I learned about “parallel parking” audio from John Larson & Mark Morache, the outstanding reporter/photographer team, working, at the time, at KOMO in Seattle. In fact, I believe John and Mark came up with the term.
“Parallel parking” is a way to stay in the moment.
In a nutshell, when you are logging your video, time out the silence, then fill it with tracks that you write to fit.
In this story (at 1:53) a moment builds as our main character moves from high-fives, to intense pain, to an ovation from his friends. The shot lasts 18 seconds. Though the shot is long, it doesn’t have to feel like it – and with the right words can actually be enhanced.
I remembered what I learned from John and Mark 20 years ago. If you haven’t already, maybe you can find a place for this in your toolbox too.
Former KSTP chief photojournalist Mark Anderson noted, “You find those precious moments because you log every piece of nat sound, which says a lot about your excellent approach to producing a story.”
Then the creator of the term chimed in, “This is a wonderful story,” added John Larson, “and a great example of using p-parking to stay in moments that matter. Be careful, everyone. Don’t parallel park just to parallel park. Just like in the real world, if you try parallel parking in inappropriate spots? You wind up either wasting everybody’s time, or with a broken tail light.”
Huppert responded to his teacher, “Well stated John. I could also find examples – of my own – where I was trying too hard to make it work, just for the sake of doing it. I find it works best when I’m writing directly to what is happening in the visual. Doesn’t work when I’m going one direction and the video is going in another.”
Sometimes, I think of the track as just treading water,” Larson responded. “Keeping the narrative going just long enough so the moment can play out. P-parked tracks can be pointed, poignant but they don’t have to be. As long as they are serving the moment, they can be filler — the moment is where the juice is.” Larson added, “Btw, love the, ‘this spread, too’ And, ‘he is ready’. Simple, powerful observations – really nice.”