Studio Pro-Audio

Flies, bees and mosquitos are no threat to DPA Microphones

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 14:47

David Kamp

DPA’s d:screet™ 4060 Miniature Microphones proved the perfect choice for sound recordist David Kamp when he was putting together audio for a new sound library collection entitled Insects & Swarms.

The clue to what he was recording is in the name – thousands and thousands of flies, bees, mosquitos and locusts, some of which were recorded individually while others were captured as part of a large insect swarm.

Kamp, who records and designs sound for animation, art and museum installations, commercials, short films, games and VR, chose d:screet™ 4060 Miniature Microphones for this project for their sound quality and because they were small enough to fit inside tight places such as bee hives and terrariums full of flies.

Based in Berlin, Kamp’s interest in sound recording started in early childhood and led him to study electroacoustic music composition and sound engineering at the Folkwang University of the Arts. A few years ago he decided to invest in the best mobile recording equipment available and actively go out hunting for exciting sound effects and ambiences to use in his project work. This newly found interest led him to form Shapingwaves, a company that makes these sounds available to other sound designers as themed collections.

Kamp’s Insects & Swarms collection began when he needed a sound effect of a long continuous wing buzz for a project he was working on and realised that his personal sound library did not cover this.

The project started in Kamp’s studio but he was soon recording beehives in Germany and cicadas in remote olive groves in Greece. With the help of a doctor friend at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin he managed to capture mosquito sounds by recording the insects in the Institute’s massive Insectariums.

Kamp’s collection was recorded at 96 kHz with the microphones running into either a Sound Devices 633 or a Sonosax SX-R4+ recorder.

“For the bee hive sounds, I used the 4060s in many different places: on the exterior left and right of the entrance to get close pass by sounds, and between the racks containing the hives,” he says. “Some of my favourite recordings were done by placing them inside the hive’s box only inches away from the insects. It sounds like being in another world.”

Despite close exposure to creatures most people would run away from, Kamp says he has never been stung by any insect bigger than a mosquito in his entire life.

“I am not a big bug enthusiast, so I am pretty happy to be done with these recordings, but provided you wear protective clothing there’s no real risk. Bees are quite friendly and not very aggressive. While recording the bee swarms I had headphones on to monitor the interior mics. Hearing the insects as if they were right inside my ear did cause some hasty hand gestures!”

Insects & Swarms is now available through Shapingwaves and Kamp has already used some of the sounds on animated short films.