Real Sound Effects

My trusty old Marantz digital recorder

I prefer to use real sound effects in my audio. I’m working on an audio drama set on a Scottish island, so a ferry trip when I went back to visit friends on the Isle of Arran was too good a chance to miss recording its noises.  Although my listener may never concentrate on the background sounds in a piece of audio, it’s still important for them to be genuine.  The subliminal effect of hearing actual sounds makes the audio much more believable.

Recording in public places presents some legal niceties.  Not least of which is, what is a public place. Still, I work on the basis of being discrete and not offending anyone. Secret Squirrel, OK? 

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Don Roberto and the Four Fathers.

I’m proud to claim Don Roberto among my relations. Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham founded the Scottish National Party. He was a passionate advocate of independence for Scotland. His memorial at Gartmore is carved with the words “Famous author, traveller and horseman. Patriotic Scot and citizen of the world. He was a master of life – a king among men.” I really wish I’d met him.

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Making Noises for Sound Effects.

They say the pictures are better on radio. That’s why I’m making noises for sound effects. I’m putting more sounds into By The Way stories. It’s all about helping to create the environment where the dialogue takes place and to immerse my listener in the story. I know it’s an indulgence, but here’s how I put together 14 seconds of audio to convey the horror of a gas attack during the Great War. The attack recounted took place at Reningelst on 18 April 1918.

The image is of a Gas Rattle similar to the one used to warn soldiers that a gas attack was underway. No one could blow a whistle while wearing a gas helmet.

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