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The Art of Field Recording with Dianne Ballon

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Whenever we record outside the quiet and control of the studio - whether on a busy street, in an office building, or with songbirds in a (real) field - we are faced with many decisions. How do you record optimal sound in less than ideal conditions?

With over thirty years of recording experience, sound artist Dianne Ballon will introduce the techniques she has learned to achieve good sound. We will listen to sound-rich audio excerpts: from stories about a cowboy’s bedroll to the sound of boats creaking at a dock in Iceland. With humor and hindsight, we’ll listen to examples of what works and what does not work. Topics will include recording equipment, interviewing techniques, mic handling and placement, recording with ambient/background sound, and more.

We recommend this workshop for beginners; however, we will touch on topics relevant to anyone who runs into challenges recording in the field.

Bring your questions and your listening ear.


Dianne Ballon is a sound artist. She spent years as a visual artist before sound caught her ear. Ten of her sound works have aired on NPR’s All Things Considered. At Shenandoah National Park, she was awarded an Artist-in-Residency. She created a sound portrait of the park. At the Goethe Institute, she presented her sound installation Musical Instrument Dreams. For the international radio art competition 60 Seconds Radio, she was awarded third place for her field recording of boats creaking at a dock in Iceland. At the University of Maine at Augusta, she taught independent study in audio production and a course in radio theatre. For over 10 summers, she was a member of the teaching and production staff at the National Audio Theatre Festivals.

Our programming is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit

Earlier Event: October 5
Editing in Hindenburg with Josh Swartz
Later Event: October 11
Maker Mingle