More Than a Game: Packaging for radio

The latest instalment of More Than a Game comes as the project begins the post-production process. With some time till the deadline there will be plenty of refinements, but this post will consider the efforts that go into editing interview material for the radio element of the Beautiful Science.

The project requires the production of a two-minute radio package to offer added value to the main feature of the project, the written article. Whilst the article is still to be completed the work on the audio task has taken place.

For the Beautiful Science this will take the form of a short package featuring the two leading strength and conditioning coaches Mark Armitage and Nick Harvey. It will include their predictions for the future of sports science in football and any concerns that they may have about the direction the game is going.

The challenge with radio is directly down to its nature. It only stimulates the sense of sound where as TV combines sound and sight. Whilst written word also targets just the one sense, it can be supported by images and altered in tone and style by tweaking the structure and words chosen. This could be said for all forms of journalism, but radio requires a fine approach. Half a second to long or to short on an edit can change the whole tone with which it is interpreted.

An art, not a science

Much like the sport of football, radio is an art form. No two pieces of radio are the same and a style that works for one package may sound completely wrong for another package despite having a similar subject.

The time of just two minutes is a challenge to work with. Including a contextualising introduction and linking the clips of the interviewees with presenter voice overs can soon see the time slip away.

Therefore every second proves precious and the final edited interview clips, whilst delivering the same message and tone, can be cut down in duration greatly. Effective editing in any form requires an obsession for detail and this is something I feel I have to a high degree. At times it can prove a hindrance as I search for perfection in every clip used, but over time I have developed an ability to compromise, prioritising quality and efficiency in tandem.

Atmosphere is everything

In our daily lives there is audible noise all around us. As we go about our normal tasks we arguably shut them out. When it comes to radio packaging it is these sounds that we take for granted that can transform a package. Known as wildtrack, raw noise creates a realism to radio work that takes it on from just two or three talking about a subject to a crafted piece of art.

After experimenting with various music, I came to the conclusion that no song could match the sounds of football. The raw noise of a goal being celebrated, a crowd chanting their talisman. After first planning to obtain this sound at the next match I attended it dawned on me that I had a catalogue of audio at my fingertips.

As someone who loves an Instagram video from the stands, I had a selection of songs and celebrations from fans to choose from. A simple conversion from video to audio file gave me the perfect bookend audio to introduce and close my package.

Of all the editing processes radio is arguably my favourite. This probably played a part in why it was the first element I set my sights on when it came to this project.

As I reach the conclusion of packaging the radio, I was surprised with the finished piece. It altered slightly from the plan I set out before putting the headphones on and loading up Adobe Audition. Nevertheless, I am extremely pleased with it and it feels great to have the first part of the project together.


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