Once a scene has been established, reduce the SFXs!
(Even if you feel that this is illogical in the context of the scene)
YOU PROBABLY CREATE TOO MUCH 'NOISE' IN A SCENE - IN YOUR FIRST POST-PRODUCTION DRAFT
SOUND BED - ATMOS (as outside atmos, restaurant, museum, space ship cabin) - (1) You introduce at the beginning of the scene; (2) you BRING DOWN under the dialogue; (3) you nudge it up occasionally. LOCATION FXS - once established at the beginning of the scene, probably need to be used sparingly. The listeners have got the message. LISTEN TO PROFESSIONAL RADIO DRAMA SCENES. You will learn the techniques. Just because you have the FXS (in SOUND BOX) doesn't mean you have to use them a lot. This isn't a film sound track. Your product is not as 'fussy' as that. A sound bed can interfere with the dialogue, once the listeners have registered it. For more - see Atmos bed (underneath the scene dialogue) - establishes scene location or scenery (on the RADIO DRAMA SITE)
See Signposting - further definition
See Signposting - more - Signposting and establishing location
See Standard production
Student Emily says:
This was another challenging technique to learn.
Basically, when I add sound effects to a scene (such as banging and clashing in 4.1.2, milk emptying and pouring into glass bottles in 4.4.3 or sandwiches being made in 4.3.4), I feel that the effects need to carry on throughout the scene.
I establish them at the beginning, sometimes as signposting, sometimes just because the characters are discussing what they're doing, and then I let them go on and on, right the way through the scene.
But what is needed? The FXs need to be established at the top of the scene, and linked with description. But then the FXs need to be used sparingly throughout the rest of the scene. FXs quickly become annoying. They can mask (interfere with) the dialogue.
Of course, the FXs need to be nudged up a bit, now and again, in the dialogue - to remind the listeners. Their memory has to be jogged now and again. You do not want to turn the scene into a neutral acoustic.
Alan (teacher) caught me out on many occasions and explained how it is an accepted convention of radio drama to fade up and then lose effects a lot for the rest of the scene.
I think that if I had exposed myself to more radio drama I would have accepted this convention with more ease, because I honestly did find it hard to "lose" the effect.
However, now that the project is over and I have been able to listen to more radio drama as well as examples of some of my peers' work, I have become aware that keeping those types of effects in a scene right the way through just becomes irritating.
In the same way that a television spectator accepts that drinks in The Vic are often ordered but rarely drunk, a radio listener accepts that characters were 'making sandwiches' to signpost the location and action, and are now no longer making those high-pitched, peaky, crackly irritating sounds which signalled to us what they were doing.
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