Story Production Betterment

What works for Drabblecast? What doesn't? New ideas? Speak up!
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normsherman
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Story Production Betterment

Post by normsherman » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:28 pm

Starting this topic because it seems I'm in the ill-fated situation of having too happy/nice an audience. :-)
Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate the appreciation, but I thought I needed a nook where listeners felt comfortable giving critical feedback as far as the story production specifically.

I've noticed in my own setup that the mix/production changes drastically depending on what computer/car/ipod etc I'm listening through, whether or not I'm using headphones , etc. Do things sometimes out of whack wherever you listen?

Always striving for balance and consistency in the mix, but am also usually experimenting with software, mics and new ideas. I get trapped in my own head after hearing these stories a million times before publishing, need honest criticism to improve.

So if one week (or every week) the music is too loud/soft, a foley effect jacks you out of the story-- basically anything non-story that diminishes rather than augments the experience-- post it here!
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Phenopath
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Re: Story Production Betterment

Post by Phenopath » Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:05 pm

Um, what's with your weird Australian accent? And enough of the jokes already :-(
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Re: Story Production Betterment

Post by moonowl » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:06 am

I'm happy to help somehow if you want us to look at anything specific. My house has as many electronics as the Nebuchadnezzar. I mean I usually listen via my iPhone with some better-end earbuds, but I can try other computers then my Dell or Mac lappies I usually use, or even the mixer and audiophile headphones hubby has in his recording room upstairs.

I'm guessing since most people use the same electronic device to listen every week, you notice the variances over devices more them we would.

I hate most background music and sound effects. The Drabblecast is one of the few 'casts where this isn't the case. During my recent back-episode immersion, the times your production annoyed me I can count on one hand. Then it was a stylistic choice you had made. I don't think we are trying to blow sunshine up yer butt. You are just doing a really stellar job. You are the American Experience of Weird.

edit:
Okay, okay. The demonic stuffed animals in the last EP sounded strangely like Wall-E. A bit- electronic- for stuffies perhaps.
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Re: Story Production Betterment

Post by strawman » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:19 am

For what it's worth, the combination of the Choadsworth accent, the Russian Count's accent, the background music, and Dr Seuss caused me to strain so hard I got hemorrhoids. But then, I'm one of those annoying people who continually interrupt those who are talking to me with "Hunh?" and "What'd he say?"
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ROU Killing Time
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Re: Story Production Betterment

Post by ROU Killing Time » Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:28 am

I'm not hearing enough cowbell.

(I'm sorry, someone had to say it, might as well have been me.)

I dunno, I use an iPod and those things sound great. I guess I should avoid his thread. I'm too much of an ass-kisser and perpetually in awe of what you pull together.

On second thought, try not to inhale aersolized pig-brains in any episodes I appear in. You still sounded a bit queezy in episode #137.
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Re: Story Production Betterment

Post by tbaker2500 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:48 am

I agree with strawman, the Dr. Seuss Choadsworth got a bit hard to understand. And the bad guy in the sun dress started to sound Jamaican.


But you want constructive criticism, I probably have one point to make. Your use of background music is better than any other I've listened to, but it's still not quite right. I don't have any particular episode in mind. But when you use off the shelf music, there is a harsh transition when you bring in a new piece at volume, then back it off to background, and let it ride for a while. Then a plot shifts, you pick a new piece of music, and because those pieces were never meant to go together, it feels a bit jagged.

I can always tell when you are adlibbing some background music/fx or sat down and wrote some. It has a produced, quality feel to it. The off the shelf stuff sometimes just doesn't quite fit. Now, I admit, there are plenty of times when it does fit. But if I were to pick out one thing that is different from a really good audio studio and your weekly show, it's how much time and effort you have in a given week to write a score for the piece. When you do, it's awesome. When you don't, it's good.
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Re: Story Production Betterment

Post by ROU Killing Time » Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:04 am

Maybe more audio processing on the Al Sharpton bit to take away the "cut and paste" feel. (See I CAN be critical...)
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Re: Story Production Betterment

Post by tbaker2500 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:52 pm

Only after I was!
You saw that I didn't get booted, THEN you went and posted. Pshaw.

