Tip of the Week | Sometimes we get carried away with natural sound

I was watching CBS Sunday morning this morning.  A story about a vintage doll doctor comes on.

Vintage Doll Doctor

I noticed, especially in the first  30 seconds of the story, the natural sound breaks were loose.  The editor, George Pozderec, doesn’t butt the soundbites or narration up tightly to the natural sound breaks.  There are two shots at the beginning of the package with natural sound full for five seconds.

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The way some of us edit we might of done that in two seconds.  From the seven second mark until the 13 seconds mark we have another natural sound break.

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The editor just lets the natural sound breathe for a moment.  There is to rush to put in too much natural sound or make the natural sound breaks quick.  There is a natural sound break of the jeep door shutting at 29 seconds.  The nat doesn’t feel like it’s tight up against the narration or the soundbite after. It feels like a ‘relaxed’ natural sound break.  It may not seem like much, but half a second here and there can allow your story to breathe and not have so many abrupt natural sound breaks that hurt a story.

This breathing of natural sound is unlike a story I did five years ago.  I now think my natural sound breaks are too quick and somewhat annoying.  Watch the story from the 1:12 to the 1:46 point.

All those natural sound breaks I’m trying to squeeze in between every word of the instructor’s soundbites hurt the story.  It’s difficult to follow what exactly he’s saying.  It is cool nat pops?  Yeah!  It is adding to the story?  No.  I was trying too hard to utilize all that natural sound.

In my 18 plus years of editing I’ve got gone through many phases in how I produce stories.  I’ve had phases where every story had music.  I’ve had phases where the natural sound was super crazy and way over the top.  We are all just trying to tell a good story.  I always say, “The best edit is one that’s never seen.”  Maybe I should add something about natural sound to that statement too.

I’d love if you’d share a story with me.  Show me a story you’ve produced that was a development moment for you when it comes to natural sound.  Please post them on our Facebook page here.

Thank you for reading.

Shawn Montano