The following steps will help prevent any issues during the production of your voice-over projects. Being able to recognize the pitfalls that too many people fall into while producing voice-over, will help boost your productivity while improving the quality of the final product.
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1. Select a Great Voice Talent
Here is a short list of the quality to look for in a voice talent: cadence, inflection, timing, and energy. When recording audio, the voice talent should pay attention to the rhythm they speak in and try to keep it the same throughout the entire recording. Cadence can also be important when the engineer is editing the recording in post-production.
Inflection is also worth paying attention to because how a phrase is spoken can change its meaning entirely. If the end of a sentence goes up in pitch, for example, listeners usually expect it to be a question. If the inflection of your recording doesn’t match the phrase being spoken, following along at home can be a bit of a strain.
Ultimately, the voice talent that you’ve selected is given the task to bring your script to life. Whether the talent is recording an E-learning module for a Fortune 500 company or a 30-second radio commercial, the goal is the same. The audience has to be captivated by the voice and be interested in what the talent is saying.
2. Reduce Breathing Noise
This step is related to the voice talent selection. Believe it or not, breathing is a big part of voice-over recording. Great voice talents are trained to narrate, follow the punctuation of a script, and breathe at the right time while recording the script. The reason this is an important step as to do with the post-production, the audio engineer will go through (or should go through as it is often a step that many skips) and remove all of the breaths.
This steps can be automated if you are using software such as ProTools. However, the results are never perfect and mistakes are easily made. Therefore, it is always better if the engineer goes through the audio recording and manually remove the breaths and any other noise.
3. Room Tone
This step is all about removing any background noise or echos from your audio recordings. When recording a voice-over script such as an audio book, these noises can break any immersion and make your audio sound off or otherwise unnatural.
During the recording sessions, these sounds are very difficult to avoid, but a lot can be done to prevent room tone. First and foremost, record your voice-over in a professional recording studio such as the ones we have at JBI Studios. The recording booths should be completely insulated. Additionally, there should be professional microphones and recording engineers that have extensive experience recording voice-over.
There is also post-production steps to cut it out completely and normalize your audio. The engineer can apply filters across the board to try to remove this noise all at once. Many times the filter settings of editing programs won’t normalize different parts of your recording because the sound involved vary slightly and will require different settings.
4. Cutting the Audio
Making cuts, especially those that involve voice-over narration, can be a tricky business and one slip-up can result in audio discontinuity or noticeable pops that distract from your content. The engineer should make sure that this effect is minimized with a few clever tricks, one of which is simply fading the cut in and out on both ends.
These fades should be very short, only taking up a tenth of a second or so, but make a world of difference. These quick fades generally won’t be noticed by your audience and effectively eliminate any pops or crackles. Another technique is to apply all of your cuts at the point where the audio wave crosses the center line, which is a spot at which your audio isn’t producing any sound. When you make cuts here they won’t create any noticeable audio issues but does take a little more forethought to plan out properly.
5. Combine the Final Audio
While many people will simply re-record their audio if they don’t like a piece of it, there’s a much easier way to ensure that you put your best foot forward. This trick also takes up a lot less time in the long run. The premise here is simple: record your audio then only re-record the parts that need to be improved and combine those (using the information described in the previous step) to create the final audio file.
If you’re able to follow the aforementioned steps then you’re already well ahead of the pack when it comes to voice-over recording. In many cases, however, it’s best to leave this process to professionals who know exactly how to maximize its effectiveness, especially if you need to record your voice-over script in numerous languages. JBI Studios has you covered and we know exactly regardless of the language you need.