In part 1 of 10 Ways To Improve A Voiceover Without Spending A Penny we discovered 5 ways to help recording VOs as they are one of the hardest things to record. Here are the second 5 ways without spending a penny….
6 - What Is Your Role?
Try not to be the engineer and producer if possible. If there is a producer, consider the session dynamics, it may be better to leave the producer to produce and you as the engineer to concentrate on the recording, but if there is an issue, don’t stay silent.
7 - Listen Carefully
Be encouraging and reassuring with the VO artist and producer, if they are confident the session will go so much better. Listen carefully and check everything. If you aren’t happy then ask for another take, but be positive about it, I often ask for “another one for me please” as it makes the VO artist feel it wasn’t their fault that I am asking for another take.
Don’t let noises off or words that aren’t clear go past just because no one else spotted it. It's too late after the VO has gone.
8 - Mark Your Script
Mark your script up with the takes and retakes. I have a system of symbols for marking a script up. I use locate points and then mark the script with the take and locate numbers, if a word doesn’t articulate properly I mark it with a take number. if the VO artist makes a slip, I mark where the slip was and where they went back to as well as the take number. All of this makes the edit session so much easier.
9 - Microphones
Mic pops are a real no no, and are especially a problem with VO work. Cheap headphones or speakers won’t reproduce the low frequencies so make sure you use the best quality monitoring possible.
A blast shield is essential, you can even make one out of a wire cloak hanger and a pair of tights stretched over the wire frame. Microphone choice is a secondary issue. Try and use a condenser mic, maybe a large diaphragm condenser mic, or if the room acoustics are an issue consider a shotgun mic, I often use a Sennheiser 416 for VO work.
10 - Acoustics
If the room you are recording in is too reverberant, then consider finding the softest room in the house. When recording voiceovers on location for radio drama I often find that a bedroom is the best place to try. I know radio presenters and journalist that record their VOs under the duvet in their bedroom, for a real studio like sound.