Can anyone give me some advice for processing voiceover recordings? I'm a bit over my head but isnt that how we make great leaps and bounds. I just recorded a voice over spot that is the narration for a video game trailer. The VOice over will set the pace for the 5 minute animation and all music and sound effects will be created after the initial animation. My question is how would you process the voice to give it that great trailer voice sound. For one, the guy we used had a great voice. Sounds very much like Morgan Freeman only deeper. I used a single AT3035 mic in a medium sized room and tried to kill as much ambience as I could. There is still just a touch of small room sound to it but not much. Any suggestions as far as EQ, compression, and anything I could do to make the small room ambience a little less noticable? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have a two week trial of WAVES plugins I could use. I'm just waiting till I can really use them well. Thanks.
I don't do this for a living, so I'm just thinking aloud... You might scoope the vocals, but keep the 3k-5k range strong. That's where the hard consonants live. You don't want the word "sport" to turn into the word "spore". You can pull down the very low bass to keep it from being flabby, but boost his fundamentals, which might be around 200 Hz. The very high-end depends on his breath and sibilance. Give it air, but not if it highlights problems.
You will probably want to add some reverb as well, but keep the pre-delay down. You want to add body, but you don't want to add reflections that make your talent sound like he's in a bedroom. Stay away from impulses like sewers and steel pipes!
Oh yeah, compression. Rather than compress, you might just automate the faders and manually boost dips and hype peaks. You will be able to keep a consistent level without adding a wash of compression artifacts to the track.
Hopefully somebody with professional experience can expand on this - or tell me that I'm full of it!
Hopefully somebody with professional experience can expand on this
Gee Jon. I hope you posted that before hearing my trax.
A very useful trick is to compress yes but to compress smart. Dial his lows out to an EQ and compress them. Give it a touch of that pump sound. Dial out his highs and make them smooth via another compressor. Pump all to "ride the red - hit that zero" as the say! Of course if this is a soft spoken track, back off the Darthvador button
All VO tracks had been recorded into ProTools. Every syllable was drawn with volume ramps. Every accenting syllable would be drawn to ramp up and leap out some. Most corporate clients wanted all breathing between words removed but something like your project - I would make the breathing a factor of the overall tone.
I think the processing advice is all very good. People here have definitely done this before.
I would add two things...first, that you always use tremendous talent. The difference in what you spend for talent is so miniscule compared to what a really great voiceover talent can deliver. They know what to do.
Second thing: Don't record voiceover at home. Find the best voiceover studio in your community, and record there. The only way you should be recording VO at home is if you have a great, isolated, treated, kick-azz booth.
The reason? Voice is too soft. All the things you really want to do to a voiceover, like these tricks being suggested by Frank, are things which depend greatly upon first, actual silence, and second, the complete lack of room coloration. Subsequent filtering of a voiceover will always increase room tone and coloration. You can never get it out.
The other thing a really great booth/studio does for you is allow you to get the talent off the mic. This is where a really killer mic and really killer room combine to give you voiceover perfection. You need that absolute silence, that perfectly treated room, and that killer mic--so you can back off the mic, still get the intimacy, but not the construction-zone consonants you get when you have to work to close (to overcome room tone or ambience).
Those are my main tips. As far as processing goes, Francis bascially gave you the lowdown. Multiband compression is your friend. But my #1 tip is even more your friend. I have a good friend, Jeremy Schwartz, who does a lot of voiceover for everything you can imagine--Comedy Central and ESPN are two of his big clients. I never have to put any effects or EQ on his voice...he knows how to work his voice and the microphone so perfectly that with no EQ and no effects at all he sounds freaking HUGE. Scary huge, as if you'd spent all day working to make it that way. I have found, in fact, that EQ'ing his voice never makes me happy--it takes away from the sheer balls of it.
So, that is all I've got. To me, success is 99% casting and 1% everything else. With the right talent, all you have to do is have that great room, great mic, and you're home free.
Most corporate clients wanted all breathing between words removed but something like your project - I would make the breathing a factor of the overall tone.
That's so funny. I have run into the same thing. I try to convince people not to do this. I try to envelope it down, so that it's low enough that everybody is happy, but not so low that it sounds like some sort of sans-a-breath alien reading.
I draw envelopes for every bit of a voiceover, too. I think that's the only way to fly. I try to only use a compressor to change the tone. As far as the volume envelope, unless it's just a ridiculous amount of text, I like to control every single syllable.
Frank, have you cut any voiceover in Vegas yet? Brilliant UI for it.