I love living vicariously through other people experiences on this site. So, I was wondering if anybody had any interesting stories of dangerous recording experiences. Either harmful to yourself, your gear, or to anybody else. Maybe you got a little to close to the explosion you were recording, or you were chased by a bear in full field recording gear. :)

Most of my recordings were done in the relative safety of the studio. Maybe some bumps and bruises, but not much more. That is why I ask if any of you had more risky experiences?

Who knows maybe we will learn a few things NOT to do while recording.


The implosion of Texas Stadium was...interesting.

  • very nice! there any way I could hear the non-mp3 version? – VCProd May 11 '10 at 19:24
  • Sounds like some massive tribal drums or something on my laptop speakers. Very cool. – Utopia May 11 '10 at 20:34

For my student film I needed the sound of someone falling down a set of stairs in a house. I tried everything I could think of to recreate but nothing sounded any good. So I threw myself down and recorded that. Sounded great.

One needs to suffer for their art after all ;)

  • Haha, nice! LIkewise, i needed some body falls onto concrete once, back at school. It's funny how once you get into that foley/fx recording mindset, you don't stop until you get what you need. – Roger Middenway May 12 '10 at 13:44
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    So, are you saying if we ever need the sound of someone falling down the stairs we should just come to you? – Dave Matney Sep 12 '10 at 15:29
  • I feel we've just created a niche here, stunt post production sound. For all your dangerous sound needs. No job too dangerous. – ianjpalmer Sep 12 '10 at 21:13

A couple years back I was working on a movie in northern Minnesota about a grandfather teaching his grandson how to harvest wild rice. We had a couple shots where the two guys delivered some dialogue while paddling their canoe through a rice paddy. Originally the plan was to put the camera and audio folks on a pontoon boat and get close enough for the shot. But, the lake water was a bit too choppy for a smooth video shot and we had some trouble with getting close enough for the shot due to the rice fields. So, the DP/Camera op and myself put on waders, grabbed a couple 6 step ladders and trekked out about 300 feet into the lake. Luckily nothing got dropped into the water and we got the shot with clean dialogue!

I have a photo of it on my website: www.matthewfreed.com Go to photos and it's the 5th one down.

This summer I'll be working on a movie that has both WWII and Iraq battle scenes with planes, tanks, armored personnel carriers, guns, and lots of explosions. I hope I don't hurt myself or my gear!

  • Cool story and cool website. – Utopia May 13 '10 at 16:58

You'll find more stories on this thread, including my own of a lightning strike at 30ft. God was good to me that day.

  • How else would we know we're alive if we didn't have these incidents? – Utopia May 11 '10 at 19:49
  • And here I thought I had searched all over for a similar question. Oh well... – ChrisEngineAudio May 12 '10 at 1:19

Back in my student days, we shot a short film on a prawn trawler. The people who ran the equipment store at uni would have flipped if they knew we were taking that gear out to sea. I remember lowering the 416 on a boom pole, at nearly full extension, to get close waves lapping. The whole time i was thinking "if a rogue wave comes, or if anything comes undone, i'm screwed". I kept recording though, i was on a mission!


I can't think of anything scary enough to be worth posting from my own recording trips, but here's a link to a great article on recording "The Deadliest Catch." It's on page 36.



filming russian firefighters who we're drunk & smoked cigarettes while flying way to old & heavy helicopters

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