Building credibility through crafted audio

Usually it’s image first, sound second. Drives me crazy. Sound is almost an afterthought. Certainly this is the case with many oral historians who often do the recording, get the transcript, then throw the audio away. But according to a recent study by the University of the Sunshine Coast, audio is key to building credibility with audiences. For those of us who’ve been in the game for some time this is nothing new. We know the affective power of audio to engage listeners and draw them in both intellectually and emotionally. Audio has the ability to capture something unique and unscripted: the rhythm and cadence of the speech, the tone, the inflections and asides. It underpins the story and affords myriad clues that we can’t necessarily explain, but nonetheless help us make sense of the situation.

So when a friend recently asked me to help him out with a promo video, I thought I’d test this out. Dan’s Truck and Crane Hire. Not exactly Third Coast Radio but an excuse to help a friend. Plus I knew I had the support of David Peart to do the camera work (David has extensive experience on his side) who was willing to build a visual story in and alongside an audio file that I would first produce. In other words, David determined what he was going to shoot based on the audio file that I gave him.

Much of what you’re about to hear is in the audio mix and the crafting of the audio. That’s the stuff I’ve learned over the years. But another part of this is capturing something unscripted and spur of the moment. On the day I arrived to do my recording with him, Dan pulled out his piece of paper with all the usual ‘stuff’ about who he was and what he did, and told him to put it away. Sorry Dan. But didn’t want this. What I wanted was him, here with me (and the microphone) telling me about who he is, what he loves about his work, banging things, slamming doors.

I know very little about the truck and crane hire business. And I’m not really that interested. But once Dan started in telling me all about what it is that he loves, the truck being an Isuzu, the way he works, once he started clambering around his truck he sort of forgot I was there. And this is whenI knew I had him: it’s a space where Dan lifts out as someone so incredibly suited to be in the truck and crane hire business. So long as there’s trust, understanding and no pressure: it all works out. It always does.

And the end result, I think, is… well you be the judge.