Thursday, February 11, 2010

Be gentle with the nat sound

Nothing annoys me more than a certain local station that blasts ear-splitting tones before weather crawls. It's so loud it makes you jump out of your chair... and it makes me change the channel because they make whatever show I'm watching unwatchable.

That said, I've seen plenty of packages with jarring nat sound pops. I'm glad to see that most of you are actually using nat sound, but it needs to be treated gently. If not, it's almost like sneaking up on the viewer with an air horn.

Think about what happens when you get into your car. You start the car, and if the radio was on the last time you drove, it comes on at the same level you left it. If you were blasting music, it will probably make you jump. Most people turn on their radios and gradually adjust the volume.

The same holds true for nat sound... you don't want the viewer to jump. When editing, it's important to fade your nat sound in both directions. Fades can be very quick, but they must be used.

Fading up or down makes your package smoother, and lets the nat sound flow with the other elements of the story. Whether you're editing tape-to-tape or non-linear, it's very easy to do.

And don't just clip your nat sound because it is running into a sound bite or your voice track. Fade it down and then run it under the next element in your package.

Using nat sound effectively shows a News Director that you're aware of its importance. Using nat sound with style shows you have great attention to detail.

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