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How much do you care about pristine audio? If you don’t care much, let me assure you that those on the receiving end of your recordings do. That said, paying attention to the little things and making corrections before submitting auditions can make a big difference!
Instantly improve the quality of your auditions by applying these three solutions in article.

How Sharp Are Your Listening Skills?

Voice actors working from home recording studios are expected to have a certain level of proficiency with their tools, be they hardware or software. As you might have gathered, audio editing skills are very important! Even so, without sharp listening skills, being able to spot areas of improvement becomes difficult.

To make a great audio recording you need to be a great listener.

Here are just three areas to be aware of when recording, whether you’re doing an audition or submitting final audio for a project you’ve been contracted to do.

Oversight #1 – Page Turns and Pencil Rolls

You would think that in today’s day and age, page turns were a thing of the past. Let me say that they’re still here! If you’re one of those people that prefers reading from a tangible script (no judgment here, I prefer to read printed books), you might find that you’re turning pages during a recording but forgetting to go back and editing those telltale sounds out. It could also be that your pencil has a habit of rolling away and distracting you from giving a flawless performance. What should you do?

Solution – Display Your Script Digitally

Consider using an iPad to read off of or investing in dual monitors. If you’re a fan of multiple tabs or windows, try using one of those to read your script off of. Keeping your script on a tablet or screen will prevent page turns and other sounds that go along with having a paper script. Rest assured that even if you’re used to marking up a script with a pen or pencil, there are ways to do this digitally that are just as effective. Another perk for going digital on this front is that you won’t need a music stand necessarily or have pencils fall to the ground during your recording.

Oversight #2 – Sentence Fragments and False Starts

When reading through a script, it can be easy to read something twice by accident or make a mistake and start again. Sometimes, there’s a bit of start/stop that goes on which is fine…unless you forget that these attempts are there and need to be edited out. If you’re not careful though, your multiple run throughs might become part of the final recording instead of earmarked as regions to be removed.

Solution – Listen ALL the Way Through Your Recording

Don’t leave start stops in there. If you make a mistake or read something twice, clap your hands to make spike in your recording that serves as a reminder to go back and edit afterwards. The rule of thumb is that it takes at least twice as long to edit as it does to record. You need to listen all the way through the audio file with both ears and your undivided attention. You might want to do this critical listening wearing a good set of headphones as they will help to block out external distractions that interfere with your ability to concentrate and listen well.

Oversight #3 – Mouth Noises and Extra Breaths

At time, your instrument can be your own worst enemy. From getting tongue tied to a persistent cough, an unpleasant buildup of phlegm or your voice becoming painfully scratchy or hoarse, many different things can happen physiologically that negatively impact your audio recordings. It’s not just how the voice is coming across but also how you’re able to control it, which includes how you’re breathing and where you’re breathing.

Solution – Prevention and Precision

A lot of this has to do with awareness of your instrument, good prep with the script and your ability to support the breath. If you are having trouble with plosives, use a pop filter or smile as you speak to break the air. If you’re noticing esses are a problem, there are de-essers that you can use to minimize sibilance. You might find that you need to clear your throat or cough. These should be edited out for sure! Sometimes there are more breaths included than necessary. Only keep those that make sense and sound natural where they are placed. Similarly, if you remove too many breaths, the way you read could sound robotic or unnatural.

Got Any Editing Tips to Share?

If you’ve got a tried and true method for making sure your audio is broadcast-ready, I’d love to hear it! Be sure to share your thoughts now in a comment.

Take care,
Stephanie

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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com. Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Hi, Stephanie,
    Thanks for all your words of wisdom and thanks for any advice you can give me about software.
    I’m getting back into audio recording after many years, and I understand I need to self-edit my work instead of going to a studio. Can you recommend a punch-and-roll editor for an iMac or recommend someone to tell me where to find one?

  2. Has nobody answered Veleka’s question? Veleka: I use ocenaudio, and I’ve heard Twisted Wave is also good for the punch-and-roll method.

  3. When I transfer a script to digital I use an I Pad as my “script” instead ofpaper. And I will add pauses and isolate each sentence.. placing many on separate lines.so that t is not a long read..Then I can edit out pauses in the audio

  4. Warming up your instrument is a must.
    Mouth exercises, tongue exercises.
    Pre-reading and marking the script helps with the flow of the VO.

    Some software (Twisted Wave for example) has a way to put “Markers” in while recording, so you have a reference to go back to for final editing.

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