AFTRS Radio has made an impact internationally with our groundbreaking Precipice binaural podcast project. Penelope Thomas (Project Manager – Applied Industry Research) has presented on our behalf at RadioDays Europe in Vienna.
Penelope Thomas discussed binaural technology, which essentially gives us 360-degree sound. It provides new details plus an idea of space for the listener. Penelope said it “creates an audio picture in your mind”.
Thomas discussed her project “Precipice”, which started as a result of conversations at Radiodays Europe in Paris two years ago. It opens up a whole new realm in the podcasting space, as the narrative has been created specifically for binaural technology – a world first in podcasting. It is made by filmmakers and has brought filmmaking techniques to audio production. There is no narration in the podcast – leading to rich, textured and immersive storytelling. The storyline of Precipice is fascinating, revolving around love and grief – and the idea that one can never be without the other.
Thomas described how writing for binaural is hard. She explained that a lot of the lines and meanings are implied in working with sound. And she and her team learnt a lot during the process – for example, if actors would walk around in circles around the mic, it would sound like they were moving forwards constantly. These techniques led to a very experimental working process.
She discussed ‘triangulation’ and sound – and a need for three elements within the soundscaping to create the binaural sound. These might be speech, traffic, people walking, luggage, birds, planes or conversations in the background. This leads to a cinematic visual.
In order to measure the outcome of the audio project, Penelope said, they measured emotional responses using Galvanic Skin Response (measuring heart rate and skin temperature). The result? Penelope and her team beliebe that audience engagement remained high throughout the presentation of the audio. And they assert that binaural is, therefore, radio’s augmented reality – and taps into the power of the imagination.