Voice Over Audio from the Home Studio Master
GUEST POST by Dan Lenard, Voice Actor & The Home Studio Master:
One of the things to consider when hiring a voice talent is, “How is their sound?”
- Does the recording sound like it could be on the radio?
- Is the size of the room they recorded in apparent from the echo you hear?
- Are there mic plosives or “popping “P’s?
All of these questions are evidence of not understanding proper audio processing, a less than ideal recording space, and poor mic technique. When the audio file comes back for your production, you don’t want to spend the time cleaning up the file or asking the talent to record it again.
Having a home or “personal” voice over recording studio is a relatively new phenomenon – it used to be the pride of a few technically adept audio engineers and experienced radio talent. This all changed with the simplification of the digital recording process about 15 years ago. Equipment to record quality audio to one’s computer became cheap and available to anyone wanting to hang out a VO shingle.
Unfortunately, having the proper equipment and knowing how to use it are two different things.
I’ve spent the last ten years as a private consultant to voice talent, helping them create their recording space, teaching them how to use the equipment and software, and troubleshooting issues. My clients include the horde of new talent vying for your attention and experienced pros who’ve spent their career in professional recording studios and now require a home studio. They all have to learn recording skills in order to compete.
The most experienced pros have mastered the important skills. It’s what has allowed them to succeed in today’s marketplace. While the recording process is physically easier to do now, not understanding some basic rules will render some audio unusable.
- Over-modulation causes distorted audio.
- Under-modulated audio requires a great deal of amplification. (This adds additional noise to the audio file.)
- Poor mic technique lends to the plosives previously mentioned.
- A room that is not properly acoustically treated is not ideal for recording audio.
Listen for signs in auditions you receive. Eventhough a talent can bring your script to life, and make it sound like they’re not reading it, does it sound like they recorded in a tube?
Here’s what a well recorded voice over should sound like:
A voice over should sound like you’re having a conversation with that person in the same room. We don’t talk to each other 1/2” from each others’ eardrums. They shouldn’t sound like they are right on top of the microphone. You should only hear the talent’s voice, no background noise, and no room reflection, nor small echoes.
So, when listening to talent for your next production, watch for these signs of inexperience that will eventually cost you time and money. Hire the ones who know how it’s done.
If you want to know more about how to properly record voice over, or want your current talent to improve their sound, I’m available for consultations. Please go to homevoiceoverstudio.com to read how I can take your sound to a new level.
“Unfortunately, having the proper equipment and knowing how to use it are two different things.” Dan Lenard
Co-host & producer of VOBS.tv, Dan Lenard has been a radio personality, a high school Media and Social Studies teacher, and is currently a freelance producer and professional voice actor. He is also a recognized industry expert and consultant in personal VO studio set–up and troubleshooting, specifically for new voice over artists, or experienced talent with little, or no, self-recording experience. Dan is also a Founding Board Member and Vice President of Technical Standards for World-Voices Organization, an industry association representing voice actors with home studios around the world.