Hyena Finds Sony Digital Field Recorder Too Tough To Swallow
TANZANIA: Globe-trotting DP Jim Kinsey took a Sony PCM-D1 digital field recorder on a recent 21 day African safari. The game plan was to capture high-quality animal sound effects along with footage he was shooting for a stock library.
One evening Kinsey left the unit in an enclosed leopard blind they‘d built to surreptitiously film the animals. When he returned the next morning, the PCM-D1 was gone. At first he thought it had been stolen by poachers, but the ground around the blind was peppered with distinctive hyena tracks. A careful search of the area turned the unit up. “It was covered with mud, and the furry windscreen had been chewed up and spat out,” Kinsey reports. “But the stainless steel roll bar protected the twin electret condenser mics. There were two serious canine bite dents on the front, the glass covering the VU meters was scratched, but not broken, and the rear battery compartment lid was cracked. Considering the fact that hyenas have the strongest bone crushing jaws in the jungle, the PCM-D1 came through remarkably unscathed. Hopefully,” he adds, “a taste of battery acid has taught that scavenger a lesson he won‘t forget. Don‘t mess with Sony.”
The value of the rugged titanium case was driven home when Kinsey secured a spare battery pack in the unit with black electrical tape and powered it on. “It worked flawlessly throughout the two week shoot,” he says. “We captured elephant trumpets, leopard roars, monkey cries and wild bird calls. The sound quality is impeccable. I purchased the unit because of its reputation for extremely high quality audio, and because I‘m generally working in rugged wilderness locations. I need a light weight, hand-held recorder that will hold up under severe conditions. The titanium body is clearly worth the investment. With 96 kHz-24 bit, noise-free recording, a 4GB Internal Flash Memory and built-in X-Y configured mics, I‘ve been able to capture extraordinary stereo sound in some seriously extreme locations. It‘s like taking a full-blown recording studio along in your knapsack.”
Jim Kinsey is co-owner of Shoshone Wilderness Productions, Hamilton, MT., and a partner in Wildfirestockfootage.com. He has shot for National Geographic‘s Ultimate Explorer, Women Smoke Jumpers and many outdoor video productions including the 2007 Silver Telly Award-winning The Nolser Story for the Nolser Bullet Company.