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Beginner looking to produce my first radio documentary - advice needed on best practice!

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Beginner looking to produce my first radio documentary - advice needed on best practice!

Postby alaurence » Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:22 pm

Hi,

I'm in the process of planning a radio documentary that I hope to begin recording in the next six months. It's going to be set in a school and will involve recording a classroom, with around 4-5 people in the room including myself and the students.

I know a fair bit about basic production skills but I have very little awareness of "best practice", the kind of best practice production companies employ when making a radio piece to be broadcast on the BBC, for example. What types of microphones would one use in this kind of context? What else should I consider? Any help is massively appreciated.

Thanks,

Adam
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Re: Beginner looking to produce my first radio documentary - advice needed on best practice!

Postby wireman » Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:20 pm

I don't have any answers but suspect you need to provide more information.

Do you have any helpers?
Are you recording a class without interacting with it?
Are you asking questions and getting answers from individuals?
Are students fixed or moving around?
What is the age group?
What constraints do you have in placing equiptment?
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Re: Beginner looking to produce my first radio documentary - advice needed on best practice!

Postby zenguitar » Sun Oct 04, 2020 11:35 pm

The BBC website is a good place to start. Searching for "commissioning for BBC Radio" found this link which includes plenty of useful information, including some good links.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articl ... bc-radio-4

The style guide will be very useful for you.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Beginner looking to produce my first radio documentary - advice needed on best practice!

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Oct 05, 2020 7:39 am

Welcome to the SOS Forum! :thumbup: :clap:

Are you in the UK?

Do you already work in the school?

I ask because of 'it' - COVID-19.

I (used to) visit two schools regularly to help with assemblies. At present that is, understandably, a no-no and will remain so for some time.

And in addition to that, working with kids in a school setting is complicated. Not with the kids, who can be delightful, funny and charming. It's more about school-guidelines, parental consent, 'right to review' etc. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt... The BBC is particularly 'hot' on that stuff and wants paperwork/proof for all aspects.

Jus' sayin'....
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Re: Beginner looking to produce my first radio documentary - advice needed on best practice!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:20 am

alaurence wrote:It's going to be set in a school and will involve recording a classroom, with around 4-5 people in the room including myself and the students.

Tricky. Classrooms tend to be large and relatively reverberant rooms (at least to most mic techniques) with lots of 'noises off'. So it all depends on exactly what you are trying to achieve, how close the group of speakers will be, whether they are moving around, whether they are seated at tables, whether it's a free-for-all or carefully structured. The nature of editing also affects how you would cover a group like that too.

The devil really is in the detail, and there just isn't enough in your post to even make broad brush suggestions.

And don't discount Mike's comments -- the 'permissions' side of working with kids is also pretty involved.
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