TV Timecard and Sound Report Writer apps

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Portable Sound Booth

While I mostly do location sound for reality, I will sometimes get a request for some on-location voiceover recording work. Often it will be for audio-only pickups or some sort of interview for a show. I've also had to do the occasional impromptu VO session for a traveling show I'm on for a promo or the show open, etc. I've had reasonable success with simply finding a quiet room and getting what we can. But to take it one step further, I thought I would try my hand at an ultra-portable sound booth. Well, I did it...and it takes up as much room as my favorite pair of boxers.

Folding mesh cube, unfolded (can you find the sound blanket?)
I remember seeing a portable sound booth a while back called Porta-Booth (whodathunk!?). It simply houses the microphone itself, which is what I'm looking to do. I can see how this item would be ideal for a lot of situations, but I wanted something much more portable. Like, I don't really want to know it's there. After a lot of time on the intraweb, I found this folding mesh cube from the Container Store. Firstly, it spirals out from a flattened square into a 16" cube. With its low-profile design, it definitely met my first criterion. For acoustic purposes, I like that it was mesh so that I could either line it with something on the inside or simply lay something over it. 

Ready to roll

My first gig needing such a contraption allowed for me to bring my sound blanket and set up on a desk for our talent. I laid the blanket down, set the cube on top of it, then folded the blanket on top of the cube from behind. I had ample setup time and listened to the room with and without the box and the box won, hands down! If I had to do this on the road, I would just keep the cube in my suitcase and use some hotel towels or something like that in lieu of the sound blanket. I suspect that would work better than nothing at all. In our scenario pictured here, the questions were being asked via speakerphone, but I do anticipate talent one day needing to read from a script. When that happens, I used a flat, camping-style LED light that I've had to illuminate the box on the inside so the script can be set up in the back and have no problem seeing it. Set the blanket on top of that and BAM, you're a professional!! 

Lighting up the joint!
For those curious, I used a Schoeps MK41 capsule with the low-cut filter in my PSC Universal Shock Mount on a tabletop mic stand.

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