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September 2014 l 31


broadcast


Simon Bishop: “I think Jamaica Inn will prove to be a good thing in TV..


guidelines for production staff on how to get the best audio for different types of programme.


Colin Browne, chairman of the VLV, says he is “disappointed” that the guidance was not followed in some cases. “The BBC was presented with this initiative in 2001 so I am concerned that the issue seems to be carrying on. It can’t be in anybody’s interest for a programme not to be understood,” he comments. The IPS, which assisted in assessing the results of the TV Audibility Survey, has issued a statement on the subject in the wake of Jamaica Inn, or ‘Jamumble Inn’ as some in the sound industry are now calling it. This points out that in 1993, when the Corporation was being restructured on more free market lines by then director-general John Birt, the authority to reject a programme before transmission was transferred from operational and technical staff to the producer of the show concerned. Also at this time many full-time operations personnel left the BBC and were employed on a freelance basis.


Because of this, says the IPS, audio freelancers “may suggest alterations to a sound mix, can encourage directors to move to a quieter location, request a louder/clearer performance from artists, ask that the level of incident music or sound effects be lowered but... have no authority to insist it is done”. It adds that because of this some audio professionals have been cautious about “pushing their client too far”. Simon Bishop observes that no one notices TV sound “until there is something wrong”. He adds that the IPS has heard of sound recordists using recent events to assert themselves when there is a problem with audio, and a re-take or other action is necessary, by warning directors, “You don’t want this to turn out like Jamaica Inn, do you?” As maligned as that production now is, Bishop concludes that it could serve a higher purpose: “I think Jamaica Inn will prove to be a good thing in TV because it will make people think more about sound than they did before.”  www.ips.org.uk


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