How to Do a Voice Over – Part 2: Recording
Now, all this hard work you’ve put into generating your script will take form. Grab a microphone, follow the tips below and let the production begin:
Step #1: Create your studio
When you think of a studio, the first image that comes to mind must be a fancy professional setup. But the truth is that a studio can be any place where you can have a microphone at, and you can easily record audio for video at home. Keep in mind though that your room will affect your overall audio quality.
A room that is too big, for example, will create some reverb and will sound unprofessional or even make it entirely impossible for listeners to understand you. On the other hand, a too-small room might not create much reverb, but it will produce more echo, which will create some distance between you and those who listen to you.
So, task number one: find a room that is not too big, not too small, at the size of a bedroom. But you shouldn’t stop there.
Your voice has power. It’s literally energy that reacts differently depending on its surroundings. So, you need to mind your room’s surfaces as well. Generally, the harder the surfaces are, the poorer your sound quality is going to turn out. So, make sure your room has soft furnishings, fabrics, and a carpet.
After you’ve found the perfect room for your voice over, you need to test it. Take your phone out, open your voice recording app and record some voice tests to see how you sound. Talk loudly and see whether your voice feels bouncy or clear.
Step #2: Set up your hardware and software
Now that you know where to record your voice over, we need to see how.
Start with your microphone. Take your stand, plug your mic in, and test where you should be standing to achieve the best quality possible. Hit record, start moving back and forth, and talk. Play your sample, try to find the right spot, and when you do, put some tape on the floor to mark it.
Then create another sample in your audio recording software (Audacity, for example) and start playing around with your settings.
Attention: As you’re listening to your test, pay attention to any background noise because it will be quite a challenge to fix later. Or will it? Here’s the best noise reduction plugin to remove noise from your audio recordings.
Step #3: Rehearse and prepare
You’re wondering how to do a voice over, and part of it is, of course, figuring out the technical aspect of the job.
However, you need to be mentally ready as well. To achieve the best results possible, you need to rehearse a lot. Make your script sound as natural as possible, don’t narrate like you’re reading, and color your voice in a way that will engage your listeners.
Practice your breathing, underline parts that you want to add emphasis to, and keep notes right on your script that will help you when you go for the final take.
Step #4: Hit REC
Now that you’ve done your tests and rehearsed, you can start your recording. You need to know, though, that your first take is going to be awful. And it’s completely fine.
As a matter of fact, even professionals who’ve invested a lot of time and energy in voice acting training might need to record the same thing over and over again until they reach perfection.
It’s okay — and part of the process.
Step #5: Listen carefully and re-record
You’ve done it! First of all, congratulations. Completing your first voice over project is magnificent.
Now, it’s time to kick back, relax, and take a break. Detach yourself and stop thinking about your project for a while. After 20 to 30 minutes, listen to your playback and take notes.
Notice your “esses,” your “sh” sounds. Look for any background noise, spot potential problems with your articulation, pronunciation, or natural mouth sounds. Then look for any technical issues. Is the bass too heavy? What about your treble?
Put your headphones or earphones on, listen carefully, and take notes. Then, you’ll need to re-record. You might don’t want to re-record the whole thing and just redo parts that simply don’t work. If you do that, make sure you use the same voice, keep the same distance from your mic, and of course, use the same recording settings.
Step #6: Start editing and sound mixing
And this is where the actual magic happens. This is where you start fixing tiny or not-so-tiny mistakes.
Start with your script’s flow. Are you sure that this is how you want your story to unfold? If not, this is the right time for you to rearrange sections and move tracks around. Of course, keep your ears open for mistakes or awkward pauses that you don’t really need and only make your script sound “off.”
Last but not least, there’s one word you should keep in mind when reviewing and editing your final product: Consistency. You have to make sure that your voice sounds the same no matter what take you’re mixing or editing.
Use a compressor, play around with EQ, and keep the same settings across the whole thing.
You’re now ready to export your audio file.