(SOAP BOX ALERT)
I have been teaching and preaching about using natural sound in news and feature stories forever. It is one of the things high school broadcast students frequently forget. “NAT SOUND.”
It is also something that seems to get a pass in national contests. We have all seen too many stories win recognition, held up as the “best of the best,” with almost no natural sound. Things happen visually in the story that obviously make noise, but that audio is muted. All we hear is the reporter voice track.
Where does that happen in the real world? Where do you ever go where there is absolutely no sound around you? Unless you live in a sound proof booth, the answer is no where.
The emphasis on including NAT SOUND in video stories is pretty universal. Professionals insist on it. College professors lecture about it. The best high school teachers emphasize it.
So can we all agree that NAT SOUND has to become a consistent expectation, something that automatically separates the top stories from the also-rans?
Remind students of this: Sound is half of your video.
Here’s an investigative piece two of my students produced about ten years ago. The NAT SOUND was important for this piece, which could have been very, very dry without it.