Can You Hear Me Now?

Sporting Event

Following on from our second blog post with Marty Meyer our Strategic Account Manager, Post-Production & Production Rentals in the USA, this week we discussed the creative use of audio. Marty completely believes that creating a believable story entails creative use of audio. Good sound is engaging and is a great tool that enhances both narrative and live events.

“I’m not sure what to think about using prerecorded and produced audio for live events. While it’s supposed to replicate crowd reaction it seems somewhat disingenuous to predict what a fictitious crowd will do. Harken back to the days where sit coms used laugh tracks – really, not so funny. They were pretty predictable and often fell flat, but maybe not so flat today.” 

Why does Marty say that? 

To say technology has advanced is cliche yet true. We’ve evolved and there are new and significantly capable products on the market with thanks in part to gaming companies and folks who have the foresight to gather the information they don’t necessarily have an immediate application for. 

Some sports productions are using Wwise, a product manufactured by Audiokinetics, that contains a suite of tools to enable users to create a dynamic range of music and sound effects. Game developers are big users with over 500 games running their software. One of the most compelling company claims is that Wwise features an open API and integrates easily into any tool or application. 

Then there’s Vince Caputo who worked in the audio department of NFL Media for 35 years, adding music and sound effects to NFL productions. He cataloged those sounds and it turned out to be quite an advantage. Caputo teamed up with the director of education at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Tempe, Arizona who was working with Wwise. Together they made magic with Caputo’s sound collection and Wwise’s game applications. Interesting here to is that stadiums and their fan sounds have subtle differences between them, including how they cheer for point scores. 

In their September issue, TV Technology reports that Fox Sports production teamed up with audio engineer Fred Vogler who runs Los Angeles based company sonofans. Fred Vogler compiled a collection of sounds from PAC 12 stadiums that Fox is now using to beef up their broadcasts. They too note that every sport has unique sounds, with boxing fans having particularly staccato, tight percussive voices. 

Videogame pros are not surprised at the convergence of gaming and live sports. Game producers create immersive worlds that replicate their live-action counterparts. William Collis, co-founder of Boston based Oxygen Esports, claims that he’s not surprised at the marriage, citing an example of Olympic rowing where they remixed and enhanced the audio portion because it’s virtually impossible to acquire broadcast quality audio. Who knew?   

Here at Gravity Media, our audio systems are used on some of the highest-profile and most demanding productions such as I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, Britain’s Got Talent, and The X Factor. To find out more about Gravity Media and how we can help you on your next production either go to our website, download our introductory brochure here or email us directly on