Podcasts Vox Talk Weird and Wonderful Audio Facts with Geoff Bremner
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Weird and Wonderful Audio Facts with Geoff Bremner

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Stephanie Ciccarelli
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How much do you know about home studio audio? Geoff Bremner, producer of Vox Talk, joins Stephanie Ciccarelli to discuss a variety of intriguing home studio topics around the art and science of sound from an audio engineer’s point of view. Discover why your studio can’t seem to get cool enough, surprising sources of latency, why consistent listening volume is important, the purpose of anechoic chambers and more.

Mentioned on the show:

Geoff Bremner on LinkedIn

Voices on YouTube

Voices Branding Through Audio Channel on YouTube

Continue the conversation on the Voices Community Forum

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Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Hi there and welcome to Vox Talk, your weekly review from the world of voice over. I'm your host, Stephanie Ciccarelli. From Voices. On today's show, Vox Talk’s producer Geoff Bremner joins me to discuss some weird yet wonderful things you might want to know, know and maybe don't know about the sound from an audio engineer's point of view. Geoff is on the content team of Voices, working on some of your favorite industry podcasts like Mission Audition, voiceover Experts, voice branding, and more. Geoff is a graduate of the Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology and holds a Bachelor's of Computer Science with a minor in psychology from the University of Waterloo. He's also a musician, live sound engineer, and post production editor. Welcome to the show, Geoff.

Geoff Bremner:

Thanks, Stephanie. Fun to be on the other side of the table.

Literally, you are actually. You're not in your normal seat, as many of you know. Obviously, Geoff is a producer of Vox Talk, so he next-to-never comes and sits in the seat where he is right now, where we have a guest sit. So welcome again. This is great. And Geoff, we have conversations all the time in between shows and whatnot about these cool things about audio that we just don't seem to have time to tackle and thought, well, one day we'll put together a show where that's all we do, talk about these things. So we talk about in between. So obviously there's a lot more to audio than simply hearing it. And as someone who works with sound all the time, as you do, I thought it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the way that we interact with sound in the studio and how it affects our lives.

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah, I think it affects our lives all the time. I think it affects everybody's lives, especially these days. Sound is everywhere. It's on our phones, it's on our TV, it's on our laptop. If you're like me, you're listening to something all the time. I'm always listening to a podcast or I'm always listening to music. And I think just people who work. In my previous career, I was a software engineer. I was always listening to music while I was working or I was listening to a podcast in the background. And I think that's probably the average case. Most people are doing that. I think I know a lot of my friends like to listen to music or podcasts when they're working or when they're working out. I think it's revolutionized the way that we can take in information. For me, I was never a reader. I'm a terrible reader. I'm so slow, it's actually kind of embarrassing. So that's how I got it. I think I got into sound because the way I take in my information is just by listening. And I think we're actually seeing a lot of people, that is how they're taking in their information now. Because if you're going to sit down and read something or if you're going to sit down and watch something that's so much more effort than it would be otherwise. So that's just scratching the surface on answering the question. But that's my first little take there.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

No, thank you for that. And it is everywhere. Sound is everywhere. But we're going to focus in specifically on sound in the recording studio environment because everyone who's listening is probably working in that capacity. Be you a voice talent or whether you're a voice talent or an engineer or what have you. You're in a place where you're in an enclosed space. Probably. And you're also just trying your best to make sure that your sound is consistent from session to session and so on. So while we're on that topic, while the recording studio can be treated to deaden the space, as in get the sound out or make it a little better, and there are still factors at play that can change how audio is captured. So what are some of those and why do they matter?

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah, there's a lot of these things, I think. Yeah, you're talking about deadening a space. And even on that, I think there's a lot of misconceptions on what you can treat versus what you can't treat. So, for example, you can't treat the car zooming by your house. It's going to make it through. No matter how much foam you put up, no matter how many blankets you put up, it's going to make it through. And I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir when I say there's a car that zooms by. And it's really frustrating when you're in the middle of your perfect take. I'm sure lots of people can relate to that. So that's one thing, just knowing that there are some sounds that you can't treat. But with that said, there's a lot that you can do. There's gain staging. I know we recently had Bradford (Hastings) talk about that. The most important plugin that's not a plugin, he says, the gain knob. Right? And that's huge. If your gain knob is too high, then you're going to be catching sounds that you don't want. So that's one thing. Distance from the microphone. I will say most engineers, I think they're looking for a very dry sound where you can't hear the room. So if you can hear the room in your recording, that's something that you want to work on. Other materials in the room will affect the sound. So the bigger those materials in your room are, the more important they are.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

So like a floor, for instance, if you have tile floors or something?

