Off into the wild

by Caitlin, 22 June 2015

So everything is underway and we’re shortly going to be heading into rehearsals for our performances at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival, King’s Cross. Before that, though, I’m heading off to Dartmoor this Friday for a few days filming video and making new field recordings for this production!

I’ve got some locations lined up from previous visits: Wistman’s Wood, Little Mis Tor, the area around Scorhill Circle, but I’m hoping to also discover some new places as we’re going to be staying in a different area from previous visits. Little Mis Tor I need to plan in advance because it’s situated near the Department of Defence’s Merrivale firing range and I don’t want to get shot :-) so that means a weekend visit or Monday as the range isn’t being used on those days.

I’ve got a bunch of gear lined up for the trip which I think will be more effective than last time I went, when I felt that much of the material I produced was really only suitable to give an idea of what I wanted. For this trip, I’m replacing the three (yes, THREE!) cameras of the last trip – my film SLR (a Canon EOS500), Canon G11 compact digital and a Flip HD video camera – with just one, a Canon EOS600D digital SLR, which shoots video as well as stills and most conveniently will take the lens from my film SLR and the big wide-angle lens from my partner’s DSLR too. I’ve been getting to know this camera over the past few weeks with some test shoots and am pretty happy with the image quality straight out of the camera. Here’s a couple of test shots I took with it down at the LV21 lightship at Chatham this weekend:



I’ve also finally invested in a tripod – on my last trip I took my marvellous travel-friendly Velbon monopod, but I hadn’t bargained for the crazy winds on Dartmoor, which meant a bunch of wobbly video that can’t really be used. I’m hoping the tripod will be sturdy enough to sort this out, although I’ll probably still take the monopod as it’s great for limiting handling noise in field recordings and for recording ponies and sheep who don’t like me standing too close.

Plus of course I’ll have my trusty Tascam DR-40 field recorder, which I bought with the assistance of Sound and Music’s fantastically helpful Francis Chagrin Award. I’ve had this for a few months now so I’ve got to know it fairly well, but it hasn’t been to Dartmoor yet (the last round of recordings were done on a borrowed DR-05) and I’m keen to find out how it fares. I’ll probably also take my contact microphone with me because, well, why not? Who knows what sounds are lurking out there, waiting for me!