Audio piece: Winter’s Rest

This is a short audio piece which was originally created for the In The Dark Christmas party – however it didn’t quite fit the bill in the end, being as it is, devoid of any Christmas cheer. Anyway, I thought I’d better not let it go to waste and instead make it available on here – I suppose this is the obligatory Christmas themed post.

Image: youngdoo (Flickr)

It’s another short piece (see Adam as machine) which has fallen out of The D-Word, a documentary I produced over the summer which will be appearing on Transom.org early in the new year. This piece features pathologist, Dr Stuart Hamilton and was recorded in the mortuary at the Sunderland Royal Infirmary back in July. The material I recorded with Stuart at the mortuary only forms a small part of the overall documentary, yet I think it’s interesting enough to justify an entire piece on it’s own, maybe I’ll get around to it one day.

Dr Hamilton explained to me how winter was a particularly busy period for the mortuary staff, with mortality rates increasing in the elderly over the colder months of the year. Another interesting point was that they tended to receive an increase in the number of decomposed bodies at Christmas, but I’ll let you listen to the piece to find out why…

I’m not going to go into a massive rant on how important it is to make an effort to spend time with family, because I’m particularly guilty of not doing so. It just seems that the mortuary staff gain a depressing insight into the mistakes we make and how we choose to lead our lives.

 

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4 thoughts on “Audio piece: Winter’s Rest

  1. Hi Ed, Would you mind sharing what kind of microphone you used when recording Dr Hamilton as you followed him around the mortuary please? I’m trying to find something that works while people are on the move. Thanks.

    1. Hi Alison,

      Of course – the recordings featured on this piece were made using two different recorders. The material which is in situ, walking about inside the mortuary was recorded with a Zoom H4n using the internal mics and recording in stereo, the ‘close-up’ interviews were recorded using a Marantz PMD661 with a single AKG D 230 (I think) recording in mono.

      The Zoom was a great piece of kit (and pretty cheap ~£240) – fits in the hand and can be directed like a microphone – very portable and ideal for use on the move. It captures really nice environmental stereo soundscapes and of course any voices within them.

      If you listen to the full documentary this was taken from (https://onthenatureofthings.com/2012/02/05/the-d-word/) or the Mortuary audio tour (https://onthenatureofthings.com/2011/08/05/the-hospital-mortuar/) I posted, you can hear the difference between the two devices – the zoom was used for recording on the move, while the Marantz (larger and more of a hassle to operate on the move) for the close-up, sit down interviews which were overlaid over the top of the Zoom recordings.

      I liked the interchange between the isolated close-up (marantz) and in-situ (zoom) recordings.

      I’ve also pinged this in an email to you in case you have any other questions!

      Ed

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