The Engineer

The Engineer's POVYour engineer might have his or her own studio. It could be a converted garage, or an office, or a full architectural sound studio engineered for a level of professional sound not available to most amateurs. If you have a real Producer, all of this will be kept from you - not your concern unless you are part of a radio drama start up and building everything from the ground up. Then you need to know.

Your engineer should be able to get the very best sound from the tools available to you. Ask to hear previous productions, other audio theater productions, if possible. Read their resume, if they have one. Or listen to music productions and pay special attention to quiet production - loud thrash metal can get away with projects that hiding a host of technical problems with volume, base and drums. Quiet productions show more of how the Engineer handles the empty room, ambient sound, and silences in which the quiet pieces are composed will tell you how your new Engineer will handle the pauses between speeches or between scenes.

If you have a good engineer, value their experience. They may know tricks to improve your program - by making the most out of your available equipment, room, microphones and noises that get into the room no matter what you do.
There is more to be known about your Engineer later on. 36:00

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Audacity - A Free tool

Audacity is an Open Source program available through SourceForge.org and is one of the most powerful audio editing and processing programs. It takes an afternoon to learn, but once you invest that time you can take your new recordings and mix with music, sound effects, and audio processing.


You and your Producer should discuss tools, or if you Producer can really do the job, you won't have to worry about any of it. But if you DO have to worry about it, know that you have other tools, particularly if you have money to throw at it.

If you buy a Macintosh, you have the option of using GarageBand, another powerful, free audio editing and mixing program. It is intended for use with music, but all of the tools and techniques can be applied to audio theater projection.

If you have Adobe Creative Cloud, you have access to Audition, another high level sound manipulation program. The only problem is that it requires a monthly subscription or you no longer have access to the program. Some small studio have their own favored audio programs, and almost all studios now use computerized digital recording.

It takes a couple of hours to learn how to do the job you will need for producing shows. But your Producer should have an Engineer who will handle that end of production - whether you are recording on reel to reel and editing with a a razor blade and adhesive tape, or recording digitally and editing with a mouse.

The continuing problem of recording shows is how to eliminate bad takes and only the best recording of a section - a monologue, dialogue, or action sequence.

Digital editing allows you to see the actual signal and make choices for edits that cannot be heard - it is the ability to make the edits invisible so the listener is only concerned with the advancement of your story, the build of tension and the delivery of that drama through voice, music, and sound effects.

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