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Sonospheric investigations 
Greetings from the shed...
This is my 18,740th day on planet Earth.
I have no shortage of gathered sound, but a distinct lack of images. I conversed with Studio Spares, Rode, Shure, Neumann, Sennheiser, Libsyn, BBCR&D, HeilSound, Audioboom, Ant Short, Ant Mcginley Studiocare, Nomono and many more. I’ll share as much as I can over the coming weeks. Sadly none of the talks on how to ‘Vodcast’ or garner a massive audience interested me in the slightest. In fact the focus on monetisation at any cost quickly put me off anything happening in the auditoriums. I found most value in conversations I had on and between the booths. That’s where the real passion was. More on that in a bit.
This week I discovered Nick Siepmann through this bit of fun.
A brilliant video with hardly any views considering the skill and passion that went into it. I figured his modest subscriber number was down to him being new, but with 35 videos over four years I can see it’s because he is someone getting on with being creative wherever and whenever he wants. Not pandering to the algorithms.
I really respect that and am sure that organically he is going to pull in all kinds of interesting and curious people to his style of music, audio production, photography, videography and songwriting.
Generative fill in Photoshop Beta is entertaining lots of people.
Dancing transcends the confines of judgment and embraces the boundless realm of self-expression. In its purest form, there is no concept of 'bad' dancing, for every movement is a unique reflection of one's inner being, an untamed expression of joy, vulnerability and authenticity.
I wrote that in response to this beautiful moment from Tom Robinson.
As I mentioned, I have hours of audio to sort out from this last week. But not just from the Podcast Show. I have the audio from a 100k bike ride that is so long and meandering it will be released into the subscribers podcast feed. Mostly for those that either have an exercise bike and would like to go virtual cycling with me, or those who have nothing better to do than listen to me heavy breathing and waffling on on about things like this…
While chatting with people at the Podcast Show I found it hard to explain how I only occasionally edit my audio. That to me it wasn’t about trying to emulate the well produced sound of a radio show, but more to capture actuality.
I feel unedited actuality emphasises the sentiment embedded within raw and unfiltered audio recordings.
For me it preserves the genuine essence of a captured moment.
Unlike highly produced podcasts that aim for a polished and structured format, unedited actuality prioritises the real-life experience. It embraces the imperfection in unscripted conversations. Allowing the pauses, breaths and stumbles to tell the story as well as the words do.
As you preserve the natural flow and spontaneity of conversations, I find an added authenticity in the moment. I hope that like me, listeners can feel a deeper connection and relate to the unfiltered emotions, nuances, and genuine reactions expressed therein.
I'm not at all against editing. Be it for brevity, discretion or style. But by presenting unedited content, you allow the listener to witness the actual dialogue and provide transparency and honesty.
I also find that the inclusion of natural background sounds, ambient noise, and the surrounding atmosphere enhances the sensory experience. It allows the listener to immerse themselves in a more vivid and engaging listening journey.
There is also an intimacy. Especially When stories unfold at their natural pace. We might relate more to the voices and emotions, compelled to continue as we are carried along.
It's easier but not easy. Polished podcasts can be time-consuming to create. Not to say resource-intensive. Unedited actuality offers a more streamlined production process. It also requires less knowledge of post production techniques.
Ideally you still have a narrative arc. Creating a sense of anticipation and curiosity will get the ball rolling. And you can do this when you establish a clear opening. As you introduce the people, place or thing involved and set the scene with some context.
Think conversation over interview and allow natural unscripted interactions. I often get the person to introduce themselves or offer a little background in their own words. This helps everything to feel personal right from the start.
Don't force things. You will know when to dwell for a moment on an intriguing point or emotional revelation.
It's a journey, and keeping the narrative flow is always more daunting when contemplating how that might happen. If you can, just guide the conversation in the moment. It might be that you begin with an idea of where you want to end up. It might also be that the conversation offers you another place to go. Just do your best to get somewhere.
