A nature recording from Brøndbyskoven on the first sunny spring morning, March 8th 2015. The weather forecast had predicted temperatures approaching 10C, however in the morning hours around 9, it felt windy and not very warm.

IMG_3784This forest located in the suburb of Copenhagen and is almost surrounded by motorways. On this morning only very few natural sounds were audible; a few tweets and hissing leaves. The all dominating sound was man-made and came from the motorway, -that is even for an early Sunday morning.
This forest would be completely different place if  the traffic noise was absent. It is easy to imaging how a constant, 24-7 background noise disturbs and stresses birds and animals. It simply makes it difficult to communicate over distances. Likely the birds will try to sing louder (and more harshly) in order to break though the background noise.

It is my clear experience from audio recordings in nature, that traffic noise, followed by air traffic, are by far the dominating man-made sounds. In this context, noise from wind turbines are exceeded by magnitudes, yet still wind turbines at desolate locations are yet another noise source that adds up in the total picture. Anyway wind turbines should not be a problem near busy roads since the noise is simply downed by the cars.

360 degrees panorama from the recording site

360 degrees panorama from the recording site. Forward direction of the recording corresponds to the center of the image. Location: 55.647841, 12.436417

With this field recording I am testings and comparing 4 different recording setups. It is my plan with a new binaural setup, one day, to be able to add an extra layer realism into the nature recordings. As by now, it has not really succeeded yet.

1. Standard nature recording setup

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Posted by: recordingsofnature | November 22, 2014

Tree-Ears microphone setup

This is a demonstration of an another variant of the binaural microphone setup presented in the last post. This concept could well be called something like a tree-ears microphone setup. I think it can be useful for many types of nature recordings including for remote unattended recording stations. Furthermore, It should have potential for good sound capturing, being easy to install and stay relatively compact and unnoticed.

Tree ears setup

Basically, the mechanical parts of this prototype are just the same as used in the previous post. Only now, the two sides are strapped on to a suitable sized tree trunk. Clearly, there is no room for the Earthworks microphones, so I’m using a smaller custom made microphone setup based on the Primo 172 capsules.

Below is a test recording with the setup, directly connected to the microphone inputs of the Microtrack II recorder. It is captured in Ballerup, Denmark November 5th 2014 at sunset – same location as previous post,  just 10 minutes after.

Being the first raw take with the setup, only post processed with a low frequency (<30Hz) rumble filter, I think the sound is surprisingly good and with a low noise floor (apart from wind noise). This is also surprising taking into account that this is a set of low cost of the microphones which can be bought for ~£25.

Details about the setup are in the following.

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Posted by: recordingsofnature | November 12, 2014

Binaural nature recording and setup

My personal aim with nature recordings is to just capture the nature, the weather, the seasons, the situation as it is out there. I hope to let the listener experience and get a sensation of a particular spot and time through photos and especially  sound. Let it be a little trip and a break away from the daily restless digital information rush. A few minutes where you will only use your ears and imagination. Sit with closed eyes, or look at the photos from the take.


This recording is a first experiment with a new binaural recording setup, where the microphones listens through a pair of plastic human ears. The binaural recording setup imitates the human head including the outer ears, so when listening in headphones, the sound that is feed into your ear canal is captured directly under the same conditions as when you actually hear. Hereby the sound experience has a chance of becoming very realistic with respect to stereo perspective and frequency response.

Headphones are needed, as binaural recordings are not well reproduced using speakers. The recording is made November 9th 2014 in Ballerup, Denmark near Sømosen and DTU ballerup campus. The last hour before getting dark.  Not much is happening. Hissing leafs, air planes and a constant traffic dominates the soundscape. Approx. 10C which is mild.  Apart form that, the autumn is just full of subtle sounds.

IMG_3329 view of the recording setup Read More…

With this investigation I hope to bring a view into how various low-level image sampling and related processes, including pixel binning, pixel skipping and Bayer demosaic algorithms, affect the image quality particularly with respect to the appearance of aliasing and Moiré.

The focus here is DSLR video systems, which typically use quality compromising methods to reduce the computational load when  scaling down of the multi-MP sensors designed for still images. As the pixel count of those sensors increases the down-scaling becomes more demanding and computational heavy.

While newer DSLR cameras seem to have come a long way solving this problem, aliasing is still a main problem for many digital cameras, and it is not an easy tassk to find information on what underlying processes are. Having this information is crucial for the design of optical antialiasing filters (low pass filters)  matching the various  DSLR video cameras.

In this (rather long) article I will present simulation results from a range of different pixel binning, pixel skipping and demosaic schemes (btw. chroma subsampling no included) in order to see the effect on image quality and to see if it is possible to replicate the observed aliasing and Moiré of the Nikon d5100 best. This may also be used to evaluate the sampling method of other cameras, when using the same video test and compare with the simulation results. Read More…

Posted by: recordingsofnature | August 26, 2014

Effect of pixel fill factor on aliasing and Moiré

This is an investigations of how the pixel fill factor in the image sampling process influences aliasing and Moiré. It is here done by use of a sampling simulation (terated as simple mono chromatic – no Bayer filters etc.)  just to illustrate the fundamental aspects.

The low pass filtering is an essential part of any image sampling process, serving to eliminate any high frequency component that cannot be reproduced with the given sampling rate and resolution. Any frequency detail above half the sampling rate (Fs/2= the Nyquist rate) will be reproduced as mirrored and aliased frequency artifacts, only contributing with artifacts and noise to the sampled image.


