Always Have an Escape Plan

This blog is all about my trials, tribulations, and triumphs with creating the Random Waves podcast.  This is my first attempt at producing audio pieces, so of course I'm going to make mistakes along the way.  I'm not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them (unless, of course, I would look like a fool for doing so).  Today was one of those "learning experience" times.  Well, rather, it was a reinforcement of something I should have remembered...

Last Saturday night, I recorded interviews at the travel ban protest at Bradley Airport.  It was only after I had gotten home that I realized I had made a rookie mistake.  I forgot to record ambient sound.  Ambient sound is important for interview pieces, because it allows you to edit in narration without it being too jarring.  You can layer the ambient sound under all the other clips to make them appear to have been recorded together in one spot.  It's part of the magic of audio production -- tricking the listener into thinking that everything is happening right there in front of them, just as they hear.

Now, I can always find some copyright-free ambient airport sound clip to use for my piece.  That's actually easy to do.  I did it with street noise for my Primal Scream episode.  What was more egregious was that I realized I also never recorded the protest itself.  Now, it was a silent protest, in that there was no chanting.  But there were some interaction between the protesters and arriving passengers, which would have been great to capture.  Now, I could try to recreate that, but that would be pushing things a bit.

Thinking about this problem, I came up with a nifty solution.  It just so happens that a larger, more organized protest was happening at the airport on Sunday afternoon (a few hours ago).  What I could do is go back, record the ambient I missed last time, and then record the chanting of the new protest.  No, I wouldn't use the chanting to characterize Saturday's protest.  But I can use that audio to introduce the contrast as to how quiet Saturday's protest was.


I stayed at the Sunday protest until it died down and people started going home.  I packed up, went back to my car in the parking garage, and promptly waited in a line of cars that was not moving at all.  Having dozens of protesters all leave a five-story parking garage at the same time is NOT a quick process.  In desperation, I parked again, went inside the terminal, and sat with a coffee and doughnut for a half-hour while the traffic dissipated.

As a podcaster, I'm interested in big events to cover (sometimes).  I know I should never park where everyone else is parking.  Of course that leads to sitting in non-moving traffic.  Better to have a long walk than a long standing in line.

Rookie mistake.