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Greetings all,

Political demonstrations and unrest on such a grand scale as what is occurring in Egypt, Iran and Syria right now are rare - that's what makes them so interesting to record and preserve. Although they can be unnerving and violent, finding a way to safely record an event like this is important, so long as it can be done without putting yourself in harm's way (at least not too much). The lo-fi snippets I've heard on the news have been amazing, imagine a high fidelity recording.

Do we have any SSDers in those areas?

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Very true Jay! These kind of moments are things that happen rarely and can often go down in history as being life-changing moments. I'd love to hear if any of the community are based over in Egypt. Your post inspired me to upload a recording to soundcloud. It's a recording I captured in downtown Bangkok last year during the anti-government demonstrations by the 'Red Shirts'. Sadly, a few days after I recorded this the demonstrations got a bit more nasty. The 'Red Shirts' refused to disperse and the army began to be more forceful. The resulting bloodshed left many dead and wounded. Unfortunately, I was only recording at 44.1KHz, 16 Bit.

[soundcloud]colin-hunter/bangkok-demonstration[/soundcloud]

  • @Colin, that's excellent - thanks for sharing. – Jay Jennings Feb 2 '11 at 18:07
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Not in Egypt, but I've recorded a couple large protests. Not only are they a great source of crowd sounds, but I feel that the recordings I've made are historically significant. The energy of those moments, and being in the middle of it with my gear, is also hard to forget.

In 2008, a couple days after the elections, I was watching TV in my LA apartment when all of a sudden I heard a loud ruckus outside. Being the sound nerd that I am, I grabbed my Sony PCM D1 and threw on my shoes. I quickly realized that it was a massive protest march against Proposition 8 (banning gay marriage in CA). Hundreds of people were marching down my street. I rolled record and joined the march. I ended up recording until the drive on my Sony filled up. Tons of chants demanding equal rights, horn honks, screaming, police siren wailers, police on megaphones yelling at the marchers blocking traffic, news helicopters etc..

I also recorded a May Day Immigrant Rights protest in Downtown Los Angeles once. Upwards of 5,000 migrant workers protesting for immigrant rights, drumming, yelling, megaphones, vuvuzelas. All bouncing off of the skyscrapers of Downtown LA. Wild stuff. You can hear a sample of those recordings here.

I've worked a few of these sounds into film projects, but I imagine in the end that they'll be more important historically. Hopefully, they'll make it in to a documentary someday down the road.

  • @Justin, always appreciate your comments. Thanks for sharing! – Jay Jennings Feb 2 '11 at 18:50
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    Thanks for reminding me that what we do as field recordists and designers isn't always about finding and recording flashy, whiz-bang sound fx to impress directors. – Justin P Feb 2 '11 at 18:56
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Over at the phonography list, this guy Claudio posted a link to his site: [link text][1] [1]: http://fieldabuse.com/ where you can find some interesting recordings of the upheaval in Egypt. In his own words: "the recordings have been taken in Alexandria (Egypt) from the window of the school where my girlfriend was stucked for 5 days without internet connection and a small amount of food. The sounds have been recorded with a digital camera." Don't know if he's on SSD, just taking the liberty of pointing in his direction... Anyhow, scary listening & good luck over to Egypt!

  • @eye77, that's excellent. Thanks for sharing! – Jay Jennings Feb 2 '11 at 23:12
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Protests can be fun and crazy. In '97 I recorded protests in NYC for police brutality cases that were very consuming. Your heart tore as you heard the details of young kids who were accused of attacking police yet autopsy reports noted numerous bullet wounds entering the palms of these kids hands and palm side of their forearms (showing most were shot with their hands raised; with alleged attacker's firearms never being produced). These marches were fairly tame considering the cause, yet the crowds became wild as armored police officers filed into the streets near protest barriers toward the end of one march. Probably don't have those DATS anymore.

I hope our friends in Egypt are as safe as I was in '97.

  • @Edwardo, would love to hear those recordings if you ever come across the DATs. Thanks for sharing - – Jay Jennings Feb 3 '11 at 20:34
  • Jay, I'll try to find them. I've moved to 2 new cities since and a few new homes in my current home town. I'm curious to know if my memory serves me well on the quality of those recordings. Thanks for the encouragement. I've enjoyed reading your posts. – Edwardo Santiago Feb 5 '11 at 22:04
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A Brazilian voice-over talent I worked with said he used to work for a TV station in Brazil in the late 80s to 90s. He recorded a protest over there where he had to lug a 50-pound recorder around - he had a great story about it and he said he has never recorded nor heard that type of human emotion since - very intense. I can only imagine what it's like over in Egypt right now. Next time I record him I'll ask if he still has something to show us or if it's archived on the net anywhere.

Also, I'm friends with a cameraman who went to South America to do capture some footage and all through the night he was hearing a drug war going on (explosions, random machine-gun fire) and while he was waiting safely in an alleyway before he was told he could walk across the street by his bodyguard, he recorded some of the ambience for me.

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