6 Tips for Choosing a USB Mic

Blue Yeti Pro and YetiOnce upon a time audio engineers dreamed of a digital microphone.  With the advent of the USB mic that dream is now a reality.  This type of mic requires no mixing board or interface box.  You simply plug it into the USB port of your computer and voila!  The mic appears as an audio input device on your computer.

The first mics were primitive–just a mic and a USB cable.  Gain was controlled in the  sound panel of your computer.  And because the digital output had to be processed by the computer, there was a noticeable delay when you monitored the output.

But USB mics have matured and the latest generations have made them a good choice for voice over home studios.  Here are six tips on what to look for in a USB microphone. Continue reading

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Should You Use Brand Names in Your Voice Over Demo?

The “brand name” controvery

brandnames

If you research voice over commercial demo production on the internet, at some point you will be confronted with the “brand name” controversy.

It goes like this:  Should I use real brand names in the copy for my demo?  Why is this a debate?

There are some industry pundits that advise not to use brand names for the following reasons:

 

  • Some argue that copy with actual brand names will violate copy or trademark laws and can get you in legal hot water.
  • Others argue that you will be compared to the voice over talent that performed the original commercial.
  • In a similar vein, some argue that, by using existing commercial copy and brand names, you will be confusing agents or clients who will assume you recorded the actual aired spot. Continue reading
Posted in Auditioning, Commercial Demo, Marketing, Professionalism, Voice Over Demos | 8 Comments

You Can Say “Yes! I have a Phone Patch!”

Improve your jobs and earn more money faster with a “phone patch”

autohybrid_01If you’ve done any jobs from online casting in your home studio you may have experienced the “do it again” syndrome.  This occurs when the client fails to give you precise direction for your original take.  And after you’ve recorded, edited and uploaded your masterpiece s(he) comes back with… “can you do it again with more energy but not so over-the-top… etc.”

Well, the customer is always right.  So you re-record the performance, trying to accurately interpret the new direction.  Usually this works.  But I’ve experienced re-do 3… 4… OMG!

This can really get out of hand if the material is longer or there are many subtle interpretations required by the client.

Don’t despair!  Phone Patch to the rescue! Continue reading

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Simplify and Speed Up Voice Over Jobs Using Pickups

studio-microphone

By using “pickups” you can speed up the editing process

Often, when you record a job at home you will receive a request for “edits” from your client. Maybe you pronounced a name wrong or didn’t have the right “vibe” on a sentence. These edits can be fixed with pick ups.

To refresh, in voice over recording, a “pickup” is a sentence or phrase which didn’t come out correctly the first time, so it is re-recorded, hopefully with better results.

So, rather than redoing an entire job, you can often satisfy the client by re-performing only the sentences that need fixing.  Here are some hints that can make pickups quick and easy and improve your voice over efficiency. Continue reading

Posted in Acting Skills, Auditioning, Home Recording, Professionalism | 1 Comment

Room Echo? How You Should Position Your VO Home Studio

Record from home and make big $ !

Reverberation diagram

Eliminate that dreaded room echo!

OK, you’ve decided to be the next Don Lafontaine or Nancy Cartwright.  And you’re convinced that, just like selling Amway, you can do it all at home from your kitchen table. Well, not exactly.  One of the biggest problems with home recording is “room echo”.  I preach this constantly.

Room echo is the natural reverberation or echo that occurs in a room when you talk.  The sound moves from your talented mouth to the microphone. But not all of it. Continue reading

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Do You Need a Voice Over Website? Here Are 9 Hints to Help You

Hints for your Voice Over Demo

A voice over website will allow anyone in the world to play or download your demo

You’re voice over demo may be available many places on the web.  Your agent may post your demo on their site.  You may be on voicebank.net.  If you participate in online casting your demo is on that site as well.

So do you need your own website as a voice over talent?  Yes!

Why? To control your V O destiny! Here’s the problem.  Suppose someone wants to hire you for a voice over job and they want to hear your demo.  So you send them to your agent, voicebank.net or, even worse, voices.com or voice123.com.  You’ve inviting them to look over the competition.  Oops! Continue reading

Posted in Marketing, Professionalism | 7 Comments

Voice Over Recording-Pickups Can Speed The Process

girl-on-mic“Do you come here often?… What’s your sign?”

No! Not THAT kind of pickup! In voice over recording, a “pickup” is a sentence or phrase which didn’t come out correctly the first time, so it is repeated, hopefully with better results.

For example, you may have a line that goes “this is the last time”. You perform the line and then decide that you want to emphasize “last time” more. So you repeat the line immediately: “this is the LAST TIME!”  Ahhh! Much better!

By using pickups this way you are actually editing “on the fly”. There are several uses for pickups and they can save you much time and frustration.  Let’s look at the pickup possibilities. Continue reading

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Voice Over Editing… Watch Your Ps and Qs

alphabet

Watch out for “unvoiced” consonants when you are editing breaths.

Well actually, watch your Fs and Ss and Ts as well.  What do I mean? First, let’s talk about consonants. When you were in school they taught you about vowels: A E I O and U (and sometimes Y and W).

The other letters were consonants.  B  C D F G etc.  This was certainly correct, but what you weren’t told is that many of these letters have two sounds.

We have what are called “voiced” consonants and “unvoiced” consonants.   Continue reading

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Fun Improv Class Enhances Your Voice Over Spontaneity

The essence of a great voice actor is the ability to speak the written word as if it was spontaneous. This may seem challenging, but with the fun and exhilarating exercises of Improvisation, not only will you become a better voice actor, but you’ll have fun and meet exciting people like yourself.

Voice acting is a mix of both the critical script analyzing left brain and the fun spontaneous, intuitive and artistic right brain. The techniques learned in fundamentals classes such as analyzing script and knowing what keywords to put emphasis on, are necessary skills in voice over acting. However, you need that artistic, method acting approach of being in the moment to really make the script come alive-And this is where Improvisation plays a key role. Continue reading

Posted in Acting Skills | 1 Comment

Different Ways to Deliver LARGE Voice Over Audio files

Audio Waveform

Wav files longer than a minute should be delivered using

Well, it happened again. I got a small job for a video narration about a hotel. No big deal. Two and half pages. A few words that were tricky to pronounce but overall an easy job. Then I got the email from the client. “Please email me the finished files in WAV format.”

These clients are out there, and you are going to run into them sooner or later. The ones that are familiar with the digital terms but don’t really know what they signify. I’ve always said, you don’t have to be Bill Gates to do this stuff but you DO need to know a bit more than the client. The bottom line: anything longer than about a minute in WAV format is going to be too large to email. Usually WAY to large.  So what is Plan B? Continue reading

Posted in Home Recording, Marketing, Professionalism | 3 Comments