Sometimes the conclusion arrives all by itself and all that’s left to do it offer a round up or discuss a call to action. But don't force it. It's ok to sound like friends finishing a conversation and going their own ways. Or even to leave the listener wanting more. Just maintain the authenticity of the moment.
If you feel the urge, minimal editing can remove irrelevant segments or improve clarity without compromising the overall integrity. But it should only be to enhance the listening experience and not to alter that essence of the actuality.
I have over two thousand unedited recordings online. Most of them captured on my phone with the tap of a button. Post production was adding a title and a photo, then hitting the share button.
All of them capture a moment of sorts. Many of them a genuine, unfiltered audio experience that resonates at a deeper level.
It's a wonderful to collect and remember fortuitous chance encounters.
For instance, it’s been 12 years since I travelled to Norway. Somewhere I’d like to revisit. I met Ragnar on the flight over. It was noisy and we had constant interruptions. That didn’t stop us connecting though. [Audio 12:12]
The worst and best eating experiences this week are easy to define. I was asked to pay £9 for an Afro-Caribbean style salad outside kings cross station and despite being famished, there was little to like about it. Similar to things I have eaten and enjoyed more than once, but this was just weird.
Anything in chunk form was so tough it was almost inedible and on the whole, the flavours seemed to be broken or totally missing. It’s what I imagine the dubious food in Legend of Zelda to taste like. But then there was this.
At the podcast show, he Norwegian company behind the Nomono (more on them below) did not have any stickers or t-shirts on their stand but they did have some KitKat-type bars. When I asked if they were like KitKat they said. “No! Much better.”
Once home I cracked one open and immediately regretted not picking up more of these. Far better than KitKat with a creamier chocolate and much nicer finish. Perfect with a cup of tea. It saddens me that I might not get to taste these again. Especially as even If I get back to Norway I might struggle to ask for Kvikk Lunsj Kjekssjokolade. (It’s almost 12 years to the day since I was last in Norway.)
You already know how excited I get when I discover a new piece of tech that enables us to better capture stories. Well this particular device has me very excited indeed.
It’s a portable podcasting studio that is so simple to use. No wires to connect, no levels to adjust, all you need to do is:
Open the charging case and lift out the ‘Space Recorder’.
Remove and clip on one or more of the ‘Stellar mics’.
Hit the red button to start recording.
I have this on lone from Nomono as I asked them if I could demo it for couple of people I’m working with (or would like to work with). I’ll also be demoing it at my workshops. Not because I am being paid to do so. Purely because I want to see if this is really as good as it seemed on my first demo. We were sat on a table in the middle of the Podcasting show and the place was crazy noisy. Yes we recorded a chat, it uploaded to the cloud and when we hit the enhance button, all kinds of machine learning things happened and the audio was enhanced beyond what I thought possible. (Samples to come.)
Should you be at one of my workshops there is a chance I’ll have it with me. Especially if you’re at Thinking Digital. Let’s capture a conversation and share some stories.
I must thank those that pay $5/month to keep things going and get all the content I share into this feed. If you are able, please upgrade to become a paid supporter. That’s where most of the audio lives. ;-)
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Some of my other places include Flickr, Strava, Untappd, Diaspora, Vivino, LinkedIn, YouTube, Mastodon, a ham radio newsletter called 73 from G5DOC or search ‘Documentally’ on Wire, Twitter or Bluesky.
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When you look at this do you feel like you're getting old (we all are) or feel lucky to be alive?
Thanks for reading. This was a long one. Glad you made it but there is a little more to go. Next week I feel there might be a lot to report. For starters I hope to get to Stealing Thunder. So the open-to-all email might be a little late. Also next Thursday sees the beginning of June which means it's #AudioMo. Share social audio to the tag and we will find you. Have a great weekend.
“Reality is a sound, you have to tune in to it not just keep yelling.” ~ Anne Carson
See you out there.