Before we started with Virtual Ambiance, I (Jeroen) had already founded Virtual Fireplace, which is a website and a YouTube channel, where you can watch or download fireplace and campfire videos. This was started as a hobby project to learn web design and also because of my fascination for fire (no, I’m not a Pyromaniac, but just your regular man…). Because the video files were quite large I decided to use YouTube as the video hosting platform and to my surprise these videos got lots of views and comments! Right now the Virtual Fireplace YouTube channel has 100K+ subscribers and keeps growing, which is something I could have never expected! (Below one of the most popular videos from Virtual Fireplace)
I soon found out that people were quite specific about the fireplace sounds and asked me if the sound could be improved and if other sounds could be mixed with it. So I purchased a decent audio recorder (Sony PCM M10) to get better audio to go along with the fireplace video recordings. After a while I started to record more and more nature sounds and also other ambient sounds and my fascination for sound recording was born!
After a while me and one of my friends (Martijn) started Virtual Ambiance to offer a broader variety of ambient video and sound recordings. Martijn already had some experience in building audio equipment and recording animal sounds. Together with a friend, he built a recorder to capture the high frequency sounds bats produce to navigate and ‘see’ their prey
We started out recording mostly weather related sounds like rain, wind, thunder and forest sounds etc. They somehow trigger a very primal part in most human beings and make us feel calm, comforted and connected to nature. Both me and Martijn have a fascination for thunderstorms and it’s quite a challenge to record those sounds, without too much other disturbing sounds. Especially here in the Netherlands, which is a small country with a dense population and thus a lot of human ‘sound pollution’ as well. To the left there is an example of the roads and indication of the dense populated areas in the Netherlands.
So when we go out capturing nature sounds, we have to consider the wind direction, location of the main highways, airplane fly routes and much more, before we can catch some good sounding nature sounds without to much other distracting sounds.
In that sense it’s much easier to get nice nature video recordings, because you can chose such a perspective, that buildings or other human objects etc. are out of view and of course edit the sound to go along with it..
Anyways I thought it would be nice to let you know a bit more about the beginnings of Virtual Ambiance and in one of the next blogs we’ll tell a bit more about what projects and ideas we are currently working on!