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recording binaural radio drama
Old 28th June 2007
  #1
Gear Head
 

Talking recording binaural radio drama

Hi everybody,

I'm just starting to get into recording radio drama in binaural stereo and I had a few questions. I've done a little recording before, mostly simple acoustic guitar but audio drama seems to be an art unto itself.

First I'd like to know what people thought about the gear I was thinking about purchasing. I thought I would either go with the core sound HIB system with the DPA 4060's. I've heard really good things about them but since I don't plan on doing much location recording I was thinking about just some omnidirectional mics like a couple of RODE nt-2a's. I plan on making a dummy head as best as I can to seperate the mics (sort of a poor man's Fritz system)

Also, does anyone know of any technical books about audio drama recording. I've seen a couple but they seem to be more about the wriiting than the recording.

BTW This was all spurred on because I listened to a ZBS cd of a horror audio drama called "Sticks" recording in binaural stereo. It was simply the creepiest thing I've ever heard.

I did a few searches here and found alot of good information but no real opinions about audio drama in general. Sorry if this in the wrong place.


Anyone have any thoughts?


Thanks

Jon
Old 28th June 2007
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

This is more or less the right place -- the Post Production forum is probably righter, though.

Anyway, if you're doing multiple talent with 2 omnis in a head, the biggest factor is going to be the room. The actors will be pretty far away from the mics (compared to your typical VO-type setup) and if the room is at all live, it's gonna sound like they're in a giant tin can.
Old 28th June 2007
  #3
Gear Head
 

thanks for the reply. Do you see any benefit in using regular omni's over the dpa 4060 which are smaller and more specialized. I ask only because I really don't know what other people are using to do this. I'm assuming they're using smaller condenser's like that but I don't know. The larger mic's would have more uses in the future though.
Old 28th June 2007
  #4
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Dunno. I've done tons of dialog work, commercials mostly, but never with a head.
Old 3 days ago
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Radio drama is dying. Even the BBC, leader in this medium, is cutting back. But imagine binaural drama over earphones on the Web. Back in the 70s, the BBC was experimenting with binaural stereo. I was sitting at my computer late at night listening to their station. Suddenly there was a huge screaming and thudding on my door. I could even feel the lower frequencies against my body. Terrified, I opened the door. There was no one there. There is that story about Orson Welles broadcasting "The War of the Worlds" in monaural. It caused a national panic. Imagine the impact of binaural or surround sound.
I firmly believe that sound drama, to those with a large mental sound stage, is the greatest show on earth.
I can act a bit and have a pretty wide range of voices. I have produced, directed, designed and lit amateur drama. I would love to start a podcast. After I get my damn novel published, of course. You find samples of my work on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/horselord23

Last edited by Richard Ahearn; 3 days ago at 08:20 PM.. Reason: typos
Old 3 days ago
  #6
Lives for gear
Nonsense.
Its alive and well still in the UK
Imagination is boundless, its better than movies when well done, well written, well acted.
Try BBC Sounds ,especially historical drama.
Explore the archives.
Old 3 days ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 

For example, the ground-breaking binaural natural sound drama "The Revenge" by Andrew Sachs (aka Miguel in "Fawlty Towers), which he made in 1978. I cannot find the article published at the time which gave some of the production details, which I'm sure would give you some great ideas.

The wordless drama covers in subjective sound the escape of the person from custody, including a pursuit, ultimately locating and extracting 'revenge' in the form of murder of someone (we presume for good reason). It was too early to use the Sony PCM-F1 portable digital recording system, so it is an analog production. I believe a dummy head was used in some stages of the production. In others, Andrew wore the microphones adjacent to his own ears - a truly subjective experience!

At one point the protagonist is being pursued by police including tracker dogs, and he dives into a stream and submerges himself to throw them off the scent. Sachs himself took the microphones (small omnis) underwater - after first wrapping them in condoms - capturing the sound of flowing water, his moans as he tries to control his breathing and the muted sound of the police dogs barking as they searched along the bank of the river!

The drama is occasionally repeated on the BBC (last aired 2016, I gather); I did see a reference to a YouTube copy and I have (somewhere) a cassette recording off-air from ABC-FM. If you can find the article (Radio Times, Studio Sound, Hi-Fi and Record Review)from around that time giving the story behind the play, it will give you some idea of the possibilities. It was best appreciated on headphones, and now of course, the iPod generation would be well placed to appreciate it (listening in a darkened room, of course ...)

