Scene boundaries - CHART FOR CHOICES
Making the transition from scene to scene. Into scenes. Out of scenes.

You have the following choices:

 'ARCHERS' FADE - fade out to silence (2 seconds or less) and fade in the new scene
 Music bridge and music FX  FX (sound effect) bridge  ATMOS BRIDGE MONTAGE
 Non-realist and 'art' pieces - other techniques

CUT and FADE offer different rhythms to the overall play.

Listen to radio plays to observe these techniques.

You become skilled in the CREATIVE FADE.

 CUT - 'STRAIGHT INTO' or 'STRAIGHT OUT OF' (instantaneous change) - the scene starts straight in or ends suddenly
 FADE or DISSOLVE - the scene dialogue is faded IN / OUT. You choose how gradually (SLOWLY) or how quickly (STEEPLY).
 FADE IN SLOWLY - new scene begins with the dialogue being gradually heard, and then up to the required level for conversation. (But this is all within a few seconds.) Ditto FADE OUT SLOWLY.
 FADE IN STEEPLY - new scene begins with the dialogue being speedily heard. Ditto FADE OUT STEEPLY.

CUT - excitement - abruptness - energy

CUT - 'STRAIGHT OUT OF' - a sudden change - lack of connection with the previous scene

CUT - 'STRAIGHT OUT OF' - a strong emphasis at the end of a scene

CUT - 'STRAIGHT INTO' - start a new scene with energy - activity - eagerness - plunging the listeners into the 'mise-en-scène' - representation of the play scene, locations, spaces and perspectives


 FADE IN and FADE OUT need to suit the purposes of the dialogue, the characters and the situation.

Your directing of this in the production phase in the studio, AND your work on this in post-production makes an editing comment on those vital elements - dialogue, characters, situation - and how they relate to each other.


 Top of the scene - signposting & description
 Signposting - technique for establishing the location at the beginning of a scene
 Top of scene (technique) - establishing sound centre - first character speaking (perspective & sound picture)





Setting the scene


 sound centre and   Point of listening = POL

 To index





This is what is called 'invisible' post-production editing. The production does not call attention to itself. You go for continuity editing.

You are not offering a 'mirror' on the Lifeworld. You may wish to have the play draw attention to itself.

You may wish the play to comment on the production.
You may wish to go for - to use film terms - shock cutting (cross-cutting alternating two or more lines of action going on in different places), montage etc.
You may want a rhythm that is jerky, disjointed.

Music bridge and music FX
You have to account for copyright of music.

There are two types of music here:
Music in the story space - in the same acoustic as the scene. The theoretical term is 'diegetic' music.
Music outside the story space - not in the same acoustic as the scene - in best quality audio. This is the convention so the listeners know that the music does not 'belong' to the story space of the characters' dialogue. The music makes a comment on the story and the characters. The theoretical term is 'non-diegetic' music.
You can also treat the quality of the music and make a transition from the music in the story space (diegetic) into outside the story space (non-diegetic).

Music in the story space
Scene location - teenager's bedroom in 1965
Music - Beatles' hit
Music introduced at the beginning of the scene in the acoustic of the teenager's bedroom. It is faded down and under the dialogue, but remains under. At the end of the scene, the music - still in the bedroom acoustic - is faded up under the last words of the scene and then further up, and then faded out, or straight cut. This is a convention in radio drama.

Music from inside the story space (diegetic) and then into outside (non-diegetic)
Same situation as above
Scene location - teenager's bedroom in 1965
Music - Beatles' hit
As before, the music is in the story space, under the dialogue. At the end of the scene, the music in the acoustic of the bedroom is faded up (as in the above example), but once the dialogue is finished, the music is treated, so that is changes its quality, and makes a transition into best quality audio.
This is also a convention in radio drama and tells the listeners that we are now in the scene boundary. The music will now comment (ironically? joyfully? mournfully?) on the scene and prepare us for the coming scene.

Music bridge
Music, in best quality audio, is faded in under the dialogue at the end of the scene, brought up for the scene boundary, and then faded under the dialogue at the beginning of the new scene.
In the overall meaning of the play, the music could be a repeating motif of the same music choice, or from a music genre - such as standards of the 1960s (play about teenagers in that decade).


SFX (sound effect) bridge and Atmos bridge
This can be used in realist plays and the nonrealist.
Use in a realist play:
This indicates a lapse of time between two scenes. For example, in Rhys Adrian's play, 'The Clerks', the two tramps of the title keep up a dialogue spread across an evening and into the next day. The scene divisions are more to do with their conversation topics. Scene boundaries are indicated by the FX atmos faded up, and across the boundary, and then faded under but continued under the new scene dialogue. This convention lets us know that the location is ongoing, as the presence of the characters involved, but that there are transitions in the time scenario.
A SFX is also used as a bridge - in one case, a passing police car, and an ambulance in another. These SFXs are in the same acoustic and location as the scenes, but are faded up and then down to mark the scene boundary. They are faded up to a higher level than as an FX during the middle of a scene. We have the impression of the 'camera' focusing on the passing emergency vehicles and watching them speed away. We focus away from the characters and from this convention, we know that we are moving into a new scene.

You use them in different combinations. All relates to the overall rhythm and meaning of the play, and where you are with this sequence of scenes. And what mode (realism or not) and style are you working in?
If there is an exciting climax to a scene, a revelation or some action, you may decide to go to silence before the next scene, to allow your audience time to absorb the information and emotion, and to catch up.
END OF SCENE - (Revelation - 'He's your father!') Fade to silence OR Straight cut on the revelation
BETWEEN SCENES - 2 seconds silence
BEGINNING OF FOLLOWING SCENE - Fade in or straight cut in
Note: 'Archers' fade if you fade out to silence (2 seconds) and fade in the new scene
Or it may be better to keep up the pace. You are near the end of the play, and you are building to the most important final scene. You want to increase the excitement.
END OF SCENE - Straight cut
Nothing before the next scene
BEGINNING OF FOLLOWING SCENE - Straight cut into the new scene
This is very effective the play is a police thriller. Let's say you are involved in a car chase near the end, and leading to the capture of the crook. Straight cut from the police and our heroine in their car, to the evil villain who has captured a child in the leading and speeding car.
Here is another example - the 'talking heads' play. This relies on dialogue for the most part. Your aesthetic as a director could well be standard production. And as has been said about standard production, the choice of an aesthetic suits the script. Many 'talking heads' plays have an acute ear for dialogue and atmosphere. Speech rhythms and psychologically acute acting, along with superb timing will realise in a ringingly alive and observant play.

A standard production play can show the deepest sensitivity, experience and technical expertise. Many standard production radio plays are ear-opening, exuberant, sharp, splendidly alive and - if afternoon plays - popular entertainment of high order. Some are superlatively good.





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