:-)
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Re: Story Production Betterment

Post by Phenopath » Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:05 pm

Nonsense, I am the most critical of Norm.
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Re: Story Production Betterment

Post by StalinSays » Sat Jan 16, 2010 9:38 pm

Unsolicited Platitude: Drabblecast is worlds ahead of any other podcast I listen to, including sponsored shows, award winners, iTunes most downloaded's and ESPN.

Solicited Critique: I sometimes hear you breath in audibly after a sentence (a huuh't'hissp), no biggie, but in certain segments it becomes overly noticeable because of the succession, like once every sentence. My impression is that you must head back and cut it out in stories but will ease up during transition segments. It certainly doesn't hurt my overall enjoyment of a drabblecast, but if we're using microscopes to split the hairs of hairs it's something I pick up on.
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Re: Story Production Betterment

Post by alhilton » Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:02 pm

What Bo said.

It seems really rude to criticize something this good that I get for free, so I'm only saying this because you asked.

Every now and then, it sounds like you need a better pop filter. I notice this in lines you send to me as well as on Drabblecast. You produce breath-over-mic noise (pops) that can usually be eliminated by (a) hanging the mic at the level of your eye so that breath goes underneath (b) having a good pop filter between your mouth and the mic and (c) staying at least 6 inches from the mic and trusting your normalizing equipment to create adequate volume (rather than trying to create it by getting really close). I personally have to do all those things to get a pop-free recording.

I'm pretty sure you're doing some things that work well when singing, but are not optimum for spoken audio.
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Re: Story Production Betterment

Post by strawman » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:33 am

Re: Cassie
Good story, as usual. Possible critique: Abby and Mur sounded similar to my ear, which was a little distracting. Shouldn't they have Greek and Trojan accents?
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Re: Story Production Betterment

Post by TheBori » Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:19 pm

Norm,
Long time listener, first time poster....well, I haven't been listening for too long, but I did run back-to-back-to-back-to...episodes to catch up. I will concur with most posters here that your production values are excellent. I listen to several podcasts of this ilk, namely StarShipSofa and EscapePod and the Drabllescast occupies a unique position in that pantheon. You add music and effects, whereas the other 'casts do not. I usually find it helps the story quite a bit, much as the music helps set the tone in a scary movie.
As to the comments on your narrations....p'shah! I narrate for the SSS and EscapePoda and I'm surprised you can do the narration, editing and production in the time you allot yourself. The occasional pop, and frankly I cannot recall any, is easily overlooked in the grander scheme. I don't think folks realize the amount of work it takes to listen to every damn second of a recording trying to excise "organic" demons. Frankly, I prefer a good inhalation sound. Like the music, it can be used to drive the pacing of narration...build momentum and show desperation. Now, don't go all Brenda Vacarro Playtex Commercial on me (you youngsters can look that up), but don't fret the human condition.
Anyway, glad to be aboard...looking forward to the next episode. Keep up the good work.
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Re: Story Production Betterment

Post by normsherman » Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:06 am

It's Mike Boris! Hey man, loved your read of Come All Ye Faithful. You do a great job. SO glad to have you hanging out with us, and am stoked you're diggin the show!
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Re: Story Production Betterment

Post by doubleU46 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:53 am

I'm fairly new to Drabblecast and unlike some of the observations here, I can't really hear anything wrong. I have an ancient MP3 player, and everything sounds wonderful. My only suggestion would be to list the music you use. Sometimes it's SO wonderful, I'm moved to find it -- I want to download it or buy it or listen to it sans the story. Like the background music for Episode 166 - "Jubilee." Can't get that music out of my head. It was incredible.

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