Producing : The image vs the sound by Jody Yvette Wirt

Jody Yvette Wirt

The image vs the sound

I produce media, and for me that doesn't only mean television, shorts and films- that means radio too! Yes, radio seems a bit outdated, why just have sound when you can have a picture, too? But there is a freedom and joy to making radio- you can do it without extensive post-production so it has an immediacy and simplicity that is appealing to me. When I say 'radio', many of you probably think of the radio in your car and the annoying stations that you don't like to listen to because of commercials and obnoxious on-air personalities. I confess I don't have a car and don't listen to the FM band much. When I think of radio, I think of actual radio programs, pirate radio stations, and the tons of creative podcasts available. When listening to a good radio programming, the eyes can relax, the ears open up and the imagination flows. For creative good-health, radio is inspiring. I especially like the old dramas, like Mystery Science Theater and Lights Out! I also like some of the old comedies, like The Bickersons and Fibber McGee and Molly. Of course The Goon Show is the most bizarre program ever in any format, and has inspired generations of comedians! I find myself reflecting on my relationship with radio today because my 5yo son made his 170th podcast of A Cup of Coffee with Thomson yesterday! His Dad is a trained radio engineer and on-air personality (along with a writer/director) so this has been a great way for the 2 of them to bond and do something fun that they love. Now those 170+ episodes will be there forever in the internet cosmos, long after none of us are around anymore. Its a beautiful thing! So although on Stage32 the emphasis is on theater, film and television, I'd like to send up a little love for real radio.

Giselle Marie

Great post! I've been thinking of turning all of my article on my site to podcast material and this inspired me even more!

Mike Sanders

Here here, the radio or "wireless" as was, had the best film sets, the best looking characters, the best scenery, because it was all in the listener's head. It is also a one to one medium with comment like "you lot out there" totally banned, "dear listener" being the better intimate address. Q. How many listeners are there? A. Just one. Providing the sound is clear (dialogue) and the sound effects just enough to set the scene it always works well. There is a lesson there for film and video. If the sound is good and holds the story together some surprisingly bad images can be tolerated, but if converesely the images are brilliant but the sound is bad, it is left in the backwaters of "I will watch it if chained to the armchair". Even the BBC got that wrong with its Jamaica Inn drama, maybe the sound could have been pushed up some more but it is the directors fault in this case. for allowing the actor to mumble. This left the audience with no backup from lip reading ability at that point, as the actor's mouth isn't forming the words properly, so they simply couldn't understand the dialogue. Many wrote in and complained. Of course the poor sound op/editor gets the blame, but how much recovery of clarity in practical terms can be achieved from poor acting and source recordings after the event, is probably very little. Get the sound good crisp and clear and the pictures stand a chance of being noticed, that's how important it is.

Mike Sanders

BTW I did teach Competences in Radio Journalism in the local 6th Form college (kind of Highschool) just for fun 1 day a week and the students had to do a 30 second advert, a vox pops feature, a news broadcast, and a half hour radio programme. That was good fun getting the students through the only computer available that was up to the job; the one I brought along. The students were of course instructed about non leading questions and letting the listener make up their mind what was right or wrong about the facts presented when a factual documentary was being produced. I also ran 15 minute short story competitions on local radio generated from all the writers cricles in the area, and we used to use local actors to record them for broadcast. There is everything good about remembering that stuff when applying sound to accompany the visual image and planning what you are going to do.

Mike Sanders

A line I remember from the Goons "knock knock..............knock knock (on a chinamans door) are you Mr R Pong? Reply; "Yes we are open 'till 11 o'clock" said with chinese accent of course "open" comes out similarly to R Pong. The isolated pieces of comedy are not teribly good on their own but kept up the listner's smile.

Doug Nelson

I too remember radio of days gone by with a great deal of affection. My parents would leave me home alone some nights and I recall sitting on the floor in the dark in front of a dresser sized Cyclops with the glowing green tuning eye – The Shadow Knows.

Christine Koehler

I listen to all Old Time Radio programs in my car on Serious. I tired of the news, music and talk shows. And Doug, I JUST listened to The Shadow Knows….

Doug Nelson

Yes, radio broadcasts of yesteryear continue to burn bright in the minds of those of us old enough to remember. It’s an art form that is unfortunately lost to contemporary society. What a shame. Half a century later the “Shadow Knows” still lives on in my memory.

Andre Hunt

Speaking of the green tuning eye, which arrived in the thirties on the Zenith consoles, I bought a used tube that does this very thing on ebay for a Zenith I'm reconditioning just a short while ago.

Doug Nelson

A few years back, I picked up an old Crosley table top tube receiver. I stuck an antenna wire on, plugged it in and turned it on. I was amazed that it still worked; after the startup hum subsided and I tuned through the heterodyne squeal – the first voice I heard was “The Shadow what evil lurks in the heart of a man” – I jumped back and was pretty sure I had entered The Twilight Zone - turned out someone was advertising olde tyme radio show tapes. SCARY!

Simon © Simon

They call it Podcast now

Deborah Hyatt

"Audio theater" is the most inclusive term that is still specific to this particular art form, which may be distributed via radio, websites or podcasts. I've written extensively for Chatterbox Audio Theater and follow numerous other theaters online. A lot of people enjoy OTR (Old Time Radio) style shows but I prefer modern original programming, and I encourage anyone who likes the traditional stuff to explore what's on offer today. Some theaters focus on producing long, ongoing series, some do only one type of show (comedy sketch, for instance), some are fan-productions of published works. There's really something for everyone. Chatterbox does all sort of stuff, including literary adaptations, children's shows, horror/Halloween, sketch comedy, some stuff that can only be described speculative or alternative fiction ... All shows are free for the listening! http://chatterboxtheater.org/ If you're looking for shows/theaters find me on twitter @dhwrtr and check out who I follow. Lots of audio theaters in there.

James David Sullivan

How about "The Sound and The Fury"? ;-)

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