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah, no, get a carpet or get a rug. I actually like rugs more than carpets because you can actually remove the rug.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

It's not permanent, right?

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah, it's not permanent. And carpets can get dirty. I like hardwood, but I like a good rug on top of it because that's going to take a lot of the room and the sound. Another thing that I think is worth considering is whether you're using headphones or not and how do they hear yourself or how do you hear yourself? Is it delayed? Because if you're monitoring yourself through the DAW, then your voice has to go into your computer, get processed by the computer and then come back out the computer. So that's going to add some or it could add some noticeable delay. You can actually fix that by monitoring from your audio interface as opposed to your actual DAW if you're finding delay when you're monitoring yourself. So touching on latency when recording. So this might be a little bit more relevant for recording music because there's lots of plugins and lots of effects going on. But if you're working on a session that has a lot of plugins, that's going to add latency. So that can affect how your recording sounds simply because you are coming in late. Right. Like maybe 100 milliseconds late on your recording and that will feedback into your performance. So those are some of the things that I think you can consider when treating a room and how you're capturing your audio.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

That's great. Well, there's a lot going on in a recording studio just looking at ours, here at Voices. Yes. We've got a floor that clearly is some kind of a tile type floor. Then there's this huge blue area rug, which is great because again, it could be changed out, whatever. And then we've got all of these acoustic panels all around here. The room was actually an old elevator shaft. Yeah, it is in the Bell building where we are, the 100 Dundas in London here, essentially, they had thought that this building would be taller than it would be and so these shafts were put in in case they built more, but they never did. So you've got your eight floors here at 100 Dundas and instead of this being just a little off the side area to kind of store things, we actually repurposed it and made it a studio. So, a lot of people listening are probably thinking, oh, well, can you turn anywhere into studio? Well, the answer might be yes, if you treat it appropriately, right?

Geoff Bremner:

yeah, just kind of going off of that. Actually, at school at OIART that you mentioned, I went to one of the recording studios, was actually an old meat locker.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Oh, wow.

Geoff Bremner:

If you think about it, a meat locker is actually a really good shell for a studio because it's got that door that is supposed to have an airtight seal, because it's supposed to be like a fridge and an airtight seal is really great for recording studio. And so you just line the inside with foam and it came with a window. So the window is actually looking out to the producer desk so you can make eye contact with the talent while they're recording. So I just love how every studio can have one of those interesting stories. And I didn't know this was an elevator shaft. So it makes me appreciate it more.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah, it's kind of a strange idea, but that's essentially this was an old galley kitchen. Basically this whole area where the Voices Museum is. So like, literally you can take anything, anybody out there who's trying to figure out where to put their studio so long as it's well treated, you've got good ventilation and a whole host of other things I'm sure we're going to talk about today or in a future episode. So, when I was talking to you about this, Geoff, about this whole idea of deadening your space, but there's still being factors at play that you might not expect could affect your recording. Just wanted to mention a number of years ago, one of the talent that I was talking to, he said I had been recording this audiobook. And after listening back, after a while, he noticed that the audio was actually changing from section to section to section of this audiobook. And he was like, well, what's going on? And eventually he figured out that it was because he was drinking, I don't know, his coffee or water or whatever, but it was in a stainless steel mug. And so every time he took a sip, it drew down the volume levels of the liquid in the cup and that actually affected how everything sounded. And so it was like, well, go back and re-record, I guess, right, do all this, and then an audiobook is kind of a nightmare to have to do, but hopefully you caught it early. Point being is, why does this happen? What is the scientific reason for why the sound is changing? Because the volume of liquid went down in the stainless steel cup.

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah, I mean, I think there's a pretty simple explanation. And that cup, I feel like, would have to be pretty close to the microphone in order for it to really matter because it's a pretty small object.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah, well, just think of it. Look at where the water is now. Right. Everybody just put my water down. Listen. Okay. Yeah. And so it's like really you're in front of the microphone, you got a pop filter or whatever. And then your hands, if they naturally go down from like I've just put them up beside your ears and then bring them down, they're going to just fall right beside the microphone on either side.

