Audio & Visual Workbook – Week 3

After our first reading week we began week 3 of the introduction to broadcast module. On Monday the 23rd of November Michael began to show us what makes a good interview in anticipation of our projects due on the 11th of December. Matt also told us how to book kit if we need to through uni, via the SISO booking platform. As for interviewing skills, we made a list of what makes a good interview. The main ideas were:

No stammering from the interviewer, a natural flow to the interview, no talking over interviewee, making interview about interviewee, asking questions multiple times for simplified answers, knowing what you want from the interview, going straight into questions rather than small talk when it is for news – unless it helps, keeping interviewee entertained so that they give better answers, treating interviewee with courtesy, speaking to them, getting background info on subject, letting people have moments when they are emotional, politely take control by sorting surroundings before interview, being completely organised and making the situation yours, setting recording levels and finally getting correct spelling of interviewee’s name and job title.

Alternatively, the signs of a bad interview we discussed were:

No research done beforehand, interviewing the wrong person – they don’t have the right experience for example, not being able to gauge who you are interviewing, not recognising the need to give certain people more compassion and the need to be more assured with others, not staying in control or leading the way with the interview, having interview ruined by difficult to interview people who have one line of argument to repeat like politicians, giving interviewee any editorial control, letting them tell you to avoid certain topics and finally not making the most out of an agreed interview.

Finally on Monday I had my session with Matt. He gave me some technical tips for my project. For this module 44.1 and mono is fine and the standard we should use for our audio. As well as this we were reminded that the razor tool can separate clips and more about separating sounds in audition. You can separate sounds that happen at the same time as well as leaving music quieter. Finally Matt introduced us to taper call, which is a way to record phone calls for any interviews we may have over the phone.

For the last two days of the week LJ was very focussed on our projects and getting us thinking about them. We had returned from our week off so LJ was asking about our ideas and letting us share them with each other to inspire others. LJ also gave us information about the production of packages. A 2-3 minute project like ours could have a maximum of 2-3 voices on it. As well as this we looked at transcripts and their importance on packages. Planning voiceovers is easier with transcripts and it also makes it easier to plan the package as a whole as it gives a sense of time. LJ gave us a task to write a transcript for the audio packages we listened to as an example. My transcript for the package titled “Rashford” is here.
My transcript for the ‘Rashford’ package.

Lastly LJ asked us individually for our plans regarding our projects. At this point I knew my topic was education and COVID and my angle was about the return to school and the issues that had come with that. In this early stage I was focussed on getting people to give their experiences of school during this time and the reality of the situations that teachers and students are facing. I planned interviews with friends who could give me their witness accounts from a students perspective, I also then organised an interview with my mum since she is a witness of the situation due to her job as a teaching assistant at a primary school. Finally I got in touch with the last person I needed to interview which was my expert, Pankaj, who is on the board of governors at my old school, providing valuable insight on why certain decisions were made. The challenge with all of these interviews was finding time where me and the interviewee were free to talk. By Friday I had decided some shots I needed and planned interview questions for my witnesses and expert. I also spent time finding other content on the topic to take inspiration from. Below is how my plan looked on Sunday:

I have made sure I know all of the information about the project as well as brainstorming possible stories. I chose the education story and found inspiration via other packages.
Here I have my questions for lecturers (issues I encountered), my angle / topics to discuss, the logistics for my interviews and the questions I wish to ask each interviewee.