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Keeping Hydrated and Moisturized for Voice Over Recording Sessions

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

May 10, 2007

Comments (10)

Lips and Voice OversHaving trouble keeping a consistent sound when recording?

Is your mouth too wet, too dry, sticky or tongue-tied?

Maybe your lips need some TLC, too...

Discover some great tricks to rid yourself of mouth problems when recording voice overs here at VOX Daily.

Sometimes, the simplest voice over recording task can be the hardest (and most time consuming) to do if your mouth isn't cooperating with your mind.

While these issues can crop up at the least convenient time, there are preventative measures that you can take to soothe the savage beast ahead of time.

In past posts, we've learned that good oral hygiene helps to combat mouth noise. David Houston's cleaning the instrument articles hit on that topic with a vengeance, including the use of tabasco sauce!

We've received tips from others recommending Alkalol (Lora Cain), munching on apples (Julie Williams), sugar-free mints and Cayenne Pepper Tea (Sanda Allyson), avoiding dairy products, nuts, caffeinated beverages, chocolate, consuming a Cinnamon Altoid (Claire Michel), or simply avoiding food all together before a session.

The most important thing you can do to prepare is to get a lot of rest and drink water frequently.

A tip Pat Fraley endorses is that instead of taking a glass of water into the studio with you (he figures that if you're not hydrated by then, it won't make much of a difference to chug a bottle of Evian in the studio) that you bring a spritzer bottle with some lukewarm water in it, and when you need a bit of moisture, just spritz away!

While it's good to know how to hydrate and keep the inside of your mouth cooperating with you, there is another element that we had not yet considered.

Your lips!

There are times when lips can be the culprit of a voice over disaster too.

Does anyone do anything special to moisturize their lips when recording? Any particular lip balm, cream, or glaze that works with your voice?

It would be interesting to learn if using a product such as lipsol or lip balm would be a benefit or a hindrance to you where recording voice overs are concerned.

Please leave a comment with your view on applying and incorporating lip balm in your voice over studio.

Cheers,

Stephanie

©©©iStockphoto.com/automatika

Related Topics: Apple, how to


Comments


    VERY helpful topic!

    Here is my routine (a combination of Julie Williams & Pat Fraley). I eat an apple a bit before a session to cleans my mouth with the juices and then I use the spritzer bottle during the session.

    I must say, I was VERY surprised by the results...especially the spray bottle. I also drink about 80oz. of water a day, so that helps with overall hydration but you still need the spritz on hand.

    Posted by:

      You drink 80 oz of water a day, Brian????

      WOW!

      Now there's dedication to hydration! I have to keep remembering to drink water... somehow it always ends up being coffee! ;-)

      Thanks for the tips Steph!

      Liz

      Posted by:

        The air can be extremely dry at times. I am always mindful of humidity... and depending on whatever combination of circumstances, some days are worse than others for those pesky mouth noises, so I ALWAYS have bottle or a glass of water with me, whether I am recording or not. It's just become a healthy habit I guess! I also use a combination of mouth moisturizers (Biotene, Thayers Dry Mouth Spray) only when needed, including and especially the very simple solution of the quick spritz of water on the teeth/ and or tongue, and repeat about every page turn or so. (A technique I adapted from Pat Fraley and Hillary Huber)

        I always begin recording with my my mouth wide open, too.

        And finally, I keep a tube of Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm next to my pencils, for use as needed.

        Posted by:

          Hi Brian, Liz and Bobbin,

          Thank you for your comments!

          Bobbin, is there a particular reason why you prefer that lip balm in particular?

          I wonder if certain textures or flavors make for better recordings...

          Anyone have a take on that?

          Stephanie

          Posted by:

            Hi,

            I am Sanjo from Nigeria. I find that rubbing a non sticky lip oil does the trick for me. On the other hand the sticky oils can be a pain.

            Note that not too much of it should be applied and should be applied about ten minutes before voicing, so that you are already speaking with it on and you don't feel awkward.

            Thank you.

            Sanjo!

            Posted by:
            • Sanjo
            • May 11, 2007 12:35 PM

              Hello again Stephanie,

              I like the Burt's Bees because it contains all natural ingredients; beeswax, sunflower oil, coconut oil, lanolin, comfrey root, vitamin E honey, rosemary & natural fragrance. It feels soothing and moisturizing to the lips, and goes and feels real thin , not "gloppy or film-y", like some other products I've used , yet it stays on quite a while. It's just a personal preference, and I enjoy the all-natural aspect, too.:)

              Posted by:

                Stephanie,

                Working from home makes it easy to get rid of mouth noise for me- I just brush my teeth before recording. If I'm at a production studio all day, bitter tea and apples are good for me.

                I also never wear lipstick if recording- it is way too sticky! Instead, I use either plain Chapstick or Burt's Bees like Bobbin. My lips have to stay hydrated, but I want something that soaks in quickly and won't make any noise.

                While I don't drink as much water as Brian (though I wish I did! Way to go Brian!), I do tend to drink more before a long recording day. The less sounds of me gulping down drinks in the directors ear, the more polite I feel :)

                Thanks!
                Kara

                Posted by:

                  First off, if I ever bring 80 Ounce Brian into the studio as a voice talent, I will try to have a restroom added directly to one of our vocal booths!

                  Because of the number of students we train, we are fortunate to have a speech language pathologist on our staff.

                  All of the above ideas are great. A couple pieces of additional insight:

                  Try to keep the water you drink during a session close to room temperature. Overly chilled water can have a short term negative effect on your voice performance ability.

                  The effect of a sour agent, i.e. a green apple, can be a tremendous asset in reducing mucosal saliva. This is extremely beneficial in reducing mouth noise. This effect, however, is short lived. We suggest sectioning up a green apple and bringing it to your session. Try to discretely have a bite every five minutes or so.

                  Also try to avoid activities that strain your voice. One of the most common is chronic throat clearing. A great way to clear your throat that will not strain your voice is to take a good size sip of water, tuck your chin in tight to your chest, and swallow hard.

                  There are also many resources on the web related to this topic. Searching "vocal hygiene" will provide a number of results.

                  Regardless of the methods you employ to keep your voice working at it's best, always keep in mind that voice health is part of your professional responsibility as a voice actor. After all, we are paying you for your voice!

                  Posted by:

                    I really appreciate this article! This subject has been a wall keeping me from going forward. And thank you Claire Michel! - the cinnamon Altoid idea has almost completely eradicated my clicking.

                    One question: I have never heard of nuts causing either dehydration or mucus. Are there particular types of nuts that do this, or are they all off limits? Need to know because as a raw vegan, nuts are part of my diet.

                    Thanks!
                    Maggie

                    Posted by:
                    • Maggie Bryan
                    • November 7, 2009 2:59 PM

                      Great topic, and great suggestions.
                      Ok fellow V/Os - what about the old tummy gurgle then, specially when you're rock 'n rolling? Sometimes my tummy says, 'Hey, I'm hungry!', other times, 'Hmmmm, that was nice....'
                      I've done ELT sessions with someone wrapped in a mattress.

                      Posted by:

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