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The Art of Field Recording with Dianne Ballon

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 more than 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.


"Terrific, practical lessons from a true sound recording artist."

"Instructor was knowledgeable and gave practical lessons from her own experiences including her mistakes. She was a terrific teacher."

"Dianne is a national treasure with decades of experience and the ear of a master."


Dianne Ballon is a sound artist. Ten of her sound works have aired on NPR’s All Things Considered. At Shenandoah National Park, she was awarded an Artist-in-Residency and 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 for her field recording of boats creaking at a dock in Iceland. She taught audio production and radio theatre at the University of Maine at Augusta and, for more than 10 summers, was a member of the teaching and production staff at the National Audio Theatre Festivals. Currently on exhibit, she produced the audio for “The Marines and Tet” exhibition at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.


The cost of this two-hour workshop is $50 for non-members and $40 for members of the Podcast Garage or members of the Harvard Ed Portal (i.e. any Allston-Brighton resident). Sign up below!

We're offering scholarships for this workshop. Learn more here.

The Art of Field Recording (Feb)
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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