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Sound Devices submerged for underwater surround

Erica Basnicki 24 February 2012
Sound Devices submerged for underwater surround

A Sound Devices 788T took the leading role for the first ever commercial documentary to feature underwater surround sound. German company Ambient Recording used the 788T to capture the sounds of the sea, and created a specific underwater housing (SD-UW) for the recorder.   The Cannon Crackers of the Pistol Shrimp was recorded offshore from the Caribbean island of Bonaire in November 2011. Pistol shrimp are one of the loudest animals on the planet, snapping their claws so fast together the water around them vaporises. They also create bubbles, which implode with a loud cracking sound. The cracking noises, along with vibrant imagery of the shrimp – who live in colonies of up to 16,000 – form the basis of the film.   “The underwater world is not a silent one,” said Timo Klinge, marketing manager for Ambient Recording. “Coral reefs are filled with millions of sounds just like a jungle or a summer meadow. We knew we wanted to use Sound Devices recorders when we created our complete surround underwater rig because they are extremely compact, very rugged and have excellent sound. We created the underwater housing in order for the 788T to operate efficiently underwater.”   In addition to the two Sound Devices 788T recorders, Ambient Sound used a Sonar Surround RS5 underwater surround rig attached to the Sound Devices underwater 7-Series housing with four Sonar Surround DS30 directivity spheres, each equipped with an Ambient TC4042 hydrophone. Three Ambient TC 4013S hydrophones were attached to one of the camera housings and one Ambient TC4032 hydrophone was used to record far-off sounds.   “Selecting Sound Devices 7 series as the recorders to design our underwater housing around was definitely the right choice,” added Klinge. “We have tested the rig over and over and Sound Devices’ gear has consistently exceeded our expectations.”   www.ambient.de www.sounddevices.com    

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