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Radio Drama At A Distance

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I created this presentation for the OpenTech 2009 conference at the University of London on 4 July 2009. The talk shows how to create radio drama in instances where the participants are separated geographically, by using VoIP (Skype in this case). The content is based on experience working with the Radio Riel Players in the virtual world of Second Life.

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Radio Drama At A Distance

  1. Radio Drama at a distance… Richard Elen Brideswell Associates 1
  2. …how to create it Technology platform. Sound equipment. Setup. Session planning. Performance. Post-production. 2
  3. The Radio Riel Players 3
  4. The Radio Riel Players 3
  5. The Radio Riel Players We are a group of Second Life residents. 3
  6. The Radio Riel Players We are a group of Second Life residents. We wanted to perform audio excerpts of Shakespeare for “Shakespeare in SL” – a grant-funded project of Radio Riel and the Caledon Library in Second Life. 3
  7. The Radio Riel Players We are a group of Second Life residents. We wanted to perform audio excerpts of Shakespeare for “Shakespeare in SL” – a grant-funded project of Radio Riel and the Caledon Library in Second Life. Our members are located all over the world. 3
  8. The Radio Riel Players We are a group of Second Life residents. We wanted to perform audio excerpts of Shakespeare for “Shakespeare in SL” – a grant-funded project of Radio Riel and the Caledon Library in Second Life. Our members are located all over the world. How could we do it? 3
  9. Possible solutions: I 4
  10. Possible solutions: I Second Life Voice: 4
  11. Possible solutions: I Second Life Voice: Not reliable enough. 4
  12. Possible solutions: I Second Life Voice: Not reliable enough. Audio is location dependent. 4
  13. Possible solutions: I Second Life Voice: Not reliable enough. Audio is location dependent. Variable quality and often unusable artefacts. 4
  14. Possible solutions: I Second Life Voice: Not reliable enough. Audio is location dependent. Variable quality and often unusable artefacts. Difficulties with private voice chat. 4
  15. Possible solutions: II 5
  16. Possible solutions: II VoIP (Skype): 5
  17. Possible solutions: II VoIP (Skype): Known, free technology. 5
  18. Possible solutions: II VoIP (Skype): Known, free technology. Mono only. 5
  19. Possible solutions: II VoIP (Skype): Known, free technology. Mono only. Latency issues. 5
  20. Possible solutions: II VoIP (Skype): Known, free technology. Mono only. Latency issues. Some quality issues. 5
  21. Possible solutions: II VoIP (Skype): Known, free technology. Mono only. Latency issues. Some quality issues. 5
  22. Common technology; Uncommon application. 6
  23. Common technology; Uncommon application. You probably use VoIP for phone calls, but… 6
  24. Common technology; Uncommon application. You probably use VoIP for phone calls, but… Radio drama is just one of the possibilities. 6
  25. Common technology; Uncommon application. You probably use VoIP for phone calls, but… Radio drama is just one of the possibilities. Others include live radio, TV shows, and much more. 6
  26. What, only Skype? 7
  27. What, only Skype? No, you can use any VoIP system you can all get your hands on. 7
  28. What, only Skype? No, you can use any VoIP system you can all get your hands on. Skype is simply what we used – we already had it. 7
  29. Production tips Microphones and headsets. Recording setup. Call quality. 8
  30. Don’t use a headset 9
  31. Don’t use a headset Why not? 9
  32. Don’t use a headset Why not? The microphones are generally poor. 9
  33. Don’t use a headset Why not? The microphones are generally poor. The mic is close to your mouth so you get breath noise, thumps and pops. 9
  34. Don’t use a headset Why not? The microphones are generally poor. The mic is close to your mouth so you get breath noise, thumps and pops. Exception: Logitech ClearChat Pro USB Headsets seem to give quite good results. 9
  35. Don’t use a headset Why not? The microphones are generally poor. The mic is close to your mouth so you get breath noise, thumps and pops. Exception: Logitech ClearChat Pro USB Headsets seem to give quite good results. But… do use headphones to avoid echoes. 9
