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Recording Sounds at the Theme Parks

Discussion in 'Archive' started by wedroy1923, Jul 17, 2002.

  1. wedroy1923

    wedroy1923 Moderator Premium Member Playlist Author

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    Hello Everyone,

    I am looking for some advice. What is the best way to record music at the parks? I am going to WDW in September, and I really want to record the Liberty Square area loop. Does anyone have any tips for doing this? What kind of equipment to use? How close to place the recording device to the speaker - once you've found the speakers. Any help is greatly appreciated!

    wedroy1923
     
  2. Alex K

    Alex K Member

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    If you have a camcorder which is either digital (set it to 16-bit, 48KHz sampling), or an analog camcorder that records in "Hi Fi". It should be good enough for whatever you can pick up with a microphone in the environment at the parks. Of course, you could purchase a portable Mini-Disc recorder, which will probably allow you to manually set the recording level (sounds better than the automatic gain control in camcorders), but in many cases it is not worth it due to other constraints ...

    1. Lousy microphones. The standard mics that come with on camcorders and MD recorders aren't too good, and good ones cost a lot of money. So, get a good mic if you can, but #2 below may ruin everything. I can't recommend any mics, since the good ones I have I bought surplus long, long ago, and I'm not up to date as to what are reasonable models at this time for the amateur or semi-pro.

    2. More importantly: ambient noise. Even if you choose a very quiet time, it is amazing what you can pick up besides the music (even with fairly directional mics). Outdoors, you get wind, birds, conversations, footsteps, etc. Indoors, not only do you get people noise, you also get unwanted reverberation.

    If somehow you could patch into the speaker terminals ...

    I guess the best thing to do is choose as quiet a time as possible, get as close to the speaker as you can, and hope for the best.
     
  3. wedroy1923

    wedroy1923 Moderator Premium Member Playlist Author

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    Alex,

    Thanks for the advice. I am going to try and record around the park's closing time. Hopefully Liberty Square will be emptied out by then.

    I am going to spend some time looking at different microphones - see what might best serve my purpose. Of course I don't want to spend too much money for a recording whose quality might not be that great no matter what I do.

    wedroy1923
     
  4. ex-wdi

    ex-wdi Member

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    Has no one heard of those suction-cup "phone" microphones you can get at radio shack...?
     
  5. wedroy1923

    wedroy1923 Moderator Premium Member Playlist Author

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    I have heard of them - tried to use one one time without much success. I could not get the microphone to remain attached to anything and the quality wasn't that great.

    Are you suggesting sticking it on a speaker? Who knows - might work!

    wedroy1923
     
  6. Dr. Know

    Dr. Know Member

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    Are we sure all those speakers are wired? Wouldn't it be great if they used some kind of fm broadcasting system that you could tune in to?
     
  7. hosewater

    hosewater New Member

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    This isn't the first time I've heard about this FM thing. Is there any validity to the story? What frequencies? What areas/attractions use it?


    Thanks
    EJ
     
  8. Alex K

    Alex K Member

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    Try these links for park frequencies. I don't know if they modulate narroband or wideband FM -- could have gone digital to discourage snooping. Normal attraction music is probably wired, never wireless.
    I don't have a scanner, so I can't validate these. There are also modulated infrared signals available in some attractions for hearing assist devices. I read a technical article about this once, but it did not reveal modulation method.


    http://members.tripod.com/columbus_east/disneyland.shtml

    http://members.tripod.com/columbus_east/disney.shtml

    They could change frequencies whenever they want. Take along a scanner if you have one, and see what you pick up.
    By the way, unlike old telphone handsets, most speakers are shielded, so the suction cup induction coil pickup probably won't work with speakers.
     
  9. xtigger

    xtigger New Member

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    [attachment deleted by admin]
     
  10. theEpiphany

    theEpiphany Member

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    Christ, while I might not be the most inconspicuous person for something like this....I can just see people being super careless and ruining it for everyone. (You'll have to excuse my cinicism, I really don't think this is something that should be discussed in the open)

    Point being. Be careful and don't F it up for the rest of us by doing something careless.


