Friday, 26 November 2010

Mind the gap!

Creative Content sound editor Al Muirden gives us more insights into editing audio...

I’ve talked in previous blogs about the pace of  an audio narration and how it can have a massive effect on what the listener hears, when it comes to building tension, creating excitement and generally bringing the written word…to life.

This week, I’d like to touch briefly on the spaces or gaps that as well as the pace, make all the difference when listening to an audio narration.

When we read a book, we naturally put in our own gaps and pauses, aided by punctuation - it’s this that helps to control the pace/tension/excitement of the written word.

When an audio narrator records an audio book, they have a script, with the same punctuation, but it’s a whole different skill to read the words out loud, interpreting the punctuation as it appears in the text - certainly not as easy as it may look and sometimes that punctuation gets overlooked!

Recently, I have been working on a superbly narrated book, but have had to spend a lot of time adjusting the gaps between sentences and lines punctuated with commas or colons or whatever - and it has reminded me how crucial these gaps are when wanting to build tension or create excitement or embellish the emotion captured by the narrator. This particular narration, whilst very excellently read, has benefited from some gap adjustment to make it ebb and flow and – and overall, a much easier listen.

As I’ve said before when talking about pace, there can be many reasons why some narrations speed up or slow down and as a consequence, lose some of their impact - but that’s where an edit can recapture that missing magic. The same thing applies to the gaps between sentences and words - pace and gaps are extremely important components to the finished audio product.

So, when listening to your next audio download or audio CD, try listening for space that you can’t actually hear - the very important…gap! - Al Muirden

photo by Marcin Wichery

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