The first thing you should do when receiving a script is ‘Read it Through’ and make sure you understand what the customer is trying to say.
Go Through it with a fine toothcomb and look for unfamiliar words to make sure you get the pronounciation correct. If there are any words you are not sure about, contact the client and check with them to make sure you are word perfect (Never Guess). Spell them fanatically on the script if you need to.
Edit the script as you read through, put pauses where needed to make sure you take your breaths in the right places so the read sounds natural.
Make sure you are reading with the right tone. The client may have something specific in mind so don’t assume, ‘ASK’.
Do they require the voiceover to be:
Over the fence friendly
Enthusiastic and bubbly
Sympathetic and understanding
What tempo is required?
Radio scripts may have a lot to say in a short space of time. If client requires a 28 second voiceover, then time it exactly to 28 seconds. Not a second more or less.
If the client leaves the tone and tempo to you, they draw on your experience.
Where does the recording take place?
At a production companies recording studio
At your home recording studio.
Remotely via an ISDN, IP or Skype hook-up
If you are recording from home and want to be taken seriously by clents, then you will need a professional set up and a reasonable investment.
The room you choose needs to be sound-proofed with acoustic foam to eliminate unwanted noise and ambient sound. (if you clap your hands there should be no echo)
You will need...
A Condenser Microphone with wind shield
Mixing desk (to control the gain from the microphone and supply 48volt phantom power to the mic)
Compression (to even out the recording levels)
A Noise Gate (to eliminate unwanted background sounds)
De-esser (to reduce the S’s caused by your natural voice and the effect of adding compression)
A Graphic Equaliser with full control over the ‘Low’, ‘Mid’ and ‘High’ frequencies
An ISDN Codec for remote hook-ups
A Computer with suitable multi-track recording software.
Spend time getting to know your equipment the best possible recordings.
So you’ve recorded your voice, what happens next.
The studio at the production company will ‘play’ with your voice, they may add effects like, echo or reverb. They may alter the pitch of your voice by deepening or highering the tone (They can make a woman sound like Darth Vader if they like).
They may also add music and perhaps other voiceover artists to the same recording.
They will use ‘Limiting’… this is a way of setting the peak volume within the recording and stopping anything going beyond that point without distorting.
Have you ever noticed on TV that the volume increases during the commercials and then drops again with the programme starts. Well this is all down to ‘Limiting and Compression’ and maybe ‘Ducking’.
If you are recording from home, the same process still applies.
OK, so you’ve made the perfect recording. How are you going to get it to your client?
First consideration is what file format do the need!
MP3, WAV, AIFF or other.
What bit-rate do they require 8, 16, 24 etc
What Hz-rate 32000, 44100, 48000Hz etc.
Do they want the recording in a single or separate files?
What file size is the finished recording? Does it need Zipping? Is it suitable to email or do you need to upload it to an FTP site or use a delivery system like yousendit.com Or is it supplied on CD
However you decide to deliver the voiceover, ALWAYS ring the client and make sure they have received the file. Sometimes files can be lost in spam and the client will still be waiting for the file.
It’s all part of customer satisfaction