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The Sounds of Jeju Island

For 설문대 할망의 전설 (The Legend of Seolmundae Halmang), my animated film-in-progress, I also captured the sounds of Jeju Island! So authentic!

In addition to letting me make use of their studio space to record the dialogue for the animation, Branksome Hall also graciously lent me the use of field recording equipment to capture environmental sounds of Jeju Island. These are some of the results:


I parked my motorbike on a small bridge and started hiking up this dry riverbed, fleeing the sounds of the highway and the farms beyond the treeline. An afternoon mist was pushing up against the mountainside, shrouding the landscape but not the percussive sounds of civilization which seemed to funnel up the riverbed from the unseen city below. I had to climb for the better part of an hour before I was able to properly catch the symphony of birdsongs and insect chirps that surrounded me.

North Coast

Near the Jocheon Land Bridge I walked out on the rocks and tried to capture the sounds of Jeju’s windy north coast. In the Seolmundae Halmang myth, the giant goddess Seolmundae agreed to build a bridge for the Jeju villagers, but then smashed it to pieces when they couldn’t keep up their side of the bargain. The rocky spit of land in the photograph below is the supposed remnant of this legendary bridge. The tide was coming in, and the sky was darkening rapidly, so after a couple attempts to shield the field recorder from the wind and the spray, I high-tailed it back to shore before I got stranded out in the middle of the ocean.


At dusk I cut inland from the coast and travelled up the damp, tropical south side of Halla Mountain (the north slope, facing Jeju City, is much dryer than the south). Away from the ubiquitous sounds of ‘civilization’ (traffic and dogs) I tried to capture the sounds of Jeju’s nocturnal wildlife.


Down closer to the south coast I pulled up a side street overlooking Jungmun Golf Club. The lights of the resorts and the casinos of Jungmun blazed like fires just over the horizon, but the grounds below me were pitch black and fairly screaming with the sound of crickets and frogs.

Jungmun Waves

And finally, I drove down to Jungmun Beach to capture sounds of the ocean.

I only had the field recorder for a couple days, but I think I managed to cover a lot of ground and capture some great Jeju sounds!

This was my sound log list:

And the recording locations:

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[…] tell the story that it needs to.   For example: the very first scene depicts the creation of Jeju Island by the goddess Seolmundae Halmang. If you go to Jeju today, you’ll see a monstrous dome of […]

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