Recording Voiceover

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Recording Voiceover
The Spoken Word in Media
By Tom Blakemore

246 Pages

The only book on the market to specifically address its audience, Recording Voiceover is the comprehensive guide for engineers looking to understand the aspects of capturing the spoken word.

Discussing all phases of the recording session, Recording Voiceover addresses everything from microphone recommendations for voice recording to pre-production considerations, including setting up the studio, working with and directing the voice talent, and strategies for reducing or eliminating distracting noise elements found in human speech.

Recording Voiceover features in-depth, specific recommendations for recording radio and television commercials, corporate communications, documentaries, tracks for gaming and animation, radio drama, interviews and roundtable discussions. A discussion of the voice in film and television is also included.

Special attention is paid to the final release format and its impact on recording strategies. Exploration of using telephone interfaces – including both analogue and digital ISDN, as well as recording across the internet – is included.

Table of Contents


        A Life in Sound

        A Bit About This Book

        The Making of a Superior Voiceover Recording

        A Short Case Study

    The Voice in Media

        Information Theory

        The Beginning of Digital Audio

        Historical Precedents



        The Disembodied Voice

        Recording Foreign Languages

    Room Acoustics

        A Word on Project Studio Acoustics

        Studio Design and Acoustics


        Fundamentals of the Human Voice

        Microphone Design Types

        Polar Response

        Frequency Response

        Microphone Experiments

        Dynamic Microphones

        Condenser Microphones

        Digital Microphones

        USB Microphones

    The Engineer

        The Engineer at Work

        Collaboration – Communication – Responsibility


        Building a Sense of Trust


        The Team

    The Studio

        A Few Simple Truths


        The Script Easel

        Seated or Standing?


        Video Monitoring

        Keep it Organized

        Additional Considerations

    The Session

        Documentation and Notes

        The Co-producer Role

        Working With the Voice Talent

        Some Tips and Tricks

        Documentation (Part II)

        Studio Weirdness

    Your Personal Recording Space

        The Basics

        The Space

        Modifying an Existing Space

        Custom Designing a Studio

        Prefabricated Voice Booths



        Delivery – The Remote Session

        Additional Costs

        The Matter of Trust

    Recording for Commercials

        The Dictatorship of the Clock

        How Long is Too Long?

        The Commercial Session

        Insert Lines and Redos

        Editing and Intercutting

        After the Session

        One Final Word

    Recording Long-Form Narration

        The Long-Form Session


        Recording to Picture

        Further Thoughts on Long-Form Narration

    Recording for Games and Animation

        Game Voice Recording

        Recording for Animation

        Watch Your Levels!

        An Experiment in Voice Recording

    Recording Interviews and Roundtable Discussions


        Video Interviews

        Boom and Shotgun Mic Techniques

        Recording Roundtable Discussions

        Live Mixing of Roundtable Discussions

    More Voiceover Opportunities

        Voice Response

        Public Announcements

        Web Content

        Voice Talent Demos

        Audio Books

        The Wacky World of Toys

        Audio Tours

        Something Completely Different

        In Conclusion

    That’s a Wrap

        Building the Sense of Trust

        Your Insurance Policy

        A Passion for Voice


Tom Blakemore has been an active audio engineer for over thirty years, working in film, television, commercial, and corporate communications as a supervising sound editor and mixer. His film work includes Emmy Award winning documentaries, Academy Award nominees, Directors Guild of America Best Documentary winners, and Audience Award winners at the Toronto, Chicago and Amsterdam Film Festivals. Tom lives in Chicago, where he is an adjunct professor at Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy teaching film sound, and is a member of the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) and the Audio Engineering Society (AES).

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