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UNINTELLIGIBLE DIALOGUE ON TV DRAMAS

Friday, 6th May 2016

The Association of Motion Picture Sound (AMPS) has a membership of world class creative sound technicians including many BAFTA, Oscar and Emmy winners. We believe the issue of dialogue intelligibility has multiple causes but ultimately one effect, which is losing the involvement of the audience.

There are a number of factors involved in the production and capture of good dialogue in TV drama and replicating it in the home environment. Performances that include whispering or mumbling of dialogue from actors can be one of these. A director or writer, often being very familiar with the script, may not be aware the performance may be difficult to understand by an audience hearing it for the first time.There may also be technical issues associated with multi camera shooting that make the use of boom microphones impossible and create a dependency on radio microphones. Some costume choices are not radio microphone friendly. Additionally, many dramas are shot on locations that are not acoustically suitable. These factors all contribute to the complaints by the public of ‘I can’t understand what the actor is saying’.

We are happy to engage in discussions to help improve the intelligibility of performances presented to viewers and maintain the highest technical sound standards for TV drama. Should the BBC or any other organisation want to draw on our combined expertise in finding the best solution to this issue we are more than happy to help. We can be contacted at admin@amps.net.

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