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Producing Professional Sounding Audio in Video Tutorials

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I gave this presentation on voice over techniques at Lavacon.org 2012. These four voice over tips cover pitch, speed, tone, and enunciation -- the main qualities of a good voice over reading, in my opinion. I have some sample audio files and video clips. On these slides, the images link to the clips, which are on other websites.

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  • Terrific presentation with practical tips. Much thanks!
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  • Thanks for sharing this great presentation Tom! I learnt different ways to read and four important things you should know before your begin to record.
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Producing Professional Sounding Audio in Video Tutorials

  1. 1. Producing Professional SoundingAudio in Video TutorialsBy Tom Johnson
  2. 2. The Traditional Model Review and approve the script Voiceover talent records audioWrite a scriptor outline AV specialist Project manager produces it wants changes
  3. 3. Microphone & Suspension Mount Electro-Voice RE-20
  4. 4. Mixer/Preamp
  5. 5. Acoustic Environmentcloth walls • no fan • unschedulable • isolated • lockable • windowless
  6. 6. The Problem
  7. 7. Many Ways to Read a Sentence She stole the money. The door is open.
  8. 8. Voiceover Samples PSTE Note: Each of these files links to the owner’s Bill Bryson, Short History Ryan Trimble, Les Mis website where the files are located.Harlan Hogan, Demo Kurt Hills, real speech Connor, TechSmith Lisa Greenewahl, Demo Natasha, Wicked Prince Chip, Aesop’s Fables
  9. 9. Quality #1: Pitch VariationPitch variation:Vary the pitch ofyour voice from highto low to mid-tonesas you read.
  10. 10. Tip: Read AheadMichael Allen Such a Voice Video Clip. Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_6fpMBcFCc
  11. 11. Pitch Variation PracticeSay the word hippopotamus several times,changing the pitch as you switch betweensome of the syllables.Now read your practice passage (next slide),changing the pitch as you read. Scan aheadseveral words to better anticipate the copy.
  12. 12. Sample Copy to ReadOnce your WordPress site goes live, dont leave your files dormant for monthswithout updating them. Remember that the web is an evolving and dynamicplace. On the web, nothing stays the same for long. WordPress softwareevolves, browsers change, plugins (hopefully youre not using too many) getupdated, and exploits -- sometimes very malicious ones, exploits that wipe outyour entire database – get discovered.All of these changes can affect your site. If you leave your site alone too long,you may find one day, when you log in to write a post, that you cant, becauseyour site has been hacked. You may find that your database is filled with spamand that visitors cant even go to your web address without seeing a viruswarning.When this happens, you will spend a considerable amount of time restoringyour site. You’ll also spend a lot of time looking at log files, trying to figure outhow in the world the hacker got in. Because until you figure it out, the hacks willhappen again and again.
  13. 13. Quality #2: SpeedSpeed: Vary thespeed of your voicefrom fast to slow topaused as you readycopy.
  14. 14. Tip: Find Thought Groups“In conversation, we speak in ‘thought groups.’ Our brains formulatechunks of speech as we think about what we’re trying to say. Researchindicates that vocal tics, e.g. “uh,” “um,” “well,” and other short fillers,are simply that—verbal place holders used to buy time for our minds togenerate subsequent thoughts and then articulate them.“You can use this “thought groups” concept to locate the naturalphrasing and breath points in a piece of copy. It can be especiallyhelpful with long-form scripts that contain long technical explanations,scripts that simply may have been lifted from a technical documentwritten for the eye…not the ear.”— Peter Drew, “Finding the Natural Rhythm in Voiceover Copy”
  15. 15. Tip: Learn to PauseFlickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/dominicotine/7862424222/sizes/c/
  16. 16. Tip: “Learn” to BreatheTechSmith. Youtube. Tips for Voiceovers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6hXoU426Hc
  17. 17. Practice with Speed VariationPractice reading your script (next slide) with avariation in speed. Woodshed your copy toidentify a few clauses you want to read a bitfaster. Put a circle around these clauses. Nowinsert a few slashes to represent possiblepauses.
