So now that I’ve written my script, selected voice artists, and had a read-through with the cast,  it’s time to sit and wait.  Most of the shows I produce involve remote artists so this is when I eagerly watch for files to come in.  I usually set up a series of shared drop-box folders for each VA along with some instructions inside as to how I would like the lines delivered.  A typical set of instructions will include the following:

  • File format: Wav, 44.1 khz, mono
  • Start each recording with 20-30 seconds of dead air
  • 2-3 takes per line (whether it be recorded line by line or as a straight read-through)
  • No editing – provide raw file
  • Add generic sounds or phrases at the end (‘yeah’, ‘ok’, ‘sure’, gasps, sighs, laughter, etc.)

I also let them know that they are free to improvise a take as well.  I’ve mentioned this before.  Improvisation can lead to some amazing interpretations.  The reason I ask for the dead air at the beginning is in case I need to perform some noise reduction or cleanup. Since I do not have control over the setting the artists is recording in I rely on their expertise while doing so.  Depending on the environment there may be some ambient noise that accompanies the recording.  This is also why I ask for an unedited ‘raw’ version of the file.  I often have to match EQ and ambience and this makes the job so much easier if I have an unedited, clean version to work with.  The ‘generic sounds’ request is for realism.  Many ‘normal’ conversations have brief responses such as ‘sure’, ‘uh huh’, ‘ok’ or a chuckle.  To me, these are like sprinkling salt and pepper on an already fantastic meal.

While I’m waiting for the lines I’ll do some set-up work for production.  This may include getting a folder structure ready, making notes for foley and sound effects that I will need, actually creating the sound effects and sound design, and planning a release schedule.  I’ll touch more on these in later posts.

And when those lines start hitting the dropbox folder the arduous task of line separation begins.



Other Posts in this series:

Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

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