I am not aware of any recent binaural productions, and I think the notion has been supplanted rather more by surround with brings it own particular qualities, but the immediacy of binaural on headphones, imaginatively created by producers such as Andrew Sachs (sadly no longer with us), is a unique experience, and I would hope that others will dive in and have a go ... The world still needs good radio drama (the scenery is so much better).
Old 3 days ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by panatrope View Post
For example, the ground-breaking binaural natural sound drama "The Revenge" by Andrew Sachs (aka Miguel in "Fawlty Towers), which he made in 1978. I cannot find the article published at the time which gave some of the production details, which I'm sure would give you some great ideas.

The wordless drama covers in subjective sound the escape of the person from custody, including a pursuit, ultimately locating and extracting 'revenge' in the form of murder of someone (we presume for good reason). It was too early to use the Sony PCM-F1 portable digital recording system, so it is an analog production. I believe a dummy head was used in some stages of the production. In others, Andrew wore the microphones adjacent to his own ears - a truly subjective experience!

At one point the protagonist is being pursued by police including tracker dogs, and he dives into a stream and submerges himself to throw them off the scent. Sachs himself took the microphones (small omnis) underwater - after first wrapping them in condoms - capturing the sound of flowing water, his moans as he tries to control his breathing and the muted sound of the police dogs barking as they searched along the bank of the river!

The drama is occasionally repeated on the BBC (last aired 2016, I gather); I did see a reference to a YouTube copy and I have (somewhere) a cassette recording off-air from ABC-FM. If you can find the article (Radio Times, Studio Sound, Hi-Fi and Record Review)from around that time giving the story behind the play, it will give you some idea of the possibilities. It was best appreciated on headphones, and now of course, the iPod generation would be well placed to appreciate it (listening in a darkened room, of course ...)

I am not aware of any recent binaural productions, and I think the notion has been supplanted rather more by surround with brings it own particular qualities, but the immediacy of binaural on headphones, imaginatively created by producers such as Andrew Sachs (sadly no longer with us), is a unique experience, and I would hope that others will dive in and have a go ... The world still needs good radio drama (the scenery is so much better).
thx for bringing up this example - any comment on how binaural 'survived' radio processing? still impressive from how you describe it...

(a pair of sanken cos-11 on the sides of my glasses do fine for ambient recording)
Old 3 days ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
...any comment on how binaural 'survived' radio processing? ...
In my understanding, BBC practice then was to only apply protective limiting on the transmission distribution network. Otherwise processing (manual or machine) was applied at source (Continuity - maybe Radio 1 excepted!!). That production would have gone out as supplied ... though you could also check with the denizens of orbem.co.uk! (And if I find it, we could check on my old cassette recording - though any artefacts may not be discernable after having passed though a Dolby 'B' chain )

panatrope ORTF*

(thats 'Old Radio Technology Fart' ...)
Old 23 hours ago
  #10
As an update to the original topic, since then there have been many new affordable options for supporting binaural production.

For fixed-head recording, Binaural Enthusiasts make a head and offer it with or without microphones:
https://binauralenthusiast.com/

Sennheiser make a pair of personal head-wearable binaural microphones:
https://en-us.sennheiser.com/finalstop

of course, there are always the DPA 4060's, which can be adapted as binaural, either headworn, or dummy-head.

Not to be dismissed lightly, there are many Ambisonic microphone options, which can be used with plug-ins to create binaural productions that are not fixed position (i.e. can be rotated in post, or even at the listener device with headtracking. Also with these plugins, one can take regular close mic's and mix them into a virtual Ambisonic environment using these same plug-in suites (Facebook 360, AudioEase, Blue Ripple, AmbiX, etc., even Sennheiser Orbit plug-in)

Exciting times for this particular style of production.
Old 22 hours ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 

As far as the technical side of things go, there are some good video examples on YouTube where you can see different setups with live actors and SFX tables in use. Should give you a decent idea of how you can layout your stage. Will you be doing this in front of an audience?

Also, I believe there are a couple of different dramatizations of War of the World which show some recreations of behind the scenes action.

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