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Audio Production Techniques – Part II December 5, 2006

Posted by Ben Craigo in Lessons Learned.
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My first post on techniques for getting the most out of whatever audio production you do for e-Learning dealt with directing, talent selection and taking the monologue to a different level.   Here I focus on more specific tips to get the most out of your voice-over talent, studio time and streamline audio integration into your courses.

These are the first 5 tips (out of 10-or-so) .  The next 5 will come in the third part of this series.

Tip #1 – Choose good talent. 

Whether they are actors or the guy from two cubes over, having someone who can read well while not sounding like they’re reading makes for a faster session.  You may have to look harder, or pay more, or both, but it will reduce your time to produce the content by leaps and bounds.  It’s the difference in nailing the read in one take and chewing your nails to your cuticles with every line your talent reads (and re-reads and re-reads).  The right talent will reduce studio and editing time and therefore reduce cost.

Tip #2 – Read your script out-loud. 

This is good practice for anything you write.  The act of speaking what you write out-load will quickly point out any bad grammar, awkward sentences and/or mixed messages.  When producers, actors, editors are reading your material in the studio they will want to stick to the letter of your script.  If they come up with something that sounds funny in the studio, everything will go quiet, people will mumble the same line over a few times to make sure it’s not them and then look to you and say ‘Is there supposed to be two “the’s” in this sentence?’  You could have a crew from 2 to 10+ screeching to a halt each time.  Once or twice is not so bad.  If it happens a lot it can frustrate the production team, downgrade your stock and make for very difficult working conditions. 

Tip #3 – Do not split sentences between pages. 

If you are relying on scripts to be read, make sure they are formatted so that the end of a sentence or thought happens before the end of the page.   If your talent has to move their eyes from one page to another there will very likely be a noticeable pause and a hiccup in rhythm when you play it back.  It can also cause retakes because it can break the reader’s concentration.

Tip #4 – Have a good editor. 

Now this could be a professional editor in a sound studio or just someone else who has a good ear.  These folks will pickup on awkward reads or misstated words that you will miss.  It’s natural in sessions to miss these things the longer the session is because you will loose focus from time to time.  Also, because you are so close to the content your mind might here what it expects to hear instead of what was said.

Tip #5 – Make sure your script is 100% complete. 

You don’t want to go into a studio with “most of it” or skipping a review process just so you can get the course complete.  It’s easy to think that you can always go back into the studio later and add a line or redo some existing reads.  When coming back to the studio, even though you have the same talent, it’s going to be difficult to match the tempo, volume, inflections, etc.  It could be very noticeable when you place it side-by-side with the original recordings.

Stay tuned for the next 5.

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Comments»

1. Freddie - December 19, 2006

Great post. Thank you for sharing

Freddie Molina
http://voice123.com


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