my favorite sound effect that i recorded for Dunkirk came about as Richard King had been experimenting with sirens at home, striving to recreate the classic, terrifying dive-bombing siren sound of the German Stuka planes of WWII. things quickly got too loud for the neighborhood, so he declared it a field recording mission, and we took off for one of my favorite desert recording areas. after a day of experimenting with different perspectives, we felt the need to make it sound more complex and chaotic. on this following session, we focused on using various resonators that the siren could physically activate, hoping it would induce a more gnarly, out of control vibration. on the way to our location, i had scoured the desert for junk piles, and found this wonderful 55 gallon drum. Richard also brought a 30 gal. that he had at home, and had been making various mounting struts at home to secure the siren. sometimes we flipped the barrel upside down and put the siren on the 'bottom' which acted like a drum head, as well as putting the siren inside the drum, and i mic'd the drum in a few different places, as well as the siren itself. this was the breakthrough we needed! it really helped take the sound from that of a simple fire engine to a more beastly WWII aircraft , with vibrating fuselage. i also set some remote mics out to catch ambient echoes off of the surrounding hills, further adding to the complexity of the tone. of course the sound from my phone videos below will hardly hint at the full effect of the close mics and Richard's subsequent design and mixing... but i'm not about to post everybody's hard (and proprietary) work on the internet anyway. go hear it in the theaters!
FOUR VIDEOS OF THE SESSION: