Explore in Peace, Rest in Peace
I found myself easily getting lost in The Truth Podcast’s “Moon Graffiti,” an audio journey through interactions between Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during the moon landing. Similarly to how Jad Abumrad described sound and radio, I felt as though I had been given a paintbrush to paint this incredibly vivid scene in front of me. Sounds of the shuttle impacting the moon, the sound of putting a helmet on, the static quality of the voices of the two when speaking inside their astronaut suits, and more start us out on our journey. Skip to 3:25 in the embedded podcast to hear an example.
When the men exit the spaceship, you hear this extremely bass-y music in the background, creating an ambience you may associate with space and the open void. The speed, busyness, tone, and volume of the background music can play heavily into the emotion of a scene, especially in radio or other strictly audio formats. When Neil and Buzz move around, you get this great sense of movement from the sounds of their radios brushing against the material inside their suits. Grunting and breathing also amplifies a scene, showing that the characters are actively engaging in some kind of more challenging task. A sudden change in background music from one speed and sound to another can also set up for an incredible scene change or surprise moment, like when Buzz points out the fuel cell. The creators were extremely creative when making this, using computer synthesized noises to represent the men trying to jam the flag into the ground. While thinking about the importance of audio, we also need to think about the importance of silence, or a distinct lack of audio. This podcast utilizes silence, or only light background audio behind dialogue, to develop a somber and calm scene.
All in all this story was absolutely beautifully and clearly utilized audio in some of the best ways to achieve accurate moods and effects.