Recent Audio Book - First Life - Discovering The Connection Between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Audiobooks - The Reading Is Just The Beginning

If you're a voice actor considering voicing audiobooks, and have never recorded one before, this is a post for you.

I recently began recording audiobooks.  When I was selected for a recent job, I was thrilled.  Audiobooks have long been an area of voice-overs that I've wanted to break into, and this particular book was an incredible opportunity.

Since this is a blog about my voice-over journey, I thought it might be helpful to take you through the process to give you an idea of just what goes into the recording of an audio book - and I came to find out that it's about a lot more than talking!

After the initial excitement of being selected, I knew that I had to assemble a small team to help complete this project.  Seasoned voice-over pros will often do all the recording and editing themselves.  I have a basic knowledge of editing and can handle smaller jobs, but I knew a project of this size would require the help of an audio engineer.

I'm fortunate to have some good friends in the voice over industry.  One in particular is a great audio engineer, who has himself just entered the world of voice acting.  He agreed to come on board as my Editor, and we were off and running!

This will take more than one post, so I'll start with an overview:  We had to record a total of 300 pages, plus a prologue and and epilogue - so we were up against a big project!  We created a project plan, laying out the chapters and establishing when to do the recording sessions and how much time we estimated each chapter would take.  We had to leave ourselves enough time to complete all the editing and mastering that would need to be done after the initial recording.

So the first thing I did was print off a copy of the manuscript for myself and my editor.  I put the transcript in a binder, and it became my constant companion for quite a while.  I like to read through the entire book to get a feel for the style of writing and the sense that the author is trying to convey.  This particular book is scientifically based, so it has some dry parts with a lot of lists - but it's also a compelling account of some serious stuff, so my reading had to convey that (no funny character voices on this one).

Our first hurdle was making sure all noise was eliminated from the studio.  We recorded what we thought was a good first 15 minute sample for the Publisher to review.  She liked it, but pointed out a low grade hum in the background.  We realized after listening again that the hard drive was creating the hum, so with some ingenuity and long cables, we were able to get the hard drive out of the recording area, and the hum was gone.

So, tip #1 is: Make sure your recording studio is completely quiet.  Many of us don't have soundproof rooms to record in, so you have to listen intently and be a super sleuth to find the sound source and eliminate it.  My recording studio is in a room in the basement of our home, so when I record, I literally have to shut the house down - turn off the dehumidifier, turn off the hot water heater, turn off the phones, and kindly ask our 4 children to go upstairs and be quiet - oh yeah, and no dishwasher or washer/dryer either - we're talking total shutdown!

With the studio perfectly quiet, we were ready to begin recording - but more on that in my next post.

Keep Talking!


1 comment:

  1. "...we're talking total shutdown!"<---Amazing! Achieving-world-Peace, sounds like it would be more easily done. ,-)

    "To be astonished
    is one of the surest ways
    of not growing old too quickly."

    ~Gabrielle Colette