Duff works on studio and live shows, combining both specialisms on ITV’s The Voice; Duffield is usually found on location, from the Alps for the feature documentary, Touching the Void to BBC Two’s The Story of China.
Duff on getting started: “This is the only industry, I think, where you can start [from the bottom] as a runner and get in – I see people do that every year … It’s about meeting people … and making the right connections – and not necessarily starting where you want … you may do a job you hate for a while.”
Duffield on learning the basics: “Having a basic understanding of the possibilities of sound is very useful [in TV] … sometimes I talk to, say, production managers and they really don’t know what I’m talking about.”
Duffield on sound’s status: “The resources that different productions have available to give to sound vary enormously. Some films are a delight to work on because they give you the space and resources to deliver more interesting sound … [but sound] can be a much lower priority … [doing little more] than enabling people to understand what people are saying.”
Duffield on new tech: “These days, the equipment I use … is almost like a small, mobile recoding studio … The possibilities for location sound have expanded significantly.”
Duff on working live: “Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, but sound is about capturing the moment. Some of my favourite recordings aren’t the [best quality], but you can hear an atmosphere. There’s a brilliant recording of Bob Marley doing No Woman No Cry [live] … It doesn’t sound that great but you can feel the atmosphere coming out the speakers … There’s a very fine line between a really good live mix that’s exciting an vibrant, and a complete mess.”
Duff on BBC Two’s live outside broadcast to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Passchendaele: “That was a big job and quite terrifying, but [it gave me a] buzz … if you capture the sound, that’s your hit … and it makes the job great.”
The Craft Skills Sound Masterclass was an RTS afternoon event held at the IET Savoy Place London Wednesday 15th November, 2017 produced by Helen Scott. By Matthew Bell.