Geoff Bremner:

Right. I see.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Probably where I don't think someone was reaching. So it could very well be that.

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah. And stainless steel. That's a pretty reflective type surface. We could look it up and quantify how reflective it is if we want.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Maybe someone out there knows.

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah, I'm sure if we Googled it yeah. Something up there would tell us how reflective it is. But my intuition is telling me that it is very reflective. And I'm making up a word here, but I think we get the point.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Right.

Geoff Bremner:

And it's a classic example of that beer bottle. When you have that beer bottle or whatever bottle it is, that has a small diameter on the top, if you just blow on it and it has a resonant frequency, right? And then if you drink more and then you blow on it again, it's going to be a different note. So it's basically like that his or her voice was hitting the inside of that mug and bouncing around and then those reflections were making it into the microphone and at different frequencies. As you're drinking more and more liquid that'll affect the recording, it's going to give it a little bit of comb filtering, I guess the technical term.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Okay. And hydration is a good thing. So I don't want anyone to stop drinking the water because you might want to put like a lid on it, though, depending on what kind of a cup you have. But yeah, this happens all the time. You go and you refill something. It doesn't have to be in a glass bottle. It could be just in anything. But as the volume fills up in that vessel that you have your cup, the tone, the pitch actually changes as it gets closer. That's why I never look at what I'm filling the water with, my ‘Swell water bottle here, because I know that when it hits a certain frequency, I need to stop. Right. So anyway, little aside here, right. So as we all go and refill our water bottles, let's move on to our next point. So this is a big issue, I think, for a lot of people because they want to sound good all the time and you want to be consistent. So how is it that you can have consistent audio from session to session?

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah, that's a really great question and that's something that I'm continuing to answer for myself at my own home studio. Thinking about consistent audio, I think that's a really good start, but I think we could even take a step back even further and look at the bigger picture, which is like, how easy is it for you to walk up to your studio, set up and start recording? That's the question that I'm asking myself. I want as little amount of friction as possible when I go to record. I want to be able to walk into my studio and sit down and flick a couple of switches and I'm ready to go. That's like my dream scenario. And when you're trying to accomplish that as a side effect, you'll probably have more consistent audio because you're getting rid of things that are barriers to starting your session. But if we're thinking about just consistent audio, you really need to identify electrical devices that are going to get in the way. Sometimes there might be a fan. Your computer is actually a pretty big culprit, especially if it's like a little bit of an older computer like the one I have at home, like the fan goes off and it sounds like you're about to take off on a flight. So yeah, computers, if you can, if you have a booth, try to get the computer out of the room and run some cables to your monitor and run some cables to your speakers or your headphones. So that's one thing that you can do. There's your signal to noise ratio, which is something that's worth considering, right? If you can hear whatever is going on in your background then between your voice lines you might want to address that because that's going to be the thing that the client’s going to kind of complain about. So yeah.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

What about presets in a session? Like if you have the same kind of basis, the foundation you're starting from, because if you don't touch your microphone, if you don't add something big shiny metallic in your room and create some other imbalance there, if everything is business as usual, what can you do on the tech the software side to ensure that everything is uniform from session to session?

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah, no, that's a good question. Definitely just make a template. Make a template and revisit that. I have a template for you and I just drop your voice in and I know it sounds good all the time. Well, I hope (laughter). I think it sounds good. You have a vocal chain so I have an EQ and I roll everything off for you. 70 Hz is a high pass filter and at about 13,000 Hz, I have a low pass filter for you and then I have a compressor for you. I use Tokyo Dawn Labs plugins for anybody who's listening. These are free and these are amazing replacements for super expensive fab filter plugins, I find. Just a little plug there. So yes, have a template. If you don't have a template yet, every time you do a recording, just do a little bit of experimenting and just pick one thing like say today I'm going to try and get my EQ right. And it shouldn't be complicated. Your chain is super simple and also just try to get the best recording upfront.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah, well, that's kind of a garbage in, garbage out sort of thing. So that's I think what we all want to avoid is garbage in, garbage out, which for the uninitiated means that if what you've recorded doesn't sound really good at all, there is no amount of fixing that you can do to make it sound any better because it's what you've put in there is what's unfortunately in the system, so we all want to be avoiding that.