  18. 18. Sample Copy to ReadOnce your WordPress site goes live, dont leave your files dormant for monthswithout updating them. Remember that the web is an evolving and dynamicplace. On the web, nothing stays the same for long. WordPress softwareevolves, browsers change, plugins (hopefully youre not using too many) getupdated, and exploits -- sometimes very malicious ones, exploits that wipe outyour entire database – get discovered.All of these changes can affect your site. If you leave your site alone too long,you may find one day, when you log in to write a post, that you cant, becauseyour site has been hacked. You may find that your database is filled with spamand that visitors cant even go to your web address without seeing a viruswarning.When this happens, you will spend a considerable amount of time restoringyour site. You’ll also spend a lot of time looking at log files, trying to figure outhow in the world the hacker got in. Because until you figure it out, the hacks willhappen again and again.
  19. 19. Quality #3: ToneTone: Infuse yourvoice with a sense ofwarmth andfriendliness as youread.
  20. 20. Tip: Smile“As Ekman and Friesenresearched the different facialmuscular movements, they beganto realize that just making thefacial gestures affected theiremotional state. For example,making an angry facial expressioncaused their heart rate to startbeating faster and their hands toget hot. When they madeexpressions of sadness oranguish, they started feeling badinside.”— Malcolm Gladwell, Blink Image from Facial Action Coding System: http://face-and-emotion.com/dataface/facs/guide/FACSIV1.html
  21. 21. Tip: SmileDan Levine. Suchavoice.com. http://www.suchavoice.com/Page/Technique_Tips
  22. 22. Tip: Imagine an Audience Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sepblog/3676361977/sizes/m/
  23. 23. Practice with ToneSmile and think happy thoughts for a minute.Now keep your smile on and try to read thesame copy (next slide).<< Back
  24. 24. Sample Copy to ReadOnce your WordPress site goes live, dont leave your files dormant for monthswithout updating them. Remember that the web is an evolving and dynamicplace. On the web, nothing stays the same for long. WordPress softwareevolves, browsers change, plugins (hopefully youre not using too many) getupdated, and exploits -- sometimes very malicious ones, exploits that wipe outyour entire database – get discovered.All of these changes can affect your site. If you leave your site alone too long,you may find one day, when you log in to write a post, that you cant, becauseyour site has been hacked. You may find that your database is filled with spamand that visitors cant even go to your web address without seeing a viruswarning.When this happens, you will spend a considerable amount of time restoringyour site. You’ll also spend a lot of time looking at log files, trying to figure outhow in the world the hacker got in. Because until you figure it out, the hacks willhappen again and again.
  25. 25. Quality #4: EnunciationEnunciation: Openyour mouth widerwhen you readwords, making sureto pronounce thetext crisply andclearly.
  26. 26. Tip: Open Your Mouth
  27. 27. Practice with EnunciationBite on a pen while reading your sample script(next slide) with as much enunciation aspossible. Now remove the pen and read thecopy again.<< Back
  28. 28. Sample Copy to ReadOnce your WordPress site goes live, dont leave your files dormant for monthswithout updating them. Remember that the web is an evolving and dynamicplace. On the web, nothing stays the same for long. WordPress softwareevolves, browsers change, plugins (hopefully youre not using too many) getupdated, and exploits -- sometimes very malicious ones, exploits that wipe outyour entire database – get discovered.All of these changes can affect your site. If you leave your site alone too long,you may find one day, when you log in to write a post, that you cant, becauseyour site has been hacked. You may find that your database is filled with spamand that visitors cant even go to your web address without seeing a viruswarning.When this happens, you will spend a considerable amount of time restoringyour site. You’ll also spend a lot of time looking at log files, trying to figure outhow in the world the hacker got in. Because until you figure it out, the hacks willhappen again and again.
  29. 29. My Recording Process1. Record demo and script simultaneously.2. Separate out audio track and import it into Audacity.3. Note timing on script.4. Re-record the audio script keeping in mind the pauses.5. Line up the original recording with re- recording.
  30. 30. Dub Over the Original Recording
  31. 31. Dual Monitors
  32. 32. Major Voiceover Qualities• Pitch• Speed• Tone• Enunciation
  33. 33. Contact InformationTom JohnsonIdratherbewriting.comtom@idratherbewriting.com@tomjohnson (Twitter)

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