Finance

Thanks to the sound engineer or jingle player, the empty stadiums still seem full

“Saturday amateurs.” That’s what Eredivisie football sounds like, according to sound engineer Patrick Geurts, if you don’t do anything about the sound now that the game is played without an audience again.

To prevent this, a start was made last season with adding public noise to the top matches that were played in front of empty stands.

Virtually packed

“We were already very far in that at the time,” says Geurts, who works at NEP, a Hilversum company that, among other things, takes care of the registration of television programs.

Now that, due to the corona measures, there is again being played without an audience, since this month he has been traveling to a football stadium every weekend to provide extra sound during the television registration. Thanks to the pioneering work during the previous public-free period, there is now a lot of experience in the field of sound at football matches.

“If I have to provide the sound at a Cambuur home game, for example, I use sound material from previous Cambuur home games,” says Geurts.

fine tuning

“Then I cut out all ball contact moments, the referee’s whistle and chants that are impossible. I make a long loop of stadium sound from the rest,” he explains.

Then comes the fine tuning. “I make separate sound files of the whistling of the audience, the ‘ooh’ shouting at a missed opportunity, the applause at a fun action and a lot of other moments.”

These will all be placed under separate buttons on the sound panel that Geurts has in front of him during the match, in an extra van next to the truck for image management at the stadium. “I could be in that director’s car, but because of corona I have to sit in a separate van to keep my distance.”

jingler

At NEP there are four people who can provide the football matches with extra sound. They are also called jingles because they are people who often make jingles for other television programs. “It is important that they know something about football,” Geurts warns.

“The songs of the different clubs are sometimes quite similar. If I then play Feyenoord singing while there are two other teams on the field, that is of course not good. Fortunately, my library of stadium sounds has now become much larger.”

Farming is allowed, Jews are not

Where incorrect chants are still regularly heard in the stadium, you do not hear them with the added sound. “A colleague once made the mistake of letting Ajax supporters hear ‘Jews, Jews’. That was not the intention. At PSV I sometimes say ‘farmers, farmers’. That is still allowed.”

The extra sound engineers with their sound panel full of specific stadium sounds are only used for the more important matches in the premier league. In less important matches and in the Kitchen Champion Division, only the loop with general stadium sound is turned on so that it does not sound too cold.

“If you hear that the public is going along with the action, you can assume that one of us is there,” says Geurts. “And in a Champions League match, we are of course extra keen to do it perfectly.”

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