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah. I will say as working on a lot of podcasts, there are times where you do get not very good recordings that are clipping all over the place. But there are things I do think there are things that you can do to make it more palatable, like put sauce on a really bad sandwich or something. You can do things to make it more palatable and you can make cuts or you can use a gate, but it's all polishing something that doesn't sound the greatest to begin with. Just one more thing for consistent audio from session to session, I will say take breaks. That can't be overstated, especially when you're mixing or editing that's more applicable to me, I'm sure taking breaks as a voiceover is massively important as well. But when you're doing the editing, even take breaks because your ears will get tired and there's just no way around that. And just powering through ear fatigue, it's not fun. Sometimes you have to do it. But try to avoid getting in those situations if you can, as much as possible. And taking breaks is also just important for the health of your hearing because if you're having a longer session, it's easier just to keep turning that volume knob up and you don't realize how far you've come until like the end of the day and you look and you think, ‘oh my goodness, that volume came up a lot.’ So to prevent that, just take the breaks and also remember how loud you set something and set a loud limit for yourself. That's another thing that I think is actually really important and will actually feed into consistent audio because if you keep listening at different volumes, that will actually change how you're perceiving things and can't impact your consistency.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah, great tips. And so if someone would be like me, who is completely technically not as skilled or not even as aware of what is too loud or not too loud, can you have someone else listen to your files and say ‘you should be listening to them at X decibels?’ Is there a way at this setting you want to listen to that number five instead of at seven? Or just for those who are not as able to determine on their own?

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah, that's a really good question. For me, when I listen with my headphones on my Apple laptop, I do not go above four dots. So when you press the volume button, you can see the little speaker icon comes up and then I don't go above four dots with headphones. And that's at an audio recording that's been normalized. Like a commercial audio recording will not go louder than four dots. Sometimes if you're working with a Raw recording, it's not commercially loud, right? So obviously it goes up from there or I turn up the volume more from there. But if I was going to send it to a friend, you could do the exact same thing. And they have an Apple laptop, you could say, ‘put your headphones on and listen to it at four dots.’ Right? Because then you can be pretty sure that they're experiencing approximately the same loudness as you. They will be using different headphones than you probably, maybe, that is one way that you can get people to listen at the same loudness.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah, it's a great tangible I can do this right now tip, so thank you. That's awesome. Obviously, we talk about all kinds of strange and wonderful things about audio, but another wonder of the audio world would be the anechoic chamber. And I know I've seen these, I've never been in one, but it kind of looks a bit petrifying, to be honest with you. What can you tell us about these? I'm sure there are people who have heard of them, but they don't quite know what they are.

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah. So an anechoic chamber is basically a room that is as acoustically isolated from the outside world as much as possible. So no sound, theoretically, no sound from the outside should be coming in, and no sound on the inside will bounce. So every normal room that a person goes into will have some amount of reflections. Even this room, you can't hear them very much because it's been pretty well treated in this room.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Thank you, Bob Breen.

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah, thank you. Absolutely. It sounds amazing in here, and I love that. But yes, in a cook chamber has functionally no reflections. So you can pop a balloon inside an inner cook chamber, and it sounds so small because a lot of what makes the balloon pop loud is actually the reflections on the wall. Like, imagine popping a balloon inside of like a parking garage versus an anechoic chamber. Inside the parking garage, it's going to sound like a massive explosion. But inside an anechoic chamber, it's just one very quick transient. So the noise floor is insanely low. I don't have an actual sound pressure level measurement I can give you. Yeah, there's a very low noise floor. And after a human becomes acclimatized to an anechoic chamber, they can actually hear the insides of their own body. So you become yeah, it's really interesting. You become very aware of everything that's going on inside your body because the noise floor of every other room is louder than your internal function
Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Like your internal heartbeat, breathing, and the circulatory system going yeah. Which freaks people out.

Geoff Bremner:

It would freak me out. It feels a little bit uncomfortable to think about. It might be a fun experience just to see.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah. Goodness. You'd have to be a real audio geek to want to go and just be like, it's people who want to go into space. Right? I want to go into an equivalent chamber. Zero gravity? Not for me, but I'd love to hear I don't know. There are a lot of people out there who may have had the experience. Be sure to let us know if you've actually been in one. Some of you may work in these environments. I don't know. I don't know the purpose of them. I don't know why they exist.

