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8 Audio Production Tips for Voice Actors

By Lin Parkin

September 5, 2013

Comments (6)

Audio Production.jpgAre you thinking about offering audio production services in addition to providing voice-overs?

Some voice-over artists have as much talent for the technical side of the business as they do for the creative, while others have to work hard on developing those skills.

If audio production just isn't your thing you could consider outsourcing that part of the job.

However, especially for freelance voice talent, having production skills adds a great deal of value to the services you can offer by saving clients time and money. Those are beautiful words to all potential buyers!

We reached out to the community through our social media channels to get some sound advice for those thinking of branching into production services. Hear what they had to say in today's VOX Daily.

8 Audio Production Tips

Billy Madatchu (Producer) - "Make sure your mic is quality... most important... then your cables and interface... there are tons of products available that will do just fine. Do your research and read forums and reviews on sites like this one and others. Once you have your mic and interface, and presumably a sound environment to record and mix, your DAW is the next step. Depending on your computer's capabilities there are a few different choices. I work primarily with protools. But you can use almost any of them to get the job done. They all have their ups and downs. Protools is just the industry standard so if you want to be in the industry you might want to get used to it. Then I would watch as many tutorials as your brain will allow and practice, practice, practice. Less compression = better quality, as much as possible anyways. And subtract eq more than add it. I hope this helps anyone and good luck."

Prentice Osborne - "Don't be intimidated by the software. Take a little time to get comfortable with the program you choose to use. Use online resources to familiarize yourself with basic commands, and ask colleagues and mentors for help. If you still want to learn production after that, take a couple classes. Then practice, practice, practice! Oh, and don't forget...more practice."

Joel Porter - "You can have a great car or a lousy one, but if you don't know how to drive, you will end up in a ditch. Good things take time, and skills need to be practiced... and what clients like is when you save them time and money. Voice actors looking to go into production should practice on their own stuff over and over to build confidence."

Larry Murphy - "After talking with my voice coach, I decided to switch to Sound Forge Audio from Pro Tools LE8. SF is so much easier, for me anyway, to edit and mix music. My best advice is to play around with the software, try different things, experiment, and practice. Try mixing in sound effects and music. Look for resources on the internet that offer music and SFX. But do shop around and sample the music; you must be sure that the quality is there. Last thing you want to do is mix in music of poor quality."

Rich Brennan - "If I may quote "The Joy of Painting" with Bob Ross: "There are no mistakes, only happy accidents". Often, when I'm producing a lot of sound elements or sound effects wind up in the piece by mistake; simply 'cuz they sound better. "I don't think of producing as 'work'; I prefer to call it 'playing'."

Monika Moravan - "Practice, practice, practice and ask pros for advice."

Teg Gray - "Have good editing skills, make certain when editing for breath and noise reduction to maintain good pacing for the narration. To do this make sure you have a small amount of clean room sound from the recording to replace the deleted noise for seamless transitions. Also have access to royalty free music and offer a wide selection for your client, offer your best recommendation, but ultimately let them decide on the selection."

Brian Haymond - "I practiced and watched YouTube videos. Still learning to this day! It's all about following your passion. I do audio production as well as VO for that reason. Work the way you're wired."

Did you find these tips helpful?

If you have additional questions about audio production, try visiting our Answers forum where you can post questions and obtain advice from your peers. Or if you would you like to add your two cents to the advice above, please leave a comment below.

All the best,
Lin

©iStockphoto.com/MachineHeadz

Related Topics: advice, Audio production tips, how to, industry, producers, voice actors, voice-over artists, YouTube


Comments


    Don't be so shy about specifics , try recommending the three top
    choices of microphones , software , headphones , sound effects
    sources . You did a little of this but , why write an article if it's only
    going to contain vague generalities . If you're offering expert
    opinions then let them really be helpful .

    Posted by:
    • Dan Ellington
    • September 5, 2013 1:47 PM

      Everyone talks about Pro-tools or similar software. This is a cost that isn't necessary to get the kind of sound required to sell to others (professional). What is needed is the know how to get the sound in and out of the software or hardware being used, and to develop the ear of an engineer and be strict with yourself about the recording quality only. Those who said it comes with practise are correct, but practise what?

      I work in compartments. First I read through the scripts or in some cases write them, second I track them (record the vocal), third I produce them (add music or sound effects) and finally I master them (tweak the audio so its as clear as possible).

      This can be a hard task for someone who is producing their own stuff as there can be a tendency to want to do things to the voice, and its not just VO people who may have this wish. John Lennon for instance always wanted the engineer to "flange it or something", because he wasn't happy with the sound coming out of the speakers.

      The first order of business should be is it clear? Secondly what are the enhancements about, for what? Then probably your done on many projects.

      Nobody on this page mentioned some of the open source stuff that is as good as Sound Forge or ProTools. Both of those can cost around $700-$1000 for full versions (what reduced version doesn't bug you to upgrade?) You can get software for free or less than $200 for pro versions that has excellent sonic abilities. The one with the price is from a major sound board company. Unfortunately these solutions are best in Linux and this can scare people. The sound system for Linux, Jack could be considered as high or higher resolution than ASIO.

      Anyway, just pointing out that there are more than the typical solution to offer. One might be to find Cooledit from a long time ago. One talent told me that’s all he uses and it costs $40. You have heard him on many things.

      Personally I started with Cooledit way back and found out what compression, eq, and effects do. Then I learned all over again to be judicious about using them to (often) better effect.

      If you can, go to a recording studio and sit with the engineer. Get him to explain the racks of equipment and what it all does. DAW software does the same thing. If you can get the basis of it that's the best. It might take a while though.

      Posted by:

        Useful and encouraging. I've done a bit of post production on recent demos for myself and it's very satisfying when you get it finished. I'll keep practising.

        Nicola
        Northern Irish voice

        Posted by:

          Very useful indeed, thanks, but one comment in particular - Teg Gray's, "make sure you have a small amount of clean room sound from the recording to replace the deleted noise for seamless transitions" - I've learned to be entirely essential from, as others so correctly wrote here, by 'practicing, practicing, practicing.'

          Posted by:
          • Ken Karp
          • September 6, 2013 8:36 AM

            I found these tips useful, but I still miss doing production with tape.

            Posted by:
            • Steven Kahn
            • September 6, 2013 9:27 AM

              Thanks for commenting! I'm pleased that this article has been helpful and encouraging for many of you.

              Dan, the top three picks for various types of equipment would vary greatly from person to person as what appeals to one person may not to another. Equipment preferences are also biased to what an individual can afford and where in their career they are. A Neumann mic may be the best of the best but it isn't sensible to spend that kind of money on a mic for someone just starting out. Perhaps a separate article on the top three pieces of equipment in the low, mid, and high range would be in order to help address this.

              Gord, those are great tips. Thank you for adding your two cents!

              All the best,
              Lin

              Posted by:

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