VOICE OVER TIPS
As you should be aware we need quality recordings to use for our productions. Rather than go out and spend a grand on new equipment, here are tips on ways to get the most out of the equipment you already have on the cheap. Some of this may seem silly, but if it works, who cares, it’s audio, no one is going to be seeing you anyway.
We will be posting tips on how to record, what equipment to use, places to get the best deals and how to set up your own studio on the cheap.
Feel free to comment below and if you have tips you’d like to share be sure to send those to firstname.lastname@example.org
TIPS FROM “GOANIMATE”
1. Record yourself or a friend with a smartphone or tablet app.
If you’re totally cash-strapped, record yourself or a colleague using your smartphone with an app like the well-regarded Voice Record Pro, the less intuitive but broadcast-quality Voddio, or Voice Recorder HD. Since these apps are free or just a few dollars, download a couple of them and see which one you like best. If this option appeals to you (and your budget), Grumo Media published an in-depth tutorial about recording voiceovers with an iPhonehere.
2. Record a friend with a mic and computer.
If you want to step up the audio quality of your DIY voiceover recording, purchase a microphone in the $100 range and plug it into your computer. Look for a cardioid mic and select either dynamic or condenser. However, if your recording space has a lot of background noise or sub-optimal social conditions (i.e. kids running around), go for the dynamic mic. A condenser mic may sound richer than a dynamic, but a dynamic mic is more forgiving when it comes to background noise and room echo. (While you can record a VO using your computer’s internal microphone, it’s not recommended. The sound quality is not great.)
You can use a USB microphone that plugs directly into your computer, or a mic with a one-eighth jack as long as your computer has a built-in audio input.
Once you’ve selected and set up your microphone, you can record the voiceover with a variety of audio recording programs like Audacity (free), GarageBand (under five bucks), or ProTools (a few hundred dollars). The most important point here is to set consistent input levels for the audio produced. Look at the picture below, especially the “Input Level” section. As you test the level of your voice you want to consistently hit the same point on the meter. You don’t want to move your mouth closer or further away from the mic at any point during the recording — and you want to keep an eye on these levels as you progress through the script.
We recommend going about 60 to 75 percent of the way across the spectrum, i.e. you don’t want the input levels too high or too low, though they should be on the higher end of the spectrum. Don’t max out the input levels (in the graphic below that means illuminating all the bars), as that will lead to muffled and choppy audio.
After you’ve recorded your VO, don’t overlook postproduction. Every voice needs to be equalized and compressed and you’ll want to edit out any unsavory lip smacks or script flubs. Another pro tip is to record plenty of B-roll. In other words, create 2 or 3 recordings of the same script so you can replace a portion of the initial audio if a certain sub-section isn’t ideal. For example, you might have a 10-second section of an audio file featuring an incorrect pronunciation or some sort of background noise; with multiple audio versions of that section you can simply delete those 10 seconds of the file and substitute in a better version of those 10 seconds.
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