Editing Episode 10 - When the Boat Comes In

Growing up in the north-east of England, it was impossible to remain unware of the region’s industrial heritage. In particular, shipbuilding on the Tyne has a distinguished 800-year history. As a child of the 1970s and 80s, however, it was also impossible to ignore the decline in shipbuilding – indeed, in all forms of manufacturing industry – in northern England at that time. Unemployment rose, and once-busy docks and slipways fell into disuse, lending a melancholy air to the river, and a sense of dispair to the region as a whole.

Since then there has been massive regeneration. Like similar areas in cities such as Sheffield and Birmingham, Newcastle’s Quayside has been transformed into a centre for arts and culture, as well as new housing developments.

So what does all this have to do with Editing Episode 10? Well… not much. But after 10 episodes, I’m rather running out of things to talk about.

Picture of the Tyne Bridge, Newcastle, UK

This picture of the Tyne Bridge will use up some space.

OK, let’s give this a go… Episode 10, as you will no doubt recall, is set on a boat. A 19th-century ship bound for scientific exploration in southern climes, no less. This meant that, aurally speaking, I had to build a boat.

The boat sound effect consists of three main elements:

  1. Creaking of the wooden structure
  2. Waves
  3. Wind

I was all set to go hunting for individual effects and build the soundscape myself, but a quick Freesound search for ‘wooden ship creaking’ revealed that user Walter_Odington had already done most of the hard work for me. I felt that the creaking was a little loud, and perhaps a bit too regular, so I reduced the volume and added some extra waves to draw the listener’s ear away from the creaking (if the listener is focusing on the creaking rather than the dialogue, then something has gone very wrong somewhere).

Action Dan’s script featured scenes on the deck of the ship as well as in various cabins, so I created a second version of the background noise by adding some wind, which I had kicking around from Episode 4, and then played the whole thing a bit louder over the dialogue track. And you can practically taste the salt.

Anyway, that’s 374 words, which is more than enough for one month. It’s a Science Brian script next time, so I imagine I’ll have the opposite problem in trying to keep my ranting about impossible sound effects to a reasonable length. I’d like to think that Science Brian will take this as a challenge to include simple sound effects that will not send my blood pressure soaring, but I fear this may be too much to ask. Ah well.

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