All entries for Friday 22 December 2006

December 22, 2006

Media. Audio Production Resources

The practicalities of audio production


The practicalities of audio production whether podcasting or radio go well beyond just the technical aspects. There are many things to learnt such as good interviewing techniques the optimum length of programmes to name but 2. In this section useful links will be added which will help everybody from scriptwriters to presenters as they are discovered.

As has been commented upon by many an experienced podcaster keeping your target audience engaged is fundamental. Very poor technical production will lose you and audience but the best equipment in the world is no guarantee of success.


The Unseco Community Radio Handbook is available here in PDF format

This is written several years ago however in terms of fundamentals there are lotes of useful elements including good definitions of terms such as Public Service Broadcasting, as well as community broadcasting.

A good link for those intersted in community broadcasting in underdeveloped countries is from Johnathan Marks.

The introduction makes many important points about how radio is an extremely cheap mass medium, however if the $100.00 wind-up laptop from Nicholas Negroponte takes off then suddenly a much larger number of people will be able to access the still priviledged world of internet distribution. The world of podcasting and a multiplicity of specialist audiences will multiply dramatically.

This link is from Channel 4
and gives a few basic approaches to writing and sound production techniques for radio which can of course be used by podcasters.

This blog linked to the Channel 4 The Play’s the Thing
above is very interesting and will be added to the favourites section. There are insights into useful technical tricks thsat good soundengineeers develop. See the picture of this double microphone set-up below. You can read about it on the linked blog.

Dual Microphone Set Up

Elsewhere on The Play’s the Thing there is a useful video on recording in a studio with the relationship between actors and microphones explained as well as a basic intro to what equalisation and mixing is about.

This link again to another part of The Play’s the Thing provides a very useful video of making a radio play on location . Again this gives insights into acting the type of microphones which can be used for what purposes and the uses of carpet or acoustic panels to reduces sound reflections in unfavourable room locations.

Drama Writing Career

The Play’s the Thing is a radio drama writing competition open to 16-34 year olds.

This page has a number of good links. The Radio Drama Overview is particularly useful for aspiring scriptwriters with a long list of links attached.

This is another useful link for scriptwriters at Writernet

The BBC online have Writersroom
which is a guide to new writers for the BBC. It is also possible to download Scriptsmart from this site which provides templates for broadcast writing.

Media. Radio Training Resources at the BBC


The differences between transmission on the airwaves and internet distribution.

This is a page linking into a range of useful training resources provided online by the BBC.

Radio Broadcaster

Because I have been writing specifically about podcasting I have isolated articles about radio production. This is because many of the production techniques and principles of podcasting are the same as radio. Podcasting is different to radio because anybody can do it legally. Radio as far as I am aware is controlled by national states to the extent that licences are sold to broadcasting organisations who may then use the airwaves.

The possibility of internet radio has circumvented the bandwidth limitations of conventional radio which need to be transmitted whereas internet aplications are uploaded. Transmission through airwaves provides absolute physical parameters which are finite. By comparison internet distribution is only limited by the available broadband connections which can be changed. This is to all intents and purposes infinite.

Link to BBC Radio Training.
This one is on interviewing techniques.

Link to BBC Radio Training

This one is about mcirophones and sound and is essential viewing for all podcasters who like BBC radio jounalists and broadcasters will need to gain some basic understanding of the equipment.

Particularly useful is the tip to always take a condom with you for location work. (If this doesn’t get you visiting the site what will :-) )

New Media. Le Web 3 Conference

Le Web 3 Conference

Partners at Le Web 3 Conference

Despite the scepticism noted in earlier postings on Second Life there was a large conference in Paris discussing ideas about Web 3 (Maybe 3.0) but I quite like the idea of Le Web Trois :-).

No time to check this out at present but there are plenty of links from this site. I notice there are some venture capital firms there, so Web 3 means business.

