The Secrets of Sound

The Secrets of Sound

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By Alice Aries,
Wednesday, 20th December 2017


A considerable crowd of interested attendees met in Film City where they were welcomed by host Stephen Ferguson, eminent media manager and freelance journalist. He went on to introduce guests Kahl Henderson of Savalas and freelance dubbing mixer and lecturer Diane Jardine to discuss their experiences in sound production. Kahl cofounded Savalas in 1998 and it has since grown to become Scotland’s largest audio post-production centre, and was the recipient of the RTS Scotland Sound Award 2017. Diane’s company That’s Sound supports women working and studying in the audio industry across Scotland.

On the topic of secrecy Kahl explained his mantra of keeping his work guarded while sharing as much as he can, considering collaborative methods to be the best way to develop his own techniques. Diane remarked that she is fairly protective of her FX library due to the amount research, time and travel that can go into achieving just a single sound. It is a hugely personal subject for her, and her immensely diverse library represents the personal journey behind each sound, from dogs barking to the juddering train engines of Mongolia. She agrees that we need to share to progress, and does her part in shaping the next generation of sound technicians through her teachings at Forth Valley College.

Both guests were keen to address the question of why women are not flourishing in the audio industry. Diane, whose work focuses around encouraging women within the industry pressed that the technical subjects should be adapted and expanded within schools to encourage young women to consider a career in the technical industries. Her own approach sees women from the creative industries giving talks and lectures in schools around the country. Kahl considered the issue of diversity when hiring employees: do you hire a woman to meet the criteria of workplace diversity, or the person who is right for the job?

It was very humbling to listen to the two guests speak so passionately about sound. It is clear that both consider the art a labour of love. Kahl described hearing as a muscle that is trained and used as a tool. Diane recounted how she hears the detail in everything, and believes everyone who can hear sound has a connection with it. Diane has worked on a broad range of media spanning documentaries, films, reality series and shorts including Tartan Short 'All Over Brazil' and 'Creating the Kelpies'; an inside view of the construction of Falkirk’s famous Kelpie sculptures. Kahl recounted working closely with the director on the set of BBC One drama 'The Secret Agent' in order to recreate the sounds of nineteenth century London. He too has worked on a range of media, including the long running Channel Four docu-series 'Dispatches' and gritty murder mystery drama 'Shetland', which will return to BBC One this month.

Reporter: Alice Aries

Photographer: Devon Poole


Video by the students of City of Glasgow College

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