Field recordists need to stomp out dozens of problems in the wild: buzzing fridges, off-stage chatter, gear quirks, and much more. For those gathering sounds worldwide, there are other challenges, too. Asking directions to a state park to record birdsong isn’t easy if you don’t share a common language.
I’ve picked up some language as I’ve travelled recording sound effects. In Thailand, though, the language doesn’t use the Latin script. I can guess roughly what things are, but it’s common to order chicken and get pork instead, or take an off-ramp to the wrong place.
Last week I was amazed when I learned that Google Translate can take a photo of a Thai menu and translate it to English. That wasn’t possible a year ago. So, it’s easier than before.
It made me think about the concept of exchanging information more broadly, though. Often getting things done is held up by the need to translate one thing into another. The desire is there. The tools seldom are.
Field recordists have this problem, too. Their inspiring field recordings won’t reach many ears if they aren’t presented properly. This is why metadata plays a vital role when sharing sound effects. It’s counter-intuitive. How widely their creations spread doesn’t really depend on the audio. It doesn’t matter if the sound is pristine or muddy. A sound that isn’t described properly can’t be found, won’t be understood, and will not be heard. It makes sense. How widely any idea spreads depends on how easily it can be accessed.
Today’s post is here to help. It takes sound designers and field recordists a step closer to ensuring their sound can be found – and heard – by their fans. How? With a step-by-step guide for trading this valuable text information between two popular metadata apps: BaseHead and Soundminer.
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