Monday, April 9, 2012

Pay-to-Play Tip of the Day: Sound Quality!

Hello Everyone,

Since the launch of my new course on dominating the Pay to Play voiceover marketplaces, something that has come to my attention while interacting with my students is how the concept of audio quality can sometimes be misunderstood, and can lead to under-performance in the online voiceover industry.

If you are reading this blog, surely you understand the basics about creating a marketable signal chain, whether on a high budget or a low one. Producing quality auditions that will lead to work, however, is about more than good acoustics. Technique & technology play a large role as well.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. If your recording space isn't absolutely perfect in terms of acoustical quality, consider running a noise gate at around -30db on all of your recordings. This won't help if you have a resonance problem, but for studios with small amounts of ambient noise from computers or other electronics, this little function of your software will likely make a world of difference. Unlike compression, noise gating isn't considered by clients to be unwanted processing. In many cases, just the opposite.

2. It is essential that you make yourself keenly aware of any mouth noise issues that may be occurring with your reads. All of those clicking L's, saliva smacks at the beginning and end of words, percussive P's and sibilant S's must be trained or edited out. A good voice coach can help you learn how to both avoid and catch any of these tendencies, and software can help massage some of the less egregious ones. The best advice, however, is to immediately pick up any line where you think you might have made some mouth noise. Doing so will allow you to quickly delete the bad take, and have a good one already waiting for you. Mouth noise on auditions is not acceptable to P2P voice seekers.

3. Similarly, it is important that you take the time to edit breaths and unnatural spaces out of your audition files. P2P voice seekers are expecting to hear a representation of the finished product. Files with breaths, odd pauses, and other technical weaknesses will cause a quality voice to be mis-perceived as amateurish. It is imperative that your auditions are clean, crisp, and broadcast quality.

Happy Hunting!
J. Michael Collins