  36. Do use a condenser mic 10
  37. Do use a condenser mic Why? 10
  38. Do use a condenser mic Why? They give excellent results. 10
  39. Do use a condenser mic Why? They give excellent results. They are not much more expensive. 10
  40. Do use a condenser mic Why? They give excellent results. They are not much more expensive. USB versions are available. 10
  41. Do use a condenser mic Why? They give excellent results. They are not much more expensive. USB versions are available. Buy a pop-shield and a stand too (complete kits are available). 10
  42. Recording setup 11
  43. Recording setup Route Skype’s sound output to a recording application. 11
  44. Recording setup Route Skype’s sound output to a recording application. Linux: use onboard mixer, eg ALSA to select source. 11
  45. Recording setup Route Skype’s sound output to a recording application. Linux: use onboard mixer, eg ALSA to select source. Macintosh: use an app such as Audio Hijack. 11
  46. Recording setup Route Skype’s sound output to a recording application. Linux: use onboard mixer, eg ALSA to select source. Macintosh: use an app such as Audio Hijack. Windows: use the Windows Mixer to select source. 11
  47. Recording setup Route Skype’s sound output to a recording application. Linux: use onboard mixer, eg ALSA to select source. Macintosh: use an app such as Audio Hijack. Windows: use the Windows Mixer to select source. Record/edit using Audacity (Linux, Mac, Win, free) or Adobe Audition, DSP Quattro etc. 11
  48. Recording & Editing 12
  49. Recording & Editing The person with the most audio experience should record the session. 12
  50. Recording & Editing The person with the most audio experience should record the session. Everyone needs to trust that person to do it. 12
  51. Recording & Editing The person with the most audio experience should record the session. Everyone needs to trust that person to do it. The person recording the session should originate the conference call (best quality). 12
  52. Recording & Editing The person with the most audio experience should record the session. Everyone needs to trust that person to do it. The person recording the session should originate the conference call (best quality). Do a test first. 12
  53. Maximise call quality 13
  54. Maximise call quality Use the latest version of Skype. 13
  55. Maximise call quality Use the latest version of Skype. Check correct firewall ports are open and that you can support at least 80 Kb/s. 13
  56. Maximise call quality Use the latest version of Skype. Check correct firewall ports are open and that you can support at least 80 Kb/s. Check the “Skype FAQ for Broadcast and Film” http://download.skype.com/share/broadcast/ SkypeUsageFAQ.zip 13
  57. Session Planning tips 14
  58. Session Planning tips Recording is the easy bit: planning is tricky. 14
  59. Session Planning tips Recording is the easy bit: planning is tricky. Have a “stage manager”. 14
  60. Session Planning tips Recording is the easy bit: planning is tricky. Have a “stage manager”. Create the equivalent of a “shooting script”: Group scenes together that include the same parts. 14
  61. Session Planning tips Recording is the easy bit: planning is tricky. Have a “stage manager”. Create the equivalent of a “shooting script”: Group scenes together that include the same parts. Minimise number of people on the call. 14
  62. Session Planning tips Recording is the easy bit: planning is tricky. Have a “stage manager”. Create the equivalent of a “shooting script”: Group scenes together that include the same parts. Minimise number of people on the call. Be sure to ident each scene to find them later. 14
  63. Performance tips 15
  64. Performance tips If you make a mistake, go back to to the previous line and start again without missing a beat. 15
  65. Performance tips If you make a mistake, go back to to the previous line and start again without missing a beat. Be sure that you have at least half a sentence or so duplicated before the fluff. 15
  66. Performance tips If you make a mistake, go back to to the previous line and start again without missing a beat. Be sure that you have at least half a sentence or so duplicated before the fluff. Make sure any mistakes are covered. 15
