5 Top Tips on How to Record a Voice Over.
We get asked this time and time again, so here we are going to discuss the top 5 tips on how to record a voice over.
The best way to record a voice over is a subject with many different opinions. There are many different factors which will determine the quality of the recording you capture. The voice over is as important, if not more important than the video it’s self. You want to take your audience on a journey and if the voice over is not of high quality, the video will surely suffer.
Below we have the 5 top things to consider, before you embark on the sometimes daunting task of recording the perfect voice over.
If your budget allows it, contact all of your local recording studios and talk to them. Be open and honest and tell them you’re on a budget but would love to record in a professional environment like their’s. Ask if they do discounts for recording at off peak times, or during down time. Recording in a great sounding room, with a sound engineer to do all the hard work will be of great benefit. However, if you are planning more video editing which requires voice over and your budget does not allow for the professional recording studio route, carry on reading.
The best place to start is your home. In some cases, you may have some great sounding rooms at home. However, more often than not, home studio’s can sound bass heavy and high in reflections. Be sure to pick the right room, as this will have the biggest impact on the sound of your voice. Microphones not only pick up your voice, but the environment around you. Room acoustics will alter your voice massively.
Large rooms like kitchens have a lot of hard, reflective surfaces, and will sound hollow and distant.
Small rooms like bathrooms will have a loud echo, and reflective surfaces which are not ideal for recording voice over’s.
Bedrooms and Living rooms could be the best rooms in you’re home. This is because they are all full of soft furnishings, sofas, beds, curtains etc.
Once you have decided on a room, test it by clapping your hands. Read out the script, if you can hear any echo, apply more soft furnishings. Try hanging duvets, pillows, mattresses around you, even get under the duvet. I have heard some very impressive voice overs using this technique.
The amount of voice over’s we hear that have paper rustle, or page turn’s in them is crazy, it is 2017 people!! We all have phones, tablets, laptops. Do make sure these are on a silent mode, as an incoming message or call could stop you in your tracks.
3. Popping Filter
It is recommended to use a pop filter when recording speech. The idea is to avoid plosive and sibilance, or popping and hissing to me and you. A pop filter will reduce ‘Popping’ sounds and ’Ssss’ sounds in words spoken. Place the pop filter between the vocalist and the microphone. Test your set up with words beginning with ‘P’ and ’S’ then listen back to your recording. Be sure you are happy with the sound before going for a full take, getting it right at source is key.
4. The Voice
Your voice is the instrument for the task in hand, be sure to warm it up. You would not expect a guitarist to jump on stage with out tuning his guitar and warming. The same applies to you and your voice. Warm your voice up by running through the script a few times. Be confident in your delivery and pronounce the words correctly. Use your face and express your emotions, if you are delivering happy words then smile, it all comes over in the final recording. Always have water to hand to prevent your mouth from becoming dry, although many swear by an apple, one bite will keep you’re mouth wet and ready for action. Many people also have a hot drink with honey to lubricate the vocal chords.
5. Monitoring The Recording
Recording your voice over without monitoring can produce problems. Many people believe they have delivered and recorded the perfect take, only to listen back later to find issues. You have turned your head during the recoding and it can be heard in the playback. Or a noise you did not hear (pet, car, background noise) was overlooked.. A set of headphones is the answer, be sure you can hear what you are recording, when you are recording it. You can hear much more detail, and pick up on imperfections as they happen. Listen back to each recording closely, you could save a lot of time if you hear something when you are still set up. Another take is quick and easy whereas trying to repair or fix your error could take hours.
Finally it may seem obvious but save your work. Even if the recording take was not as good as you would like, or you stopped half way, save it!! Many parts of each recording may make a perfect finished voice over.