Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Matching Voice Over Revisions

We've all had to go back days, weeks, or months later to make revisions to previous voice over work to accommodate client changes or tweaks. What does it take to make those revisions blend seamlessly with the previous read style and recording quality? Well, technically, it's best to be in the same studio with the same mic at the same settings. For those of us doing it from our home voice over studio, those settings are important, too. Wondering if there are any voice over artists with their own studios out there who actually keep good notes as to these settings on each recording job? That would probably be ideal. However, many of us probably work with the same basic settings most of the time. Then, it becomes a matter of proximity to the mic, levels, and ultimately vocal style. A good ear is definitely a requirement!

I find that I usually try to edit in only the amount of voice over that is absolutely necessary to make the change needed. First, I listen carefully to the previous read as many times as necessary to get the style, tempo, and voice. By voice, I mean whether it's full voice, softer, stronger, higher, lower, etc. The attitude of the voice over delivery is very important and would refer to the style as well. Then, I read a portion of the script that includes the changes several times to recreate the same style, pitch, tempo, etc. When I get one that I feel is closest, I'll edit the change into the original using only as much as I need to blend for sound and style and make a clean edit - after a pause, breath, or at a plosive works best. T's, D's, B's, P's generally edit well providing you're matching all the voice over details mentioned previously. After making the edit, I listen carefully through my headphones and then through the monitors in the room as well, and when I'm satisfied that the match is seamless, it's done.

A note about revisions to files to which you have edited music for your clients. Always, remember to save a dry master of the original voice over. Note the title of the music you used as well or even save a copy of the music in the file folder for this client and project for easy reference. Then, if revisions are necessary, you can edit the new voice over to the original dry read and mix again with the music. Keeping well labeled, easily accessible audio files makes life so much easier. If only I could keep up with my paper filing as meticulously as I try to keep my audio files!

For those of us who work in other studios and via ISDN, the process of matching a previous voice over read is the same but without the worry of the technical side of things. Although we have an engineer who is working on the technical aspects of the actual recording of the voice over match from his end, we still have the responsibility of using our highly trained ear, acting ability, and professionalism in matching our previous voice over read as closely as possible. It's always so gratifying to hear an audio engineer say, "you're matching your previous read perfectly and making my job so much easier!".

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