Should I record on location?

Is field recording the right fit for your show?

“One of the things I really enjoy about field recording, is you can put two actors right next to each other, and they can completely act out the scene. It really incorporates that sense of two actors interacting.” Matthew Boudreau

We welcome back the podcast’s favourite Matthew, Matthew Boudreau of Aural Stage Studios as we spend a couple of episodes expanding on the subject of field and location recording. Matthew will be appearing, along with some other top audio drama folks, at South by Southwest later this month.

“While we were recording Intensive Care, we got permission to use the space at Biddeford Mills, and just as we’re recording this major scene that’s taking place in this like, really intense, quiet operating room, people started moving in across the hall from us.

They’re carrying couches, and leather chairs, and it’s like a psychology office that they’re setting up so there’s all kinds of equipment and shelves and books and materials and stuff that they’re lugging through. And I’m just trying to get Nat Angstrom (the lead actor) to give us a really quiet line.

And that’s actually my biggest complaint. There’s no way to isolate the external noise, and if you’re in a quiet place like Fred (Greenhalgh of FinalRune Productions) then that’s okay cos he’s kinda in the woods, and pretty secluded. There’s going to be some background noise, there’s always some background noise, but it’s a little bit easier.

But I went to gather sound effects, I live in down town Buffalo, and The Cleansed takes place in this post-apocalyptic future in which there’s no machinery, there’s no gasoline. And you open up a mic outside my door anywhere and all you’re going to hear is like turbines and motor engines and it’s really hard to capture that post-apocalyptic flavour when you’re surrounded in sounds.

And for me a studio is a great way to isolate that, but… you lose some of the intimacy. So what happens is I get great sound, I get great people with great voices and great characters behind the mic, but I lose a little bit of that interaction that’s going on.

You’ve kinda got two kinds of scenes. You’ve got scenes where dialogue prevails, and you’ve got scenes where action prevails. And in scene’s where dialogue prevails you really want that voice to come through, and you really want those words to be rich.

Maybe you record that in the studio where everyone’s sitting around the mic and you can hear their articulations very clearly and everything’s coming through very cleanly and very importantly.

And then when you’re talking about scenes where there’s action, where they’re more active, and there’s two people fighting and yelling back and forth and maybe you’d do that in a field recorded kind of situation.”

Elsewhere we look at some feedback from recent episodes, How to create a local audio drama group, and How do I convey thought in audio drama? We unveil our first Sci-fi fictional tour in Edinburgh in partnership with VoiceMap, and that story is loosely adapted from the newly released audio drama Time is Money (warning, strong language).

Find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and get in touch via email at podcast@audiodramaproduction.com

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