    As far as the broadcasts...it's just Park communications systems...There are no standard FM/AMRadio Frequencies for attractions (with the exception of what was once used for the EWP...and certain things for Fantasmic here at Disneyland). Other than that there's a lot more to it.

    -D
     
  11. Zarpman

    Zarpman Member

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    I think more people should know about this recording method. Since it's not feasible for Disney to release every little second of park music on a widely distributed CD, I rely on these music pirates to fill in the gaps. Besides, for those who live close enough to the park to warrant such a task (I live too far away, and my in-park tmie is too expensive and precious to spend it recording hour long loops), I have to say kudos and thanks!

    Just my two cents.

    Z?rp!
     
  12. SharonKurland

    SharonKurland Active Member

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    Damien-

    Why would someone being "caught" recording BGM or narratives or whatever, mess it up for everyone else? If there's a sign that says no recording, like at TZTOT, it's one thing. But why should a CM care if someone is recording BGM for their own, personal, never to be sold or traded, magical memory use? If you think about it, any time you videotape landscape in a Disney park, you're getting some ambient BGM...some people just use better equipment and care more about the audio than the video .

    I brought my big honkin' Radio Shack tape recorder to WDW in January 1983. Thanks to that, I have the EWP, CBJ, Mariachi Cobre, Streetmosphere in Italy, BGM from the Poly. and I don't remember what else...and no one stopped me . OK, the quality royally SUCKS but I was 16 and it made me happy.

    I actually have a question for you about teeny tiny tape recorders, for my own use. Which ID is best to e-mail you at, if I may?

    -Sharon-
     
  13. theEpiphany

    theEpiphany Member

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    Doing it right is one thing. Potentially hurting yourself by climbing speaker poles (yes it apparently has been done) and disrupting the park's operation in general is not cool and will only warrant further attention to the subject matter is not.

    It's apparently clear that the Audio Community has got some pretty freaky people that trade, scam, or would otherwise give a nad for park music. While I myself am all about the music too, There's ways of going about doing things. With every Yin there's a Yang unfortunately in this case it seems the Yang (and loss of thought on certain things) seems to prevail within certain people.

    Being particularly responsible for a good chunk of some of the stuff out there, I'd get mighty pissed if I started hearing "No eating drinking smoking flash photography video taping or audio recording". I'm not saying don't do it...I never said that. Hell how can I when I myself have a library of crap. At any given time you can find me poking around disneyland. That'd just be hypocrytical. Just be intelligent about it and don't draw attention to yourself. If you're risking safety or park operations to get a piece of audio, you deserve to get thrown out, just don't ruin it for the rest of us that do things more levelheaded.:)

    -D
     
  14. xtigger

    xtigger New Member

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    Damien,

    I understand your concerns about carelessness. Unfortunately, with email and message boards, it's sometimes hard to get the gist or intent of one's message. In my original post above, I was not recommending that people sneak behind the scenes of attractions and crawl around in the dark on their stomachs "Mission Impossible" style just so they can get pristine copies of their favorite theme park soundtracks.

    If you read the post with a less critical eye, you'll see that I was poking fun at myself and the absurd lengths that I would go to as a reckless teen to record the soundtracks. I would never do today what I did back then ? except for placing telephone pickups on speakers because I don't feel there's anything wrong with that.

    As far as the "other" method is concerned, well, there's really not much of a difference between pointing a microphone at a speaker and placing a telephone pickup on a speaker ? unless you?re walking in flower beds, climbing tress, standing on trash cans, using stilts, shoes with springs or construction cranes to get to the speaker ? and I?ve seen people go to some of those lengths with conventional microphones. See, I?m being funny again. ;)

    Again, I understand your point, but stand back and look at my message with a broader, less ?black & white? point-of-view.

    Jim
     

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