November 2003 - January 2004
With The Quick-Quick-Slow Death completed in a flurry of
activity, we decided to keep the pace up by starting on another serial directly. We decided to go
for one of the longer serials - probably out of sheer masochism - and ultimately picked
The Fantasy Game (7 episodes) as
the next candidate for the wash and brush up.
On Thursday 20th November 2003, we transferred the episodes to computer and performed noise reduction
in Sound Forge. Noise reduction of between 25-30dB was applied to each episode. Checking back over
our CD dubs of John Wright's ¼" tapes, we realised that he had two versions of Episode One of this
story (one clearly a copy of the other). We have transferred and will work on both as although the
first version is better quality, it suffers from drop-outs. These are not evident on the copy (meaning
John copied the episode before the original tape became worn), so the second copy will serve to patch
the drop-out sections of the first. If we treat both versions exactly the same, the patched sections
should slot in more comfortably and imperceptibly.
After the annual distraction of the build-up to Christmas, further work
was not possible until the New Year, with Episode One being graphic
equalised, patched (as noted above) and declicked on the night of Thursday
1st January 2004. The patched sections are, as hoped, seamless, and only a
couple of very minor drop-outs were not replaceable, as the damage
appeared on both of John's recordings. These have been improved with a mix
of amplification and graphic equalisation. They are not perfect, but are
less annoying than previously.
The second and third and fourth episodes were tackled on Friday, Saturday
and Sunday 2nd-4th January and were relatively
straightforward. These three were slightly noisier than Episode One, so we
ran a light noise reduction filter over them, a second pass to take out
the hiss left by the first. Each episode featured a couple of minor
drop-outs which were fixed as well as we could. To give readers some idea
of the amount of work involved, the declicking and other work done today
has taken five hours for c. half an hour of material. Erk! Whatever, the
work is worth it, as the episodes sound eminently more presentable than
they do in their raw form.
Episode Five was completed on the 7th January, with graphic equalisation
and second pass noise reduction performed on episodes Six and Seven on
Friday 16th January. Episode Six was declicked over three nights - in
palatable bursts - between Tuesday 20th and Thursday 22nd January. Work on
Episode Seven, which proved long winded due to the high number of
drop-outs that needed to be remedied, was worked on over three nights,
Wednesday 28th - Friday 30th January.
Alan and Alys Hayes