Visualisation at the expense of quality control?


I just listened to the normally excellent Sounds of the 80s on BBC Radio 2 whilst in the car. And I’m not quite sure what I heard. It sounded like the normally chatty Sara Cox was doing a TV show to camera rather than a radio show.

An hour of the show was “simulcast” on the BBC Red Button.

I particularly enjoyed the unprocessed roughly mixed TV sound – on the radio. 

And the instructions to enjoy “watching this song” on the radio. 

And having to turn the interview section up because it was so poorly recorded. 

And seemingly the soundtrack of the TV Olympics trailer – on the radio (the music track and VO tag line with no script to lead me through it).

I’m sure it looked pretty good to the Red Button TV audience, but to the main radio audience it lacked the normal warmth. Although maybe I’m biased and proper listeners wouldn’t notice it that much..?

I don’t have a problem with visualised content – the Radio 1 Live Lounge, LBC interviews or Chris Moyles Show show clips work well – some fully shot and some through semi automated studio camera systems. And it’s nice that shows like this can have a multi platform element – particularly if you’ve never seen the videos of the songs.

But shows that are essentially very cheap TV shows for the Red Button where the soundtrack is a radio programme are neither one thing nor the other. 

Visualise – yes – but if you make radio, stick to making great radio shows – or make a TV show. 

Or at least think about each of the audiences and check it works equally well for both of them..

What’s your battle plan?

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Image – Damien St John / Celador Radio

Yesterday, the sad news that another music legend had passed away.

This was, unfortunately, nothing new. There have been a raft of these events over the past few months.

On radio, it’s time like these where the ability to react fast and deviate a bit from a format is a real luxury. Not many formats want to do it. Some would never do it. Luckily, most of the brands I work with can.

Whilst we have a major story plan  – for huge news (disasters, Royal deaths etc), music stars don’t fall under this. There tends to be an informal process. The programmers know we’ll play some extra songs, and I know that we’ll need something to image the change in structure. It happens simply. It’s what we do. And we have the flexible working procedures in place to allow remote working / loading of content etc.

We’ve fallen into a bit of a pattern of what we like to do on our stations. The Breeze has a daily 6 of the best feature which can easily be adapted to work as a best of tribute section. Sam FM has a more fluid format, so extra songs can be scheduled, and a feature hour added if necessary.

So what’s required in the imaging. And what can it do for your brand? Of course, it’s a way of reinforcing musical ownership. It’s a way of being topical. And it can live on many platforms. The image at the top of the post lived on social media. And if required, the audio montage can be used too.

Since I also produce imaging for the Benztown Avalanche Classic Rock imaging library, I’ll often have a though of what I can produce for that and then rework for our stations. Pieces I made for David Bowie’s and Beatles producer George Martin’s passing were reworked into on air content. Anything of that era will often work for both.

Here’s what I created for the library and then used on our stations too..

What I tend to start with is interview clips – on stage announcements, award show acceptances and then interviews on youtube. Luckily, the Avalanche library has lots of award show and some archive content, but the odd interview is always a help too.

The next step is to find a small number of useful clips – something punchy / emotional to start the piece and ideally, a nice quote from the artist to end the piece too. It’s then a case of finding the right songs, and cutting the music to the clips – so there’s a smooth flow, and ideally a good pace too.

We tend to use the imaging piece to kick off an hour – and then if we are intending to use it through the day, I’ll often make a couple of cut downs that are half the length so as to help increase the music flow. Today’s Prince piece was also deconstructed into 4 or 5 short out of break IDs – each using a short clip and song loop – so the process of constructing other imaging pieces becomes simpler.

Creating something like this requires good editorial judgement, needs speedy editing skills and creative thought. If nothing else, its a great way to test your skills under pressure and time is often of the essence. For some producers, there’s not much opportunity to create something free form like this – so if the sad opportunity comes, maybe it’s an excuse to give it a try.

 

 

Using content to create a TV spot

A clever example of using existing content re-purposed to create a TV ad.

The ad, commissioned by ARN, the Australian Radio Network, features audio from previous interviews by Kyle and Jackie-O. Lip synced to the audio and shot in a stylish “studio” set, but keeping the content at the heart of the message.

This is an ad that shows that the “biggest stars talk to us”. And whilst the red carpet visuals may be a little over simplistic, it’s a simple message delivered with visual flair.

What it does show is that shooting a commercial for a radio station in an actual radio studio may not cut it these days – but take the key ingredients – the talent, the branded microphones and a nice clear logo – and you are half way there.

20 years in 2 minutes

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What would you include if that next job asked you for a current showreel? Your latest ID? The latest weekend promo? Or something to show the range of what you’ve done and what you can do?

The longer you’ve been doing this job, the harder it is to choose what to include. Do you include the beatmatched promo that at the time took you a day to lovingly craft? Or that clever promo featuring that cool artist?  Continue reading “20 years in 2 minutes”