Ed and I have just got back from a camping holiday in France. This year we decided to visit the Alps, and because it’s a long drive we broke up our journey down by staying in the French Ardennes. We stayed in Monthermé which is quite close to the border with Belgium, in a campsite on the river Meuse.
Last night Ed and I took our instruments down to the Lickey Hills to record a few of our covers. I’ve wanted to try filming outdoors for a while now, but this was the first time we have tried it. We were both a bit more nervous than usual as it felt public, even though there was noone around. A couple out on an evening walk passed by as did a mountain biker, but otherwise we had the woods to ourselves. We recorded two Kevin Devine songs we already have recordings of (‘Brother’s Blood’ and ‘No History’) as well as Frank Turner’s ‘The Ballad of Me and My Friends’.
Using the microphones and equipment I use for filming weddings and documentaries we set up with external sound for both of us, as well as a shotgun microphone (RØDE VideoMic Pro) on top of the camera to pick up the ambient sound. Ed’s got a RØDE VideoMicro plugged in to a Tascam DR-05 on a light stand pointing at his sound hold to isolate his guitar, while I have a RØDE Smartlav+ plugged in to an old Sony Z1 Compact I use as a lav pack running AudioRec Pro (Android). The microphone is mounted on a RØDE violin clip and the wire goes over my shoulder and down my back so it’s out of frame. I need to find a better place to stash the phone as at the moment I just get Ed to tuck it into my clothes, but it’s not very secure.
I left the ambient audio in the final recording, as there were lots of birds singing in the woods around us as the sun was setting and I quite liked that. Up until now we’ve just recorded our covers using the RØDE VideoMic Pro on top of the camera. The extra microphones take a little longer to set up and to sync in post, but it’s worth it to be able to balance the sound properly between Ed’s guitar and my violin.
I’ve been trying to learn how to draw. Ed bought me a sketch book and pencils for my birthday and I’ve been following the circles and lines method to learn how to draw animals. I’ve actually surprised myself at my first few attempts, I just assumed I couldn’t draw at all.