By Stephanie Ciccarelli
December 29, 2010
If you could record your voice from anywhere in the world, whether a private venue or a public space, where would your ideal "studio" be and why?
This question was posed to our Voices.com community on Facebook and some of their answers were very creative.
Discover some interesting ideas and learn more about how you can recreate the environment you're voicing about and set the stage for theatre of the mind in today's VOX Daily.
New technologies and the Internet have removed many practical obstacles that used to thwart the paths of professionals in any number of fields.
We have more advanced tools and processes now than ever before. Equipment has become more affordable and millions of people around the world enjoy the benefits of working from home. Most who read this article are in many ways living a dream because they are able to work from home while doing what they love.
Time, geography and technologies have been bridged in the realm of business worldwide, but what about resources and the ambiance of your own home recording studio?
When I asked our Voices.com fans on Facebook about their ideal recording studio environment, many cited that they preferred the amenities and comfort of home while others dared to dream a bit bigger.
Speaking of Which
Have you ever considered recording in places of historical importance that you wouldn't necessarily relate to voice overs?
For instance, can you imagine recording a voice over at the actual site of what you were narrating about? There might need to be an isolation booth to block out the noise but what if you could record a documentary about a war or a pivotal moment in history where it actually happened! You could narrate amidst the beauty of nature, in castles and more.
Wouldn't it be neat to voice something about the German composer Beethoven while planted in one of his apartments at the foot of one of his piano fortes? The possibilities are endless when you think about it.
Around the Voices.com Water Cooler
Since most talent are not able to be at an actual location related to what they are reading about, the talent bears the responsibility of recreating that environment through their voice and use of tone, inflection, fluctuation, phrasing, breath and cadence. This can be where research, breathing skills and acting techniques come in handy.
Much of this recreation vocally starts mentally through research and visualization.
One voice over talent, Larry Murphy, has demo pertaining to life in prehistoric times and the dinosaurs. He wrote, "One of my demos is on Dinosaurs.. now that would be a tough one to duplicate actual location, but I get your point. To feel, smell, and taste, so to speak, the place you're narrating about would definitely put you in a very creative mindset, and the feeling needed to make the narration come to life."
Morgan Barnhart's ideal location to record from was on her boat as she floated along the big blue sea. Giving this some thought, I asked her if she'd need to securely lock down the recording equipment lest the billowing waves wreak havoc on her studio setup. After a little more chatting, I realized that when I asked my question, physical movement, weather and the like hadn't crossed my mind. I was thinking more of stable buildings and enclosed spaces that might be more immune to the elements or external man made sounds.
Bringing those into the picture does add some interesting variables to the mix! Depending on your preference, or whatever the environmental or structural characteristics were of the place you were reading about, you could encounter different challenges that you wouldn't otherwise face!
While Melba Sibrel might enjoy recording at Mont St. Michel, a stone abbey with amazing acoustics (not to mention the natural reverb), Peggy Tisone might find her recording session at the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado to be a bit more challenging with sweeping high winds coursing through the air.
But what if you could have a state-of-the-art recording studio with access to any instrument you might desire for producing music beds to lay your voice over? Thomas Buxton shared that his ideal recording venue would be, "At a huge and luxurious music store, that way I could use whatever instrument I want to enhance my VO. Plus on breaks I'd play some awesome guitars!"
Who wouldn't want to play on some instruments on your break? Maybe I need a piano in my office :)
Along a similar musical vein, Dana Detrick added, "...I wouldn't pass up a chance at one of the classic studios! Abbey Road would be a must...but since I've become a VO artist, some of the Hollywood Studios would be a thrill, too!"
Some of you have had the pleasure of recording in such places and have felt the very history of the room in your bones. Imagine recording in the same studio that greats like Mel Blanc, Don LaFontaine, Thurl Ravenscroft, June Foray and others have graced over the years. That would indeed be something.
Home (and your studio) is Ultimately Where the Heart Is
One of the most wonderful things about having your own home recording studio is that you are closest to those who matter most to you. Similarly, one of the most wonderful things about being a voice actor is that you can create the illusion of being somewhere else through your voice.
Even if you aren't sitting on the throne at Buckingham Palace, you could still narrate a great piece on the British monarchy by preparing yourself for the read. You don't need to be in the secret annex in Amsterdam to perform a convincing and emotional rendition of The Diary of Anne Frank. Being swallowed up by a giant whale isn't a prerequisite to narrating the biblical account of how Jonah managed to get to Nineveh... I think you get the picture.
Tips For Setting The Stage
à¹ Know your character
à¹ Know your audience
à¹ Research the location and its environment
à¹ Be sensitive to context
à¹ Visualize the location, your surroundings and your character
à¹ Listen to music of the time period
à¹ Identify your character's contemporaries, whether real or imagined
à¹ Practice speaking in character when talking to other people
à¹ Know how the story ends before you get there
How Do You Set The Stage?
I'd love to learn more about the ways you prepare for any number of reads and how your preparation strategies may differ based upon content, context and the intended audience.
Comments in general about your ideal recording studio location are also welcome :)
Add your comment below or respond to your VOX Daily email to share your ideas!
Â©iStockphoto.com/Joshua BlakeRelated Topics: acting, booth, environment, German, Hollywood, Queen, reading, research, stage, studios, theatre, voice