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah, no, the purpose actually, from my perspective, like, imagine you have a set of speakers, and you want to get an accurate reading of what's coming out of those speakers. Like frequency response. Right. It's an environment to accurately measure what is happening acoustically, because in the recording and production world, in terms of audio, you want what's called a critical listening environment. And what that means is your listening environment should not color the sound in any way. An anechoic chamber is as close to a perfect listening environment that you can get. So that's what it's there for. It's like a test environment. Yeah, exactly. It's like a test environment. Makes sense now. Yeah. And manufacturers need to say, like, it produces these frequencies at these levels.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Right, okay. Now that makes a great deal of sense, because why build such a freaky little place? Sometimes they're a very large place. But anyway, I'm glad to know that there are actual commercial applications of why they exist. It's not just some fun science experiment, right? No, that's good. Okay, well, now that we've got anechoic chambers out of the way, and I'm sure we've all learned a lot, and please feel free to go in Google and find out more information about anechoic Chambers on your own, we're going to move on to our next weird yet wonderful thing. The audio does it. We had no idea that it did. So, Geoff, there's got to be something else. What do you got?

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah, let's see. Sound can travel four times faster in water. What? Yeah. Okay. That's just because water is more dense. That's my understanding. Water is more dense. So it's easier for sound to travel in water. I guess it's easier for the wave to propagate, which is why, I guess, like dolphins I don't know the exact fact, but dolphins can hear sound from some really far distance away. So that's kind of cool. Low frequencies will penetrate surfaces more readily than high frequencies. So, again, that's why your car when somebody starts a car outside of your house or your apartment or whatever, you're hearing all the low frequency information. You're not hearing the high frequency. Like, for example, you're walking downtown at night and you walk by a club and all you hear is that booming stuff coming out of the club. So that's an example of low frequencies penetrating surfaces more readily.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah. More bassy sounds you'll hear. Exactly. When a car speeds by you, you hear their noise from the beat and you don't hear necessarily the lyrics. Yes, exactly like that. It's just kind of like okay, so basically you're cutting out the top and all you get is the bottom of the frequency.

Geoff Bremner:

Exactly.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Okay, that's interesting. So what else?

Geoff Bremner:

I know that there's some other things for sure. Yes. This is one of your favorite ones. Why does your studio become so hot? Well, because when the sound hits a surface, its energy is reflected, absorbed, and also converted into heat. So depending on the surface that it touches, it's going to reflect more than absorb. And then any time a sound hits the surface, some amount of that energy is converted to heat. So the less reflecty again, that word I'm making up. Sure. The less reflective your surface is, the more it's going to absorb. And so when it gets absorbed, that energy gets converted into heat. So that is one of the reasons why your studio is so hot. The other reason is you probably have some lights in there and those can get really hot, too.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah, well the people out there, it never fails. It doesn't have to be summer, it could be any time of year. But you see talent online usually on their social channels talking about how oh, it's so hot in my studio and I'm dying in here. And then they'll have like ice around or they'll try to get some ventilation going or I don't know. There's different fixes that people are doing for trying to stay cooler in their studio environment because obviously if you've got air conditioning going then that's going to get into your recording, right? So you have to find some inventive ways but just to know that sound itself emits heat is just a whole other like ‘oh, I didn't know that.’ And this totally explains why it is that maybe it's warmer in this mind when you open the door and all of a sudden it's like, ‘oh, freedom.’ Right? You could say something like that, but it just seems like there's a lot of talent and maybe you can answer this question too, but we're in a fairly large space for a studio, right? Yeah. But if someone's in their closet or if someone is in a smaller like a little booth, I don't know, not going to throw around brand names, but let's say they've got a booth that they're in, that's going to be even hotter, right? It's still the same amount of sound being made, but it's a smaller space and it's more concentrated.

Geoff Bremner:

Absolutely. Yeah. So it will get hotter faster than this room. And this room is already getting a little bit hot. So yeah, kudos to the voice actors, by the way, who are tough in those summer months, especially when it gets really hot. That's not easy, guys. So kudos to you. But yeah, how can we ventilate it? That's a challenge, for sure. I think that's actually a pretty good option. Like getting some ice packs. Those things don't make sound and I don't know if this would work, but maybe if you had like a cooler that was full of ice, it's not the most sustainable thing, but

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

no ideas.

