Monday, March 4, 2013

Don't forget the nat sound underneath

Natural sound was always a major component of my stories. Well, almost always. When I was in my first job no one ever told me about it for the first few months. Then we got a new News Director who was a wonderful teacher and he walked into the edit booth one day and showed me how to use it.

But he didn't just teach me about nat sound breaks, in which you bring the nat sound up full without any voice track, but about running a low level of nat sound along with all your b-roll. That's one component that's often missing in the packages I see.

Here's what I'm seeing: packages that have nat sound breaks and sound bites, but when the voice track starts the nat sound level goes to zero. It's something glaring to veterans and managers.

So, a couple of things to remember:

-Just about all video has natural sound. Make sure you kick up the level so that the viewer can hear it without it overpowering your voice track or sound bite.

-Nat sound breaks don't always need to be abrupt, they can be faded. You can start natural sound before we see the matching video, like bringing it up under the sound bite. And you can fade it down, so that it flows smoothly.

Little stuff like that gets you noticed when you do it, but it also gets you noticed for the wrong reasons when you don't.

Remember, the world has sound. If you want to see how different things are when you forget it, put on a pair of headphones and go outside. You'll see what you, and the viewers, are missing.

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