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By The Cynical Tendency
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Speak And Ye Shall Be Heard

Sunday, February 26, 2017 5:31
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(Before It's News)


Long ago in a distant age, even before satellite TV, we had a few pleasant days in Wales at a very decent place. In the dining room and bar the Welsh voices speaking in Welsh and when in English with a soft lilt to the sound which was quiet and often unheard against the background sounds.

It was at The Mumbles down by Swansea. We are reminded of this by the many complaints about the sound on TV and the increasing difficulty in a range of programmes, but mostly drama etc. of hearing the voices or grasping what they are talking about.

These days, the sound engineers rate below screen directors and have to do as they are told. As the directors prefer for artistic reasons “natural sound” whatever that is, as well as the sound of voices all sorts of other things are on the sound track.The result is endless clatter, crash bang wallop, bump and grind, you name it the director will be running that not just behind but on top of the speech.

As for the voice, the cadences rise up and down, the frequencies vary wildly and all too often the acoustics are dreadful. Actors mutter and splutter, talk with their back to you and out of the side of their mouths.

Our response to this in recent years is after a few minutes of an item, it is not just drama, too many documentaries and other programmes suffer from it, we give up. Often we do not start because if the trailers tell us the sound is bad, then why bother.

The result is that we have gone back to the old days before multi-channel TV, when very often the two or three choices had nothing much to offer except the usual drivel. That was to listen to music that we liked on radio or discs.

These days, however, there is some TV that can act as a kind of wallpaper on screen as we enjoy our sound. Sport can be watched without the burden of the inane commentaries. Golf and winter sports are often scenic and restful. Even cycling, again without the commentary.

Last but not least out there is a treasure trove of old films and items now cheap to source. Many you have seen before but are still watchable. Some are ones you missed and now have the chance of catching up on. Some are ones you did not bother with at the time but now might find them interesting or worth a look.

However, with the modern drama etc. there is something else. You know there is going to be the compulsory sex and violence and these often allow the time to make a cup of tea or pour a drink or have a toilet break. The snag is that a lot of it can mean a lot of drink which in turn means a lot of toilet breaks.

So you “box” it to watch at a later date and with the remote control to hand you can zap through the bits you do not want and pause to take a break. It can mean advert' free TV and also whipping through something in half the time.

If this is the way TV goes then the conventional ideas of what an audience is will change radically. Add to this what is possible from the net and we are in a new world.

But almost all of it is essentially commercial. That means advert's and without effective advertising then the money stream dries up.

Something must happen soon but what? I hope they can tell us clearly and without mumbling.


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