Geoff Bremner:

I'm just thinking about that.

If you freeze I know. If you freeze like rice or like you get like a bag of rice

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

that can make sound.

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah, I know.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Well that's the whole thing. This whole podcast is about what is making sound in weird and wonderful ways that maybe. Shouldn't be happening because you just don't think about it. So, like, for instance, before you come into the studio, every time you come in the studio, think, oh, my goodness, I have to only wear an outfit that does not make noise. Right. And so that's got to be a struggle. I don't know how many ladies are listening. This is like a major struggle for you. But you're going into a studio, like, external, not your home. So you can't wear whatever. You typically have a sweatpants or whatever, but you want to wear something nice, but you're going to make noise, potentially. So someone has got to have a clothing line for this. Honestly, by this point, people in voiceover, if someone has not decided to use their entrepreneurial brain to make clothing for a studio, then I'd be happy to give you that idea right now. It's yours. Go take it. I'm not going to be that person. But, yeah, just like all these little things you got to think about yeah. To stay cool in the studio. And just thinking back to a past episode where David Kaplan was on and he was talking about when he first built his own kind of isolation booth in there. And just this scenario was probably summer. Everyone go back and listen. A long ways back, as David was one of our first guests on the show, he was describing just how hot it was and wear layers so that you can take a jacket off or something or wear shorts and T-shirt. Basically going on right here is shorts and T-shirt, but like in sandals, actually. So there's a little weird things happen with heat and sound, so you just have to do what you can. So anyway, on that note, we want to be comfortable in the studio, and sometimes that's to do with the temperature of the studio, right? Like what we just talked about. But other times it's also like how we set up the environment that we're in and how that might affect us and our ability to focus.

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah, absolutely. So physical clutter and other messes in your studio can definitely impact your performance, in my opinion, honestly, because I think a room isn't just a room. A room is informing you what you should be doing in that room. When I come into this recording studio, I know that there should be recording happening in here. So for some people, like, for example, that might be working out of their closet, they might have clothes in there, it's not kind of mentally like by walking in there, it's not as obvious that it’s a recording space. So doing things that make it super obvious that it's a recording space, I think actually can help get your mind into that attitude of I'm recording. And the other thing is, if there's visually distracting things like your phone in front of you or you're in the middle of a reading, like, you see a notification go off on your phone, for example, that's just going to distract you. So stuff like that is important to consider and just other things. In this room before, we had a lot of other things in here, and for me, it was kind of it's my own pet peeve, but for you, Stephanie, you said, ‘oh, it's okay,’ and I took it out. And then you actually said after, ‘oh, this is nice.’ We had a bunch of other gear in here. We had lights, we had camera stands, we had microphones that weren't being used, so we decided to clean that all up. And to me, it just feels like it's a lot easier to focus on what you should be doing. And when there's not other things in your visual field, you're not thinking about anything else

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Right. And you're not hitting anything else either. That was the other danger. It's like you put your arm out, like as I do, and boom, there's a mic stand, Ouch!, and you don't want to be doing that. So thank you again for doing that because it does, and it's so funny because some people have a different threshold for what they think is messy or distracting or what have you, right? Yeah, but now that that space is opened up, and it's literally opened up, like, as in there's nothing there other than cabling on the wall and the acoustic treatment, it does make a difference. So for anyone who's in a studio and you think, ‘oh, that mess doesn't really bother me,’ see what you can do about cleaning it up and it might make a difference, just subconsciously just completely give you a sense of more comfort level recording.

