Recording voice overs to correspond with your e-learning course can appear to be a daunting task. From setting up the audio software, to prepping the equipment, to editing the sound clips, there can be a lot of steps that go into getting the perfect voice over. To make things a bit easier, we’ve put together a quintessential list of tips that are sure to make your next recording session a breeze.
Know Your Software
One of the most important steps to take in order to make the recording process smoother is to get comfortable with the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that you’ll be using during your session. Whether you’re using a professional audio program like Adobe’s Audition or a simple built-in recording software, it’s important to be familiar with the interface as well as the program’s features. Can you record the script on separate tracks or will you have to save them out individually? Does the program offer advanced background noise reduction or will you need complete silence in order to record? It’s important to know the answers to questions like these before the recording session to avoid any hiccups.
Set Up and Test
Another important step is to get set up well ahead of time and make sure all of your equipment is working as intended. Find the best direction to aim the mic in order to avoid background noise (or find a new location if it’s too noisy!), set preliminary audio levels for the expected speaking volume, and make sure the equipment is communicating with the software. Nothing is worse than having the talent show up only to run into technical difficulties that could have been solved beforehand.
Practice Makes Perfect
Having the talent (or yourself, if you’re recording your own voice overs) run through the script a few times before they even get to the recording session can make a huge difference. It will make them more comfortable with the cadence, the points of emphasis (make sure to clearly outline any important areas), and will help them add meaning to the script. This will also give them a chance to contact you with any questions they have about the text before they are reading it live, which can save a lot of time during the recording process.
Before having the talent take a stab at a perfect run through, have them read the script a couple of times into the mic to make sure the audio levels are set correctly. Make sure that there isn’t any peaking (when the audio levels hit 0db) and that it sounds natural without any drop-offs or pops (a pop filter can be very helpful with this). Keep in mind that you may need to account for the fact that people tend to get a bit louder when reading the script ‘for real’.
The More the Merrier
It’s always better to have more options to choose from when it comes to sound clips, so don’t be afraid to have your talent do a few takes for each part of the script. Even when you’ve done your best to secure a perfect recording location and the take sounded perfect, you’ll often discover a pop, an untimely background noise, or a mispronunciation once you get the audio into your DAW. Because of this, having a couple of extra takes to pull from makes the editing process that much easier, and circumvents the issue of making your talent come in to do a re-take down the road.