At work we're planning a smashing and impact recording session which is going to be very messy with lots of broken glass, crockery, fruit and anything else we can get our hands on. We'd usually do this sort of a session outdoors but seeing that it's horribly cold and snowy here, we're planning on doing it indoors instead. I'm thinking about using dust sheets over plastic - but would really like to hear what solutions you guys have. So here's my question - when you guys do messy recordings indoors, what materials do you use on the floor and walls to 1. protect your studio environment 2. make it easier to clean up 3. are sonically acceptable?

  • Tim might be able to chime in with some expertise on this matter after having created a stellar produce violence library set ;) – Stavrosound Jan 8 '12 at 8:56

Similar to what some have posted here, I built a temporary booth I can easily assemble and disassemble out of PVC pipe and elbows. Then, using spring loaded clips attached one layer of plastic and one layer of painters tarp to all four sides and over the top. The floor is rubber mat covered with more painter tarp. The plastic for keeping liquids controlled and the tarp because the plastic can be a bit too reflective. If you are doing marginally liquidy stuff you can skip the plastic and just use the tarps.

It's very easy to put up and take appart. The only downside is if you are doing really high impact stuff that sends debriS flying readily, the debris can hit the sides of the booth making unwanted noises.

The whole thing cost around a hundred bucks and is mostly reusable depending on how bad you soil the tarps.

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  • @Seph Lawerence - nice idea to build the frame out of PVC pipes, that should make it pretty light too. – RedSonic01 Jan 15 '12 at 14:33

What I've done in the past is lay out a bunch of plastic (painter's drop cloth) with packing blankets laid over top. The blankets are thick enough that they muffle any plastic sounds pretty well (though if you're going to have heavy movements, you'll probably get a little bit of noise), and the combination protects the floor far better than a fabric painters drop cloth will.

For the walls, and I've only done this once, we used a bunch of C-Stands to string up some heavy fabric to catch splatter...sand bags weighing down the bottom of the fabric. I left a lot of slack in them so that they would "catch" materials, instead of "stopping" them. They were also spaced well away from the walls; so that the fabric wouldn't touch them if something hit them hard.

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  • @Shaun Farley The plastic with something soft over the time is what I also had in mind. making some traps for splatter is a good idea - – RedSonic01 Jan 9 '12 at 18:34
  • @RedSonic01 - it can work well, but the more secure it is on the floor, the less noise it will produce. stretch the plastic out taught, and use some painters tape (the blue, clean release, stuff) to fix it to the floor. the less it can fold over on itself, the better. – Shaun Farley Jan 9 '12 at 19:22
  • @Shaun Farley One thing that came to mind is using the type of plastic that they use for dry cleaning, this is very thin and relatively noiseless. I use them in the field for keeping gear dry. could be a good alternative to plastic sheets. – RedSonic01 Jan 15 '12 at 14:38

I actually recently spent a full day in B & Q (british DIY superstore) buying insane amount of cloth, dust sheets and wood to try make a sort of target / capture area.

I recorded some glass smashing several months ago, and no matter how hard I tried at the time it got EVERYWHERE. So making this dedicated DIY pit of sorts was the only thing I could think of.

Definitely worth putting the time in protecting your floor and walls, or you end up like me with glass embedded in your walls. Not always a good look.

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  • Yep. I bought tarpaulin for wet moments too. Not advisable if you are doing lots of movement as the tarp will sound off – Nairn Beattie Jan 9 '12 at 10:00

Actually that is a good point, you can get water resistant rain covers for your blimp, which apparently make little or no sound when water hits it, it simply drips off. Surely there is a cheap alternative that people could bulk buy to help water resist area while recording, with that awful CRUNCH, when you accidentally move onto the tarp.

That would be an amazing way to help protect area's silently.

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I've done basically what Shawn has mentioned with c-stands and plastic/cloth combonations.

Also, when doing gore sounds (vegetables, actual pigs, bones, etc) I used a cheap blow up baby pool in the recording space. It worked well to capture juicy. bloody elements and cheap enough to just carry out and toss in the dumpster when finished.

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  • imagine the garbos finding that! – ofa Jan 10 '12 at 9:05
  • @Brad Dale - baby pool that's great! – RedSonic01 Jan 15 '12 at 14:34

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