Geoff Bremner:

I used to be one of those non believers where I would think, ‘oh, this mess doesn't matter,’ and I would challenge yourself. If you're one of those people out there. I would challenge myself because I thought I was one of those people, and then I started addressing those things. Just little messes here and there, and it just makes a big difference. And you're just going to feel so much better being in your recording studio. You're going to want to be there more. Just try it.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah, well, that's just it. They have to experiment and see, because maybe it doesn't make a difference to you, or maybe it does. It could be that simple thing you can do that isn't hard. We can all do these things. Everyone knows how to tidy up the ten second tidy or whatever you want to do, just do something, and make sure that you have a space that you feel comfortable in, that you're not tripping over cables in, that you're not blinded by the light in, because that's going to be a factor, too. Like, how bright is your screen? There's many ways to become fatigued when you're in the studio. And one, of course, that we haven't mentioned a lot is vocally. You can be vocally fatigued. And so that's another good reason to take some breaks, to have your water to hydrate an hour before, to always be conscious of that, to get a good night's sleep beforehand, come on, people, like don't be up till two or 03:00 a.m. And then expect to sound amazing at night. It's not going to happen. So just thinking about all that in this allergy season, I don't know when this is going to go out. So if this goes out, say September or whatever, we're recording mid July, then it's ragweed. So it's still allergy season for somebody. But just being aware of how the air coming inside your studio, but also just the allergens you are exposed to in just regular life and then that can affect the sound that you make. It isn't necessarily the sound of the recording equipment, it's what's being captured. But yeah, I think that a lot of talent do struggle with the allergies. Some use netipots, some use some other way of rinsing, like a nasal rinse.

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah, I use one of those and I'm not even a voice talent.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Right, so there's some good stuff there. You talk to your doctor it, about everybody. That's one of those doctor things. So at any rate, we've talked about a whole bunch of stuff. I know that based on notes that you've made, there's probably a lot more material for another day. But that said, everybody, if you enjoyed the way that we went about this episode and you like these kind of off the cuff conversations that we might have, and let us know because I'll have Geoff back on again or maybe ask someone else at Voices as they like to pop in and share more about their area of expertise and just have a nice little chat. Right?

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah, there's lots of different lenses that we have here at Voices, right

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Absolutely. Well, thank you for coming on the show, Geoff. It's been a real pleasure to have you here sitting as talent, which I know is a stretch and very different for you. But thank you for sitting down and having a wonderful chat and sharing your insight today.

Geoff Bremner:

Perfect. Yeah. Thank you so much. It's a lot of fun.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah. So as I was saying, you produce a lot of different content here at Voices. Now what are some of the shows that you're working on and how can people find them?

Geoff Bremner:

That's a great question. Yeah. So as you mentioned on the intro, we got Mission Audition, Voice Over Experts, Voice Branding and Vox Talk, and also just some YouTube content that I'm working on. So, yes, all of those podcast titles you can find wherever you get your podcasts, you can find Voices YouTube just by searching, you should be able to search voices.com on YouTube and you'll find us. I know, I've done it a million times. And we do actually have our newer YouTube channel where a lot of our client facing content is going to be. Yes. So that is YouTube Branding Through Audio, and that's where you can find the voice branding podcast and other client facing content that will be working on. So if you're on the client side and you are in the production industry, check it out. We got some really cool stuff up on there. And if you want to contact me personally, you can find me on LinkedIn. Just search Geoff Bremner. G-E-O-F-F G off. Some people, you could call me g off. A lot of people call me g off. So, yeah, Geoff Bremner on LinkedIn. B-R-E-M as in mango, n as in Nectar -er. Very good. I think people will be finding you. I know that Geoff does post some neat stuff and you have a lot of great conversations, actually, with a number of people who've been on the show. And it's wonderful to see all of this neat interconnectivity with everybody in the industry. So yes. Well, Geoff, thank you again very much for coming on the show. And I guess that's a wrap.

Geoff Bremner:

Yeah

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

perfect.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

So that's the way we saw the world through the lens of Voice over this week. A huge thank you to our special guest, Geoff Bremner, for giving us a new way to think about the audio we produce and the sounds we're surrounded by. If you enjoyed this episode, you can reach me at stephanie (at) voices.com. We get some of our best show ideas from Vox Talk listeners just like you. So from Voices, I'm Stephanie Ciccarelli. Vox Talk is produced by Geoff Bremner, who happens to be our talent today as well. So thank you again for spending time with us and we'll see you next week.

Stephanie Ciccarelli
Stephanie Ciccarelli is a Co-Founder of Voices. Classically trained in voice 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. For over 25 years, Stephanie has used her voice to communicate what is most important to her through the spoken and written word. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, Stephanie has been a contributor to The Huffington Post, Backstage magazine, Stage 32 and the Voices.com blog. 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®.
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