skip to main content

Documentary on One

The Sound of Sport

TV Sport sound designers - the group of people who listen to sports events more than watch them. They use their skills to enhance the pictures but sometimes add little touches of their own. (2016)

Rate this doc
  • 4.9/5 (13 ratings)
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
4.9/5 (13 ratings)

The Sound of Sport

When we think of the sound of sport on TV or radio, it's generally commentary. But what's around the commentary? Broadcast sport would be nothing without the crowds, the kicks, the thwacks and the grunts. This programme is about those sounds and why they matter.

During the World Cup of 2010, the Vuvuzelas made many people realise that the sound of a sports event, something they took for granted, does matter.

Dennis Baxter's job is to think about the sound of sport, and he is our guide. For years he's worked on the Olympics, defining how the broadcast will sound, always trying to increase drama and excitement. For him, closer is generally better. If he can put a microphone on an athlete, he will.

While Wimbledon has a special sonic drama all of its own, the hush of the crowd is particularly special for the BBC’s Bill Whiston, who mixed the Bafta-nominated sound of the 2008 finals.

When good sound isn't available, it's not uncommon for a prerecorded sound to be added to cover the shot. Is this cheating or merely giving us what we expect?

And what of the impact of video games and movies?  They use studio sound and specially-treated sound – do sound designers have to compete with those expectations when transmitting live events?  We meet a Hollywood sound effects specialist and a video game sound designer to find out what they do to create a sense of authenticity and excitement.

If you’re a sports fan or a casual viewer of the big events,  this programme will make you think more about what you hear when you watch TV sport.

Producer: Peregrine Andrews

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

First broadcast on RTÉ Radio: August 1, 2016

“Documentary on One - the home of radio documentaries in Ireland”.


These are some of our favourites ...

If you have an Idea?

If you want to suggest a subject or you want to make a documentary? Let us know