Working in your home studio can afford you great flexibility. You choose your hours, when you record, and what kind of work you audition for. However, when you’re working with clients who expect tight turnaround times, you may run into some challenges.
During the day lawnmowers, snow or leaf blowers run, children play outside, and trains certainly don’t take into account your recording schedule. Sometimes your own pets may even be the source of the sound you’re trying to avoid.
A lot of voice actors don’t start out with their own soundproof studio; what did they do before they had a great set up? Or what do they do when they’re on the road? Get a look behind the scenes at how they get the perfect take.
How Do You Get High Quality Audio?
I have a real studio now – a real actual sound proofed studio in my basement. BUT before the studio I was in the closet. Literally. Behind the winter jackets. In front of the empty suitcases (on which my purring cat would sleep).
I had a velvet blanket hung up to absorb sound. Even that wasn’t enough at times. I had an extra blanket in case I needed to muffle the sound. I’d hold it up with my hands around my head with the hope it would absorb enough sound. As a hand talker this proved difficult.
When I work in my house, I work in the closet. I have a tiny desk in there, with a tiny light (super cute!) and the clothes provide perfect baffling to reduce reflections. I make sure the house air is off, as well as any fans in the room. I also bought window inserts from Indow Window to reduce noise from the outside. I make sure my cat is well-fed, or else faint meows would certainly be heard in my recordings.
With all the work I’ve been doing with Voices, I was able to purchase a WhisperRoom isolation booth, so now I do most of my work at my own off-site studio. I typically make sure I wait an hour after I eat to record anything (the voice is an instrument!).
I’ve found my voices sounds best in the late morning/early afternoon hours. By night time, my voice has noticeably fatigued, and I lose some of my lower register. It makes my voice sound thinner, less warm.
When I am traveling and need to do a recording and meet my deadlines, I’ve found that the best place to record is under a double bed, with the pillows and duvets jammed in around the bottom edge. It is uncomfortable, but it sounds like a very tight vocal booth, with no resonance or echo.
It gets very hot and it also makes breathing very hard, but that’s what I do to get the perfect take in on time!
When doing auditions, I do make sure I have a few things set up:
1) I’m in a good head space. My family knows to not bring any drama to Mama when she’s auditioning. I need to be able to access whatever emotions, intentions and intonations I need to without anything from my “real life” competing for attention.
If something is bothering me, I’ll put off auditioning because I hear it in my performance.
2) I have a small basket of various textured items (elastic bracelets, a stone, a swatch of fur, etc.) that I keep in my booth. Tactile things ground me, keep me in the moment and make it sound fresh. It may sound silly, but whatever works, right?
3) I like to do several auditions in a row (6-12). I get into “audition mode” which is a playful, creative space (in my head) and requires a certain intensity of energy.
I have found laying down several auditions at once is better for my work flow. It conserves energy because I don’t have to switch hats all the time. I’ll rotate events in my day: audition, record work, audition, edit work, respond to emails, etc.
Recording Requires Sacrifice
Ultimately, it takes a combination of elements to come together for a great recording. Our members mentioned recording spaces that ensure good quality audio, but also their mental states and physical readiness as components that are also important for them to get a great sound.
What have you done for the perfect take? Let us know in the comments!