The Radio Production Process – Part 2 recording in the studio and on location


Previously – The Prep Radio Production

5 – The interview will be carried out in one of two places; in studio or on location.

  • The Studio recording – pros and cons
    • Pro: Great sound and sound balance, whether a self drive or production studio.
    • Pro: no bad room noise, wind noise, background noise, telephones ringing unexpectedly etc.
    • Pro: Best place to do a round table discussion
    • Pro: Your territory, the interviewee might be less comfortable – which is what you might want
    • Pro: Best (only?) place for a phone interview or “down-the-line”
    • Pro: Recording and archiving automatically. If radio station is using a network system, the interview is immediately available for other producers and reporters to use. If the radio station is part of a wider network of stations, arrangements can be made to use more widely.
    • Con: The interviewee will be less comfortable – this is likely to be unfamiliar territory
    • Con: There is a chance the interviewee will not turn up
    • Con: If you are using a self drive, you might be distracted by the technology and the desk between you and the interviewee might act as a barrier.
    • Con: You might run out of studio time … or be kicked out by something “urgent”
    • Con: You can’t just get up and leave …
    • Con: Studios are pretty dry places with not much atmosphere.
  • The Location Recording – pros and cons
    • Pro: A place to get atmos – radio is about sound as well as words and music.
    • Pro: The interviewee is likely to feel more comfortable on their own territory
    • Pro: You might want to take the interviewee to a different outside place relevant to the story
    • Pro: You and describe – use words to tell what you see, feel, can touch, make your experience part of the story, empathise with others.
    • Con: Wind noise! Room echo, loud background noise
    • Con: Music in the background is a particular problem. You cannot edit with a song playing in the background, so be careful in places where music is playing. It is not impossible, but you might be giving yourself problems for the future.
    • Con: You might get lost
    • Con: You better bring spare batteries, mic, recorder — best bring as many backups as you can. Do bring all the right equipment.

If you are recording on location:

Before you go:

  • Before you leave, check and recheck all your equipment; record, listen back and recheck
  • Pack additional batteries and head phones – pack an additional recorder if you can
  • Check you know where you are going
  • If you have never been before, get info about parking etc from your interviewee.
  • Bring a phone … not a TV remote control … it has happened.

When you get there:

  • If you are recording in a room spend a few moments listening to the room both with and without headphones. listen to what you can hearm, then listen to what your microphone hears.
  • Is there an echo that will make your interview difficult? Is there bad noise from outside that will make the recording difficult – heavy traffic, ventilation and air conditioning noise, aeroplane approach to airport. A Chiming clock is like music. It makes editing difficult. You will not want to stop an interview until a noise passes.
  • Check out the furniture. Your interviewee might be more comfortable behind a desk — though! You will not want to have a desk between you. The mic will be too far away from the interviewee.
  • Make sure everyone in comfortable, your mic is in a good position, extraneous noise has been minimised – not necessarily illuminated; noise is also known as atmosphere.
  • Before you start, record 60 seconds of “silence” or wild-track or atmos.
  • Finally,
    • remind the interviewee why you are there,
    • the areas of questioning you will begin with – you might even for a nervous interviewee tell them what the first question is,
    • record a few seconds of your question and their answer (the What did you have for breakfast question),
    • listen back to check all is OK,
    • switch on your recorder – wearing headphones –
    • and go.


Next: The Radio Production Process – Part 3 Microphone Technique Radio Production

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