  67. Performance tips If you make a mistake, go back to to the previous line and start again without missing a beat. Be sure that you have at least half a sentence or so duplicated before the fluff. Make sure any mistakes are covered. Overlapping voices tend to cause audio breakup and timing issues. Record them one after the other and overlay them at the edit stage. 15
  68. The question of latency 16
  69. The question of latency Latency – delays in the Internet path and in digital signal processing. 16
  70. The question of latency Latency – delays in the Internet path and in digital signal processing. However quickly one player follows another, there will be a gap. 16
  71. The question of latency Latency – delays in the Internet path and in digital signal processing. However quickly one player follows another, there will be a gap. You will have to tighten up pauses later. 16
  72. Editing tips 17
  73. Editing tips Keep original files: work on copies. 17
  74. Editing tips Keep original files: work on copies. Save often. 17
  75. Editing tips Keep original files: work on copies. Save often. Make decisions as you go (eg selecting takes, making edits): don’t put it off. 17
  76. Editing tips Keep original files: work on copies. Save often. Make decisions as you go (eg selecting takes, making edits): don’t put it off. When you have a completed section, remove gaps until it sounds more natural. 17
  77. Assembly tips 18
  78. Assembly tips Place the edited dialogue section in a multitrack session. 18
  79. Assembly tips Place the edited dialogue section in a multitrack session. Optionally, pan each person in the stereo stage 18
  80. Assembly tips Place the edited dialogue section in a multitrack session. Optionally, pan each person in the stereo stage Put effects on another track (or tracks). Free effects: http://www.freesound.org/ 18
  81. Assembly tips Place the edited dialogue section in a multitrack session. Optionally, pan each person in the stereo stage Put effects on another track (or tracks). Free effects: http://www.freesound.org/ Split the dialogue track(s) to insert effects, music etc. 18
  82. A note about copyright 19
  83. A note about copyright Perform your own, or Public Domain works. 19
  84. A note about copyright Perform your own, or Public Domain works. Don’t use commercial music in your productions. 19
  85. A note about copyright Perform your own, or Public Domain works. Don’t use commercial music in your productions. Use music you have full rights to (eg your own)… 19
  86. A note about copyright Perform your own, or Public Domain works. Don’t use commercial music in your productions. Use music you have full rights to (eg your own)… …or “royalty-free” music (pay once)… 19
  87. A note about copyright Perform your own, or Public Domain works. Don’t use commercial music in your productions. Use music you have full rights to (eg your own)… …or “royalty-free” music (pay once)… …or use Library Music if you are prepared to pay the PRS Limited Online Exploitation Licence: http://www.prsformusic.com 19
  88. And that’s about it… 20
  89. And that’s about it… …but here’s some notes about what the Radio Riel Players have done so far… 20
  90. We didn’t stop with Shakespeare… 21
  91. We didn’t stop with Shakespeare… The Radio Riel Players recorded three Shakespeare excerpts for “Shakespeare in SL”. 21
  92. We didn’t stop with Shakespeare… The Radio Riel Players recorded three Shakespeare excerpts for “Shakespeare in SL”. We produced an E F Benson ghost story for Hallowe’en. 21
  93. We didn’t stop with Shakespeare… The Radio Riel Players recorded three Shakespeare excerpts for “Shakespeare in SL”. We produced an E F Benson ghost story for Hallowe’en. And A Christmas Carol in three parts for Christmas 2008. 21
  94. We didn’t stop with Shakespeare… The Radio Riel Players recorded three Shakespeare excerpts for “Shakespeare in SL”. We produced an E F Benson ghost story for Hallowe’en. And A Christmas Carol in three parts for Christmas 2008. Next… Pride & Prejudice ! 21
  95. Thanks for listening! Radio Riel: http://radioriel.org/ A Christmas Carol 22
  96. Questions? Richard Elen, Brideswell Associates http://brideswell.com Radio Riel http://radioriel.org 23
  97. 24

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