The Radio

So tonight was the only night I was going to be able to listen to the radio show, and of course it’s also the day the RAs chose for my building to have a fire drill, so I missed the first five minutes of the show and was fairly lost and confused for the rest of it. However, the parts I did understand I thought were really cool and I’m sorry I missed the first part so that I couldn’t get more out of it.

The speaker spent a lot of time explaining how old radio plays were made, like the logistics of it. I’ve done some experimenting in producing radio plays (thanks to COVID, we had to do our production of Julius Caesar as a radio play instead of as a real play, and it was my job to turn a Zoom meeting into a show with 3d sound, sound effects, entrances, exits, music, all of that. And I played Caesar. I was really invested in that show.) I’ve always found Foley sound effects interesting, so it was cool to hear about the professionals doing roughly the same thing I did. We also effectively only had one mic, since I was working off the recording of a Zoom meeting and all the voices were placed the same. I digitally manipulated it so that voices were coming from around the listener, not just in front of. I also made sound effects, but most of mine were fairly one-to-one. Need the sound of sandals on concrete, I got some sandals and walked around on concrete. Need the sound of someone walking up a set of wooden stairs? I walked up a set of wooden stairs. The speaker tonight was talking about using wet cork on glass to make the sound of millions of rats. I don’t think I would have thought of that in a million years, but it was effective. I also liked how it seemed to get larger, for lack of a better word. The effects from the beginning were lonely and empty and set the tone for something spooky, but then the rats came and it seemed to get claustrophobic. I’m not sure if that was part of the original recording or if the speaker did that digitally, but it was effective storytelling. I also thought it was interesting how they set people up in the studio to be closer or further from the microphone to give the illusion of depth and distance even though it didn’t translate as well back then as it would now. It really shows a commitment to producing the best work you can and not throwing in the towel or calling it “good enough.”


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