May 03, 2005

Judges in the truck

Anyone who has been to the World Pipe Band Championships is aware of  BBC Scotland’s remote truck capturing all of the action. The contest rings are lined with wooly and water- and wind-proof microphones. Iain MacInnes and Gary West have, beyond a doubt, the best listening experience on the park since they get to hear each band as a whole, with a perfectly-balanced sound that is consistent from band to band.

Which begs the question: why doesn’t the RSPBA put the judges in the BBC truck or another truck with the same microphone feeds? The judges would then get the full effect of the sound — and only the sound — and could make their judgments without distractions.

After all, if you can’t hear a piper hitching up his bag or a drummer lifting his sticks, then it should not matter. Additionally, putting the judges in the BBC truck would keep bands better focused on their task, with no eyes drifting from the pipe-major’s hands as a judge walks by.

Yes, the judges wouldn’t be able to preen before the crowd and competitors, but any piping and drumming competition is about the music and the competitors and not the judges. It’s not the way things are done, but it’s a way to do things better.





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