Through the past 18 months, the pandemic has shaken up our work patterns dramatically. Many people are working from home, however there are just some things you can’t do well from your bedroom. Professional recording is probably one of the best examples of this as you never quite know what interruptions you might get. When recording a voice over, using a professional studio may seem expensive. What do you actually get for your money? Is it worth it? Is the sound that much better?
Follow along for insight into what you should expect and how to ensure you make the most out of the time you have in the studio.
Know your sound
Your time in the studio is where the magic happens. But, it can only happen if you know exactly how you want the recording to sound. Go in with a clear vision of what you want to achieve and what you want the listener’s experience of the finished product to be. This will save you time re-recording at a later stage. If you are bringing in different voices to your project they need to sound like they’re in the same room, so recording in the same studio will be a significant benefit.
When briefing your talent, ensure you are as specific as possible. Make sure the speed and intonation you’re looking for is discussed beforehand. If you’re working with a foreign language script, checking that the sentence length is the same as in the original language can be a good idea. For example, German sentences are up to 35% longer than English so if you’re creating a voice over in German for an advert originally in English, taking this into account is crucial.
Lean on the studio experts
It can be daunting to step into the studio for the first time, but you don’t have to be an expert to create a professional sounding recording. When you know what you want the final product to appear, share your ideas with the agents and engineers to get their input on how best to achieve your vision.
The studio team will have done thousands of recordings and know exactly what they’re doing! They will have a great understanding of how to ensure your concepts are brought to life, so lean on the agents if you need help with briefing your voice talent, and use the engineers who know which mixer controls to push to guarantee that your project is sounding crisp and vibrant.
It is also great to use the team as a second pair of ears to ensure that you have accuracy and consistency in pronunciation and that what the voice talent is saying is true to the script. They can also offer suggestions to where you can improve in terms of inflection, accent, intonation and phrasing as well as pace, pause and timing.
Equipment and engineers
So what equipment and specifications should you look out for? Every professional studio will have pro tools, a good mic and a soundproof booth. The outcome will 99% of the time be the same. What makes the difference is how well the engineer you’re working with understands your vision. Again this comes down to preparation, however, ensuring you send assets such as video or scripts to the studio before you record is paramount.
Sound engineers, directors and often, professional voice talent will speak the language of audio so utilise them as much as possible when in the studio. They can help point you in the right direction if you’re recording without a dedicated voice over director. They are specialists in recording and will make sure that what you get is a product you can drop straight into your campaign. Linking a home studio to a professional one is possible with Source-Connect if the studio, like ours at The Voiceover Gallery, is Source-Connect approved. But, that doesn’t mean the challenges of recording from home disappear. You will still have to ensure that birds, cars, horses or roadwork don’t bleed into the final product.
If you’re interested in the difference between studio and home recording, you can learn more in this blog from sound engineer, Chris Power.
The role of the voice over director
Working in a professional studio also means you will have access to a voice over director. Depending on the scope of your work, you may prefer to do this yourself. However, if this is something you have very little experience in, it may be an addition that puts your mind at ease when the engineer hits record.
The voice over director is your safety net and an extra pair of ears. They ensure the voice is as per the script without any accidental word swaps. They also look out for consistency in tone and delivery and make sure that the articulation is on point with no shortening of words.
Most often we see voice directors used in foreign language work as this is where they can really offer their expertise. If you are working with a voice over in a different language to your native tongue, having a voice over director who understands the intonation and tone – and what differences they can make to the meaning – will ensure your project sounds like what you intended it to without any awkward mispronunciations.
Realise your vision with a clear plan of attack
Having a plan of attack and a clear vision of the finished recording can lead to a great studio experience. Working in a professional environment you have complete control of the sound and there are no interruptions from external sources which ensures that the final product is ready to use when you receive it. Studios also have access to the right people – engineers and directors – who are there to take the stress out of recording for you.
The final outcome will not be about what latest equipment the studio has, but more about the skills of the engineer and how well they understand the sound you’re wanting to create. Learn more about our studios to see how we can help ignite your campaign.