New Media: Second Life continues to be talked about

Follow-up to New Media. Second Life: the Virtual World is Taking Off from Kinoeye

More on Second Life

Some Updates
Currently it seems that Second Life is attracting more and more attention not only from the Web Savvy world but from research psychologists ever keener to get in on the act. Also Thursday’s technology Guardian was sceptical about the numbers of people using Second Life. Whatever else Second Life appears to be keeping up with Oscar Wilde’s dictum about being talked about or not!

Another interested Blogger in New Media also has his doubts about the popularity of Second Life. As with everything it will take time. My suspicion is that with all frontiers it will attract more and more creative people. Adam from Reuters has noticed that many corporate parts of the virtual real estate are empty however they are covering themselves for the future. If real estate and the exchange rate remains cheap it is a miniscule expense. If – as I suspect it will over a decade – Second Life takes off for millions of users on a regular basis then the big corporations have alreadsy got thier claijms staked!

Below: Flights of Fantasy an avatar in Second Life

An Avatar in Second Life

Academic Research

Academic researchers are certainly interested. Links will be added to the bottom of this piece as they are discovered / emerge. There is littel doubt that it will be a delight for Deluezian inspired cultural studies people. Presumably there will be a spate of Research Methods in Virtual Environments in the next couple of years.

What’s out there Now?

Yesterday morning Radio 4’s news programme Today had interviews with two Pschologists about how they were looking into Second Life as a viable environment in which they could run experiements on people’s reactions in certain circumstances. These are experiments that could not be run in the ‘real world’ for ethical reasons.

Much of the discussion circled around the famous experiment of ordering volunteers to adminster what they thought were powerful electric shocks to people who were in fact actors. Despite severe doubts from many of the experimentees they ended up giving ‘electric shocks that could knock people out’ or even kill them.

The radio 4 presenter John Humphreys displayed a certain aversion to -Second Life_ as well. his attitude was a bit scornful to say the least.

If you happen to become a user of Second Life just be aware that if you come across something which is pushing your reactions in surprising ways perhaps conflicting with your real life persona. Just ask yourself the question – is this a bunch of psychologists behind this.

Link here to the BBC ‘Listen Again’ site to download this discussion. Scroll down to the 8.30 am slot: Agony and Ecstasy of Living in the Virtual World

If you seriously interested download it to your hard drive. I’m hoping they will archive it on the server somewhere so that it will be available permanently. I think that there is going to be a lot more discussion emerging around Second Life.

PS: Just discovered the Today Programme Audio Archive Pages. This interview on Second Life will turn up here after Xams 2006.

Added Extra: Short Rant on Psychologists

Things to remember about psychologists are:

  • They need to persuade people they are useful
  • The hisory of early psychology linked to perception was about making the workforce more effective / productive in the early part of the 19th century. See Jonathan Carey ‘Techniques of the Observer’ MIT Press for more on this. This has gone on ever since in business and industry.
  • Psychologists (or some I talked to many years ago) have often been concerned with making people ‘normal’. Ther ones I had in mind were defending the prospect of giving gay people electric-shock aversion therapy to ‘cure them’
  • Psychologists are the people behind putting sweeties under kids noses in supermarkets thus contributing to obesity and general toothlessness
    amongst the population
  • Psychologists love watching ‘Big Brother’, one wonders whether it wasn’t dreamt up by psychologists in the first place
  • Psychologists bear a heavy responsibility for turning the whole education system into the reductionist, positivistic, quantitive, prescriptive managerialist anti-educationalist affair it is today. Why else is Britian’s functiona l illiteracy so bad despite going to school earlier than on the continent and being forever tested?
  • Psychology has shown how socially progressive it is as the ‘discipline’ has expanded exponentially since the Thatcher regime and has remained an extremly popular subject under the Blair regime
  • Perhaps there is a case for social research into the popularity of Psychology in relation to the prescriptivness on governments of the time?

TV Interview With Second Life Guru

Second_Life Interview

Getting back to the point here is a link to the Second Life Interview

Research Projects into Second Life

Aleks Krotoski one of the Guardian’s technology correspondents is also doing a PhD.

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