Hey Everyone,

I'm getting ready to record all the 4th of July madness...my neighborhood goes CRAZY. I'm within 3 miles of 3 giant displays and my neighborhood nearly outdoes them...and it went on for 4 hours last year. Anyway, I'm hoping to get some good suggestions on recording. I did it last year with my Rode NT-4 going into my Tascam DR-680 and my ZOOM H2. Here's a short sample of one little piece and what I did with it.

Sound Design Sample-Firework Reports by BEC Sound Design

This year I've got my Rode NT-4, a Rode NT-2, a tasty new Sony PCM-D50 and my ZOOM H2. Rodes will go into the Tascam and the Sony and the ZOOM will be placed to get different perspectives.

Any tips on placement or anything else? Rodes will be pointed straight up to all the action and I'm thinking about placing the ZOOM on the roof in the back of my house to catch echoes and reverb and the Sony I just haven't decided.


Started going through the 8 hours of recordings...here's a sample of some of the raw stuff:




Incidentally, Colin Hart wrote a great post about his experiences recording fireworks last week.

The focus is more on specifics (less so ambient sounds), but there's some good ideas about the nature of fireworks sounds in the post, as well as his list of gear, etc: http://hartfx.net/road-trip-special-explosives-and-fireworks/

I've found the biggest problem recording ambient fireworks was music. Organized fireworks displays seem to want to blast classical music with the display, at least up here for Canada day (really now, why?).

So I'd say positioning is important. Prepare to have your set-up mobile so you can reposition to avoid screaming crowds or music to suit your needs. Of course this is not just a matter of moving a few feet - to escape music or crowds you'll likely have to move many blocks.

Especially since it is summer and you're in an urban environment, keep an ear out for HVAC, air conditioning, etc - vent/AC noise can be easily overlooked but will be especially intrusive over the all-important tail of the fireworks blasts.

  • Paul
  • I'll check that post out. Great advice on the HVAC...I'll have mine off and being mobile. Luckily I won't have to deal with screaming crowds and any music. Thanks!!!! – Burning Eye Creative Jun 24 '11 at 17:27

Sorry this post is after the 4th. But I figured I could share what I did this year.

First, I was lucky enough to go to a private fireworks show. So I was able minimize the amount of people around me. Then I was able to get closer then the rest of the crowd (about 80 ft away from where they where setting em off), further minimizing crowd reactions.

I set up my rode ntg-2 about 10-15ft away from the motars and low to the ground. Then from my spot by the recorder, a Marantz pmd661, I used a sennheiser me66 to point up at the sky.

Also because of my location in a valley on a lake there was some awesome reverberations. So a few times I would point my Mic away off toward the hills to capture some of the great echoes.

The biggest problem I run into doing a fireworks show is how the fireworks overlap each other, so its hard to get any isolation. But at least I got a pretty full sound of the show between the two mics.

Unfortunately I've been to busy to take time to go in and edit and mix what I got, but if your interested in hearing it contact me and I'll get a soundcloud file up.

Hope you got some cool stuff this year too, and stayed safe.

  • Thanks for the answer! I got a TON of great stuff! Because there was so much going on I did get a lot of overlap and there was a little HVAC noise...but it's minimal. Here's just a sample of the 8 hours of stuff I've got to edit through: snd.sc/mPleiF – Burning Eye Creative Jul 8 '11 at 20:23

Hey There

This is a little too late for your purposes but....

I have a post on my blog about recording fireworks launched off a frozen lake in the winter, and a free download of the edited down file I recorded (5 minutes of fireworks). It is all from a bit of a distant microphone perspective but you might have a use for it. Check it out if you have a moment. http://www.azimuthaudio.ca/azimuth-blog/2011/6/29/frozen-fireworks.html

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