Eliminating noise, coaching your guests, and educating yourself on how to properly record a voiceover or Podcast are just as important as the equipment you use.
If you haven't read Part One of this series, be sure to check it out HERE.
To get the best sounding audio, you need to set you and your guests up for success. You can have the best and most expensive equipment in the world, but it won't be of any use unless you know how to use proper recording techniques.
This means eliminating distractions and background noise, mastering your equipment and coaching your client before and during the interview.
Eliminating Distractions & Background Noise
Background noise and distractions are the most common way to lower the quality of a voiceover.
Background noise carries throughout the audio and can make it really obvious that you've inserted a voiceover clip into music or are blending two different pieces of audio together, such as separate guests in a podcast. To make your edits sound flawless, this noise needs to be as minimal as possible.
This means close windows and doors, take the pets out of the room, turn off the Air Conditioner and be sure to turn off any fans or loud appliances nearby. Make sure your client isn't wearing jewelry that dangles and can cause noise when they move around. You would truly be surprised at the noise a microphone can pick up while recording.
Distractions are another big issue with voiceover audio. It can be really difficult to take out the scratching of paws on a hardwood floor, cell phones ringing or vibrating on the table mid-sentence, or someone shuffling around in the background. A lot of the time these situations go unnoticed until you're done recording and are actually editing the audio.
Limiting these distractions and interruptions are key to getting good quality audio.
Mastering Your Equipment for Recording
Once you have your equipment set up and ready to go, make sure you actually know how to use it beforehand. It may sound like something obvious to say, but you'd be surprised at how many procrastinators there are out there (and you may be one of them!) Things to look out for are microphone placement, audio levels and using the proper recording settings.
Make sure the microphone is facing the right way and have it placed about 3 inches from the person speaking. If it's too close the audio will distort, and if it is too far away the microphone will pick up extra background noise.
As for audio levels, you want to make sure that you are recording between -10 and -20 db. I prefer to set my levels at -16 to -13. I find that the audio comes through nice aNd clear, and I don't usually have to normalize it or worry about clipping and distortion. Personally, I like to record my audio directly into Adobe Audition, so that I can keep a really close watch on my levels during the entire recording.
Lastly, make sure that you are recording with the right settings on your device. If you're using a handheld recorder, make sure that you are recording a WAV file and at a sample rate of 44.1 kHz.
Coaching Your Guest
Now that you've got the right equipment, the right settings, and you've eliminated all of the background distractions and noises, it's time to get recording. Remind your guest of a couple of things before you record, and if they need a reminder during recording, you can always stop and do that as well. It can be edited out after all!
First, make sure your guest is hydrated. Offer them a drink and allow them to sip on it during the interview. A hydrated mouth is less likely to make "mouth noises" such as clicks, loud swallowing and tongue noises. A microphone picks these noises up very easily and they are very time consuming to edit out. Plus they just sound plain gross.
Second, remind them to keep fairly still. Remind them not to talk with their hands since they could possibly bump the microphone or hit the table while recording. The same thing goes with tapping feet or fidgeting while sitting. The microphone picks up more than you would think.
Lastly, remind your guest to SMILE when they talk! A voice sounds warmer and more full of life when spoken with a smile. If they forget, simply smiling at them during the recording can remind them. Smiles are contagious after all!
These few small things will completely change the sound and feel of your voiceover or podcast, guaranteed. Not only that, but they will also save you a lot of time and energy if you are editing yourself, or a lot of money in the long run if you outsource your editing.
With the right equipment and taking these few extra steps, you will be sure to sound like a true professional and get the best sounding vocals from your guests. Now let's make some captivating voiceovers and podcasts!
If you haven't already read Part One of this series about recording equipment, you can do that HERE.