Tuesday, 2 June 2015

#Blog Alert Oh What A Performance

creative people tend to be a delicate bunch of hot house flowers.  We like our environment just so, not too hot, not too cold and above all it must be a comfortable creative place that doesn't intimidate.  Stick some of us under the harsh glare of studio lights and those evil bug eyed monsters - or as some call 'TV Camera's'  and just watch us wither and clam-up.  The same thing can happen if we are pushed into a dimly lit padded cell and forced to speak into a large grilled listening device or some would call a 'Radio Studio and microphones.'

The point I am labouring to make is that if you want to get the best from your guest or you want a great place to create your Podcasts the actual environment you record in is really quite important.

If this sounds like complete tosh, take a moment to consider this wise advice from inc dot com - 'would you want to stay at an hotel with fluorescent lighting and drab grey rooms?'

Making a creative space also involves disarming the technology.  When I first came to work for LBC Radio way back in 1984, I was surprised by the layout of the studio.  There was a central console that looked very much like the Tardis console without the bit that went whooo whoooo whooo

Around were two AKG microphones and then a series of very small in-vision type small mics on stalks coming out from the hexagonal structure.  When I asked the Chief Engineer why he had not chosen to fit a whole bunch of proper radio microphones?  - He had a brilliant answer.  'The idea is not to intimidate any guests that appear on the station.'  The station thought that the less alien technology that greeted a studio guest, the more comfortable they would be talking on the radio.

The idea worked well, guests soon forgot they were on the radio, they had good uninterrupted vision to the Presenter. Frankly it also helped that LBC studios were, at that time, in the flithy bowels of a decrepit old building off Fleet Street. Guests were often quite underwhelmed by the tatty state of the place.

So a comfortable and creative space to record is essential and if you are out on the road interviewing, shoving a large microphone into your interviewee's face is unlikely to solicit and candour.  Better to pin a good qulaity tie-clip mic on them and yourself and keep your recording device discretely out of the way.

One more genius idea if you are making TV Vodcasts that I learnt from a very senior TV Documentary Director is that he used a camera with an AutoCue mirror glass on front, but instead of projecting a script in front of the lens, he projected a live second camera image of himself asking the questions. Rather like a Skype interview.  It helped to prevent the documentary guest being intimidated by having to stare down the lens of a TV camera.

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