Chris Watson is one of the world’s greatest sound recordists, famed for his work capturing the natural world for David Attenbrough.
In an exclusive talk for AV Festival 08, Watson discussed his new installation Whispering in the Leaves, plus his work on many of the BBC’s landmark natural history TV shows. Watson has transformed the way we hear the sounds of nature on radio and on television. Following the talk Watson introduced a screening of an episode of the award-winning Attenborough series, The Life of Birds. The episode includes a dawn chorus that took Watson and his colleagues two years to record and edit, whilst the closing scenes of the programme juxtapose magnificent bird song with the noises of technology, tourism and deforestation.
Chris Watson is a sound recordist specialising in natural history, with a particular and passionate interest in recording the wildlife sounds of animals, habitats and atmospheres from around the world. His work as a wildlife sound recordist includes both television documentaries and experimental music collaborations. Watson's sound recording career began in 1981 when he joined Tyne Tees Television. He has released three solo albums of field recordings: Outside the Circle of Fire, Stepping into the Dark (which won an Award of Distinction at the 2000 Prix ARS Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria), and Weather Report.
His work as sound recordist for BBC TV includes The Life of Birds for BBC TV – BAFTA Award for Best Factual Sound 1998 (David Attenborough), The Life of Mammals for BBC TV 2001/2 (David Attenborough), and Big Cat Diary for BBC TV 1998-2002 (Simon King/Saba Douglas–Hamilton/Jonathan Scott). In 2006 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Technology degree by the University of the West of England "in recognition of his outstanding contribution to sound recording technology, especially in the field of natural history and documentary location sound".
Commissioned by AV Festival 08 and Forma. Produced and toured by Forma.