The AHDS made audio recordings of recent seminars with the aim of transcribing the recordings, and presented them to seminar chairs to facilitate their task of completing reports on each event. This case study looks at some of the issues that occurred as the AHDS recorded and transcribed the material from these seminars. While its findings are based on roundtable seminars, some of them may also be of use to those doing other types of audio recording - interviews, field notes etc.
Lack of inflection pretty much defines the reading voice. If you read a paragraph of text in a normal reading voice, you won’t hear much inflection. But if you listen to a real conversation, or especially if you listen to actors on TV, their voices move up and down the scale with a lot more inflection. It seems the more emotion you add to what you’re saying, the more inflection you end up including.
One of my biggest problems when narrating a screencast is that my throat gets all clogged up. I have to hit the pause and resume key every minute or so to clear my throat. Voiceover actors have learned to deal with this problem, since they often don’t have the benefits of a pause and resume key. You can reduce the amount of phlegm that accumulates in your throat by chiefly doing these two things.
Getting close to your microphone usually results in something called “the proximity effect.” As you get close, most microphones amplify your voice in a rich, deep way. The proximity effect can make you sound like a late-night DJ. Some microphones give you the best proximity effect when you’re practically kissing the mic. Unfortunately, as you get closer to a microphone, the microphone starts to pick up more sounds from your mouth.
The final tip in my list of techniques for developing a personal voice in audio is to breathe correctly. This is actually the hardest technique for me, so I have saved it for the end. Strangely, in normal conversation, most of us don’t have any trouble breathing. But when we start recording voiceovers, we start talking a little faster, with more energy and fewer pauses.
For several months I’ve been looking for a quiet room to record screencasts at my work. Our building has four floors for more than 600 IT professionals. I investigated more than 20 conference rooms, poked my head in empty offices, walked around unfamiliar floors, inquired here and there. When people see my looking, they don’t understand what I mean by a “quiet” room. What does quiet mean?
One of my first recommendations for achieving a natural, believable voice is to employ more free narration rather than always reading a script. I recommended this because all the video tutorials on Lynda.com are narrated at the same time as they are recorded, and the less you read, the more natural your voice sounds. However, I realize that unscripted narration, even just a few sentences, can be problematic.
I’ve postponed writing about microphones for several reasons. First, there are hundreds of different microphones suited for all kinds of situations, from vocal music to kickdrums to broadcasting and more. Also, microphones can get expensive, and not everyone has the same budget. So there is no right voiceover microphone for every person and situation. However, I’ll try to present a simplified view of microphones.
Voiceover professionals often recommend that you smile while you narrate. Smiling injects a touch of warmth and charisma in your voice. Just a few touches here and there can make the entire tone of your voice noticeably warmer.
For a presenter, a high-quality microphone, combined with the right sound system, will give your voice a rich sound that can be heard throughout a room. Here are some things to consider if you want to add a microphone to the company conference room or your presentation traveling kit. The basics A microphone is essentially an energy converter that takes in sound waves and converts them into electrical energy. Two main types of microphones are available: condenser and dynamic. A condenser mic uses a power supply to provide a charge that works with a thin diaphragm inside the unit to create a signal. A dynamic mic creates a signal when the sound pressure moves a coil or ribbon across a magnet. Because they usually produce a richer sound, condenser mics are the more popular of the two; however, they require batteries or a power supply and are more expensive and more fragile than dynamic models. Dynamic mics are usually considered less accurate in sound quality, but they are generally more rugged and can withstand varying temperatures, humidity levels and a lot of abuse. These qualities make dynamic mics ideal for use outdoors or on the road.
Although there are many reasons for choosing a laptop for music making, we've focused on three common scenarios: the software-only, all-in-the-box setup for the composer-performer; the songwriter's studio, which will need mics for recording voices and instruments; and the multitrack live-recording rig. Even if what you do doesn't fit neatly into one of these areas, our reasons for choosing particular pieces of gear may help you with your own buying decisions.
Recommendations for gear for building audio recording studios on a wide range of budgets.
Stereo is rarely recorded as such in the field. Instead, we record monaural sounds and wait until post-production is nearly complete to re-assign these sounds to the audience's left, right, and in-between. Until the film is edited, there is no way to know just where all of the audio elements need to end up. For instance, out on production, it might seem logical to record a car that passes from left to right in stereo, so that you can hear the 'pass by' in your phones whoosh from the left ear to the right ear.
This week while watching TV I’ve been listening closely to the voices (separating them from the visuals on the screen). Actors aren’t soft-spoken, reserved people. Actors inflect all over the voice spectrum. They have a lot of energy and drama in their voices.
'Writing for the ear' is an effective way of making content engaging and interesting. Examples of this are audio-based sentence structure, writing around audio clips, making informed word choices and creating a narrative arc for your podcast. Listeners, who are often occupied with other things while listening, need audio and content that transports them to another state of mind. With this in mind, Bond explains techniques and provides examples of how podcasters can anticipate what their audience expects to hear, and how they meet listener expectations while still providing something new.
Opportunities for voice-over (v/o) production have increased dramatically for project studios, mimicking the DIY paradigm shift that continues to rock the music industry. Increasingly, clients needing v/o talent and related audio services are bypassing bigger studios to hire more cost-efficient producers for everything from commercials to interactive voice response (IVR) systems.
Podcasting is more than a platform for reviews or polemic. It's also a powerful tool within the enterprise for training, for marketing, and for documentation. Imagine being able to carry product information or supplementary material with you and not have to worry about stacks of paper? You can do that with a podcast.
One trend I think we’ll see more and more is the decrease of professional voiceover actors in screencasts when those voiceover actors are merely reading a script they don’t understand. As an example, watch some of the tutorials at lynda.com. The narrators may not be professional voiceover actors, but they are subject matter experts. You can tell they’re not just saying words they don’t understand. They’re narrating and showing intricate parts of the screen at the same time. They’re describing processes and tips with the right articulation and inflection that shows they understand the software. I’m willing to bet most users would trade a professional voice for an authentic voice.