Friday, 22 February 2013

Did someone speak..?

Sound editor Al continues his occasional series on the art of the audio book...

This week I thought I would talk a little about listening to audio books, as recently, I have been performing a different role to my normal “sound editor” in that I have been doing a lot of listening without actually having to make any changes…Allow me to explain!

Audiobook production is much more involved than people may think and many stages have to be completed before you (the listener) have the opportunity to purchase your chosen audio download.

The producer has to do a lot of work before any recording is made: reading and prepping the script, including correctly identifying any pronunciations etc, sourcing and liaising with the narrator (who themselves will also be reading, prepping and preparing their script and any accompanying notes).

Then the recording is done.

After that, the sound editor of choice will do an initial edit on the recording, using either the sound engineer’s marked up script, or sometimes the producer’s version of the same script (which is also copiously marked up!) to remove any problem areas that are marked. (NB - there can sometimes be big differences between what is marked and what is actually recorded as - we are all human after all and with the best will in the world, things can get missed.)

That initial edit is then sent back to the producer for checking - this is the part that I have been doing a lot of lately…and this is the part where listening and hearing come together.

The checking part also involves use of the script, but this time the checker is listening (in my case via headphones) and following the script at the same time to ensure that what is on the script is actually what was recorded - that is the hearing part, because listening is easy, but hearing is what is crucial in this process.

There can be occasions where words get swapped around, or sometimes tenses get omitted - e.g. the script said “I’d” and the narrator read it as “I” - easy things to miss when narrating or listening.

The importance of checking the recording cannot be emphasised enough, as this is what the public gets to her

Here at CC, I work a little differently from the norm however, in that when I am editing a recording, I check it as I go so that the listening and hearing stages are all part of the editing process - because I get a chance to re-listen as many times as I want to, I can make sure it is correct!

So you see - when checking audio recordings, listening and hearing are two distinct disciplines - we all listen, but it is what we hear that makes the difference - happy listening!  - Al Muirden

Photo by iamtheo

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