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Mike Rowe Demonstrates VO Trick in "Adventures in Voiceover"

By Lin Parkin

August 13, 2013

Comments (6)

Mic and Headphones.jpgDo you ever receive scripts that are marked up and difficult to read?

Or creative direction that makes little sense?

Receiving scripts in that kind of shape can really slow a production down and cause unnecessary back and forth between the talent and producer.

Join us in today's VOX Daily to discover a trick used by voice-over great, Mike Rowe, when he runs into this situation.

In a YouTube video that he's dubbed "Adventures in Voiceover" Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) demonstrates a technique often used by on-camera spokespeople or hosts when using an ear prompter.

In the video Mike receives a script for a US Government job that is absolutely illegible. Unable to decipher the directions given in the script and not wanting to waste time asking for a clean one, he asks the audio engineer to play the scratch track (an unpolished read or recording by someone other than the actor) through his headphones while he reads along instead. The engineer then separates the two tracks and (viola!) they have a perfect read.

Watch Mike Rowe in Action

In the video description on YouTube Mike Rowe says, "I'm not convinced it's anything special..." It looks like second nature to him but it is special. Being able to perform your lines accurately and on pace simultaneously with what you're hearing for the first time is an exceptional skill.

And, as a special little bonus, Mike also explains that placing a music stand covered with a wide strip of carpeting by the microphone helps reduce the reverb in the room.

Have you ever tried the scratch track technique?

I look forward to your comments below.

All the best,


Related Topics: Adventures in Voiceover, Audio Editing Tricks, Mike Rowe, Scripts, VO Tricks, YouTube


    Amazing! How can Mike do that, with seemingly THAT MUCH delay? It would drive me crazy! Must be the result of eons of practice...

    Posted by:

      Yes I have, but in a different situation. I was preparing to audition for an on-camera gig, and have come to realize that my memorization skills are not what they used to be. Since the audition allowed for an Earprompter, I recorded the copy into my iPhone, and wore one ear of my headseat into the audition. Won the gig :)

      Posted by:

        Holy buckets - that was incredible! It's hard enough to read and speak at the same time, let alone do that! We all know that Mike Rowe is a master though - love his work!

        Posted by:
        • Lindey
        • August 30, 2013 4:08 PM

          What a memory!

          Posted by:
          • Anonymous
          • August 30, 2013 4:10 PM

            He made it look SO easy! It sure isn't that easy for ME! I had to use the same technique to match my audio to a client's finished video, and believe me...I did NOT accomplish it on the first read like Mike did! Wow! Impressive!

            Posted by:

              THANKS for the smile! And the insight. Such a Pro! Very impressive and inspiring.

              Posted by:
              • Sheila M. Nicholas
              • September 5, 2013 8:14 PM

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