Picking The Best Bits

Posted By on Sep 14 2010 12:00 AM
Over the past year, I've created various feature packages, primarily created to showcase the "best parts" of events that radio stations have covered. With so much content captured through these events, it's sometimes hard to pick the right content for a five minute package.

If you're creating a Best Bits package, whether it be the best bits of an event, show etc, you should aim to get a good variety of audio. Now, you might be thinking "well, obviously!", but some people might just find an entire section of audio from the day, or a particular person and just put it in there, which, if it's just one voice, can make it a little... boring. 

As a producer, if other teams are going out getting interviews, vox-pops or other bits of audio, when you get the files to edit with, if something sticks out to you as "this could be good for the best bits", make a note of them. Heck, even create a "Best Bits" folder on your desktop and copy the file to there, then you know exactly where it is and won't have to spend hours trawling through other folders just to find it.

You can never have too many audio files ready for a best bits package. It's better to have more, even if you don't use them all, safe in the knowledge that if particular bits don't fit in, you've got other bits of audio to fall back on.

Of course, when it comes to editing the piece together, your own judgement of where to place particular items should be justified, and it may be that a person in a role higher than you requires to listen to the piece before it goes to air. Try not to place contradictory pieces next to each other, and if you have varying voices answering the same question, try and mix them up a bit, this will make your package sound a little more varied, and keep the listener engaged. The same can be applied in terms of music, production elements and the like.

Depending on the style of package you're creating, you should consider if it necessarily needs a backing track. All of the "best bits" packages I've produced have had backing tracks relating to the content within them, perhaps tracks from any artists mentioned, or a particular style of instrumental to match the theme of the package. I've recently finished producing a feature package relating to an event taking place this weekend that a radio station will be broadcasting live from. I used two instrumental pieces as backing music to represent the content within, as well as the overall cause. "Happy Ending" from Mika really fits in well with the overall aim and style of the package.

Overall, if you're producing a "Best Bits" or any other type of package, here are my three top tips

  1. Have lots of audio cuttings saved in a separate folder, even if you don't use them all in your final package, they could be handy for something else
  2. Think of your target audience, and what you want them to get out of it when producing the package, what do you think they'd like to hear? Or perhaps think of what their best bits would be.
  3. Variations - Probably an obvious one, but use a varying amount of content, if available, to keep the listener engaged.
These are just my views, if you've got other views, or tips and fancy sharing them, please leave a comment below!

*This article originates from the blog of Producer Pinnell, which has been slightly amended for use on Broadcasting World and has been used with permission. Click Here to visit the blog



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