for the small footprint and reasonable cost as far as home users go. My two cents,

    Dreamfinder
     
  16. DigitalDisney

    DigitalDisney New Member

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    All of the music loops you hear on my site were recorded with either a simple cassette deck or my camcorder and a directional mic.

    My single best effort is my Wonders of Life recording, which is very close to source quality. You cannot hear any crowd noises, or even the conversation I had with a CM who talked with me for a minute.

    Some music loops can be tricky to record due to speaker placement. For example, the MK entrance loop only comes from speakers that are on top of roofs. I had to point a directional mic up towards the speakers, and the whole rig was mounted in my backpack when I recorded it.

    Most other BGM loops can be recorded easily by sitting quietly next to a speaker. This is how I recorded the vast majority of my music loops.

    If you have any questions or want to know how I recorded any specific loop, or you want to know how to record a loop, let me know. With a little work, you can get a reasonable copy of any music loop at WDW.
     
  17. Steve LeVine

    Steve LeVine Member

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    Re:Recording Park Music... Digital Disney

    Any plans for updates on your site? Its great and I have been going there for a long time
     
  18. X-S Tech

    X-S Tech Active Member

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    This may be a stupid question Digital Disney but what's the address for your site?
     
  19. DigitalDisney

    DigitalDisney New Member

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  20. Michael Zielski

    Michael Zielski Member

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    Whew......just got back from WDW last night, trying to catch up.....what an appropriate thread! My recording device of choice has been a Sony Digital8 video recorder, bought in 2001. Initially I was using it for the obvious, but the audio pick-up is so good, I used it this trip for just some pure audio recordings--I simply held it right up to the speaker on the transport vehicle on Spaceship Earth, Dinosaur, and then placed it right on stage in front of a speaker for the Sonny Eclipse set(during a fairly quiet mid-afternoon moment). Then, as X-S Tech mentioned, I'll just transfer the audio onto a CD-R. After reading the thread, I also have a minidisc player/recorder(which I haven't used yet for field recording), so I suppose that could be another option for pure audio recording--but it is simpler to only have to carry one device that can do both video and audio recording, depending on the circumstance. Could I get better audio results using the minidisc recorder and an appropriate microphone, or am I just as well off using the video recorder? Mike.
     

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