Test chart with indication of locations of the harmonics of the Nyquist frequency

Test chart with indication of locations of the harmonics of the Nyquist frequency= Fs/2 of the sampled image. The original high resolution chart found here.

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Posted by: recordingsofnature | February 27, 2014

Simple test to evaluate DSLR video aliasing and Moiré performance

[Updated article…]

Aliasing and Moire issues are heavily discussed topics for DSLR HD video, however the performance evaluations remain very subjective and are typically based on random Youtube or Vimeo videos. Adding to this, camera manufactures hardly disclose any details about the related actual sensor level pixel processing.

This is an alternative method to determine /characterize the aliasing and Moire performance of a DSLR video. Basically, the method is a scanning for critical line densities which produce interferences/resonances in the image. Knowing this will give hints on what is going on at the low level sampling process, reveling the effective vertical and horizontal resolutions. This will also provide information on the requirements for an optical antialising filter, ie. the blur diameter needed, to eliminate the aliasing artifacts.

The test is demonstrated in the videos:

The Test

The test is basically 2 fine line patterns (stacks of 600 lines), one vertical and one horizontal. To carry out the test, simply record a video of the test patterns while zooming in and out.  In this way, the sensor is  scanned for line densities with critical interferences/resonance.  A subsequent analysis of the video will readily provide precise respective line density values. (Bear in mind that this line pattern is designed to be a worst case scenario for provoking Moire patterns)

The line patterns can be printed from this document:  600 lines – line width 0.5.pdf , -alternative line widths are available here: 600 lines – line width 0.2.pdf and  600 lines – line width 1.0.pdf

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Posted by: recordingsofnature | December 19, 2013

Field recording by bicycle – Copenhagen – 2nd December 2013

Being a quite experienced cyclist in Copenhagen, I like to share some of my experiences from the bicycle lane, – here through a few portable field recordings (audio+video). At the moment it’s interesting to follow the development of the cyclist culture in this city – as the number of cyclists grows and the formal regulation is very limited.

Østerbrogade morning December 2013

Østerbrogade morning December 2013

The following footages are captured from the bicycle using a new portable setup for my audio field recording equipment. First part of the footage is captured at 8:30 am, riding the bike from Copenhagen University Amager to Fisketorvet. Listen with headphones for best experience.

The audio track alone with regular 320 kbps mp3:

This second part is from around noon. Going from Stormbroen, Christiansborg to Østerbrogade through Kgs. Nytorv.

The audio track alone with regular 320 kbps mp3:

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Posted by: recordingsofnature | August 24, 2013

Morning recording in Copenhagen / Amager

This is a field recording from nearly the center of Copenhagen, 22nd August 2013 during the morning rush hour. The view shows a the green and beautiful areas from the old fortification system, however the sound image is completely dominated by the busy road just a few meters behind. There were also plenty of bicycles and runners in the area, but there is no doubt that the dominating sound in the city comes from cars.

Green areas in front of the microphone head, but the sound image is dominated by a busy road, just at few meters behind.

Green areas in front of the microphone head, but the sound image is dominated by a busy road, just at few meters behind.

Listen to the 24 minutes long field recording below, and also check out the 360 degrees panorama from the take on the link further below.

Download mp3 56MB

Follow the link on the image to see the 360 degrees panorama from the take.

Follow the link on the image to see the 360 degrees panorama from the take.

Follow the link on the image to see the 360 degrees panorama from the take. The microphones were pointing towards the bench by the lake, thus all the traffic noise comes from behind.

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Posted by: recordingsofnature | May 23, 2013

Sound of Rain – Nature recording Copenhagen May 2013

This is a nature recording from a rainy evening May 21st, 2013 in Østre Anlæg,- a park in central Copenhagen. During the last 2 weeks the leaves on any tree or bush have now unfolded. This is about 2-3 weeks later than last year. But now, what before was bare and gray is now heavily green and dense. And with the rain the experience is further enhanced by smells and sounds.

Recording setup in the rain, Østre Anlæg Copenhagen

Recording setup in the rain, Østre Anlæg Copenhagen

The recording was captured at 7-7.30 pm. The location is a central park in Copenhagen, part of the old fortification ring encircling the medieval city.

Frequent loud sounds of trains at the next door train track is the main remainder of this is in the middle of the city. The trains are producing some radical cuts through the otherwise relaxing sound scape.

With this recording an umbrella is placed above the recording setup to shelter the microphones and camera from the rain. The rain drops hitting the umbrella is what produces the loudest distinct rain drop sound.

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Posted by: recordingsofnature | February 28, 2013

Nature recording, Silent winter day February, Amager Fælled.

This is a nature recording from a gray February winter day at Amager fælled (24th Feb. 2013),  just a few kilometers from Copenhagen centre.  This cold, quiet and colorless recording should be seen in contrast to the green and luxuriant scenes, at the exact same location during mid summer, as can be seen in this previous recording from last year.

Amager fælled, February 2013-1

Gray winter scenes at Amager fælled, February 2013

The audio nature recording can be heard here (put on headphones for full experience)

Download Mp3 16:30 minutes

(Put on headphones to get the best experience!)

I think winter is very quiet, and the quietness sharpens your ears.  But the result is often, that the man-made city sounds becomes very pronounced.  So that means on the recording, the audible sounds are dominated and various city sounds, metro, planes, road noise, ambulances. While the nature itself are here  represented by noisy magpies.

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