Top of scene

By convention, the sound centre is established at the top of a scene by the first speaker, and this character is at the sound centre.

SOUND CENTRE - FIXED SOUND CENTRE - the centre of the sound picture remains fixed in the same place + MOVING SOUND CENTRE - 'we go with'

This is not an absolute rule in all radio drama, but it is best to stick to it.

This is so different from stage and TV - but there is an important reason why the first speaker is so important.


 We are 'with' or nearest the first character speaking. That helps us get the perspective of the sound picture in our 'view' as listeners.
 The sound picture opens out in front of us as with the first FXs and the first words.
 Signposting - technique for establishing the location at the beginning of a scene

Often the first character speaking is the play protagonist - leading the plot forward.  

This convention establishes a measure - the proportions of the sound picture - for all the other characters. 

The top of each scene is so important. 

EXAMPLE -  'The Canterbury Vampires' - 'Dark Entry' - Episode 11 Scene 1

 DO NOT begin a scene with a 'distant' character speaking - a character in position 4 or 5. That is - a character who is ten feet away from the sound centre or further off ('moves off')

WHY? This scene opening is difficult for the listener to grasp. It is confusing. The 'distant' character is so far off and sounds a bit faint. The sound picture is not clear.

The listener might think like this. Has there been a production mistake? Should that character really be faded in at a higher level?

 FILM contrasts with this. In a distant long shot (visual track), we hear the conversation on the sound track but close up. For film, we accept the 'logic' of this, because it is long establishing as among the conventions of film. (Since Orson Welles.)
 Top of the scene - signposting & description
 Scene boundaries - CHART FOR CHOICES - straight cut / fade in / fade out / crossfade / 'Archers' fade / music bridge / FX bridge / montage






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