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Snowfun

Audio: voice over recording

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Hi,

I’ve done a series of work-related videos showing various laboratory procedures. I need to do voice overs to add commentary. Originally I planned to record sound as I filmed but this seems to have been the preferred option (and I agree). 

I’ve tried a Tascam dr05 (built-in mics & a lav I found lying around) but not happy (albeit a lot of that is probably bad technique on my part).

Any ideas for the optimum set up?

I was thinking of a Rode NT1A mic (but I’m not sure why) plus something along the lines of a Zoom F4. Keeping the cost in 3 figures.

I have a P4k so also vaguely wondered whether the Rode (using the phantom xlr adapted to mini) would enable a good sound track?

Or a better mic for the Tascam?

It’s just a series of short sentences (so any background noise is a nuisance because the bits between the voice over segments are totally silent - although I could add in some ambient laboratory sounds I suppose).

Thanks.

 

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If you get a zoom, you can also use it as a usb audio interface to recording into some software. For example, you could record straight into your video timeline, and remove any editing into the clips, just record where you want the VO to be. 

There are cheaper USB interfaces, but I use a Zoom H6, it comes in a nice package with 2 built in, but detachable mics that work well for voice over. Which keeps the price down. It give you quality recording in the field and back at base, while also not having to worry about cables etc. you also have 6 channels if you wanted to use it for say podcasts, or recording a band on location (which I do a lot)

@IronFilm can probably also share some tips and suggestions. 

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1 hour ago, Snowfun said:

Hi,

I’ve done a series of work-related videos showing various laboratory procedures. I need to do voice overs to add commentary. Originally I planned to record sound as I filmed but this seems to have been the preferred option (and I agree). 

I’ve tried a Tascam dr05 (built-in mics & a lav I found lying around) but not happy (albeit a lot of that is probably bad technique on my part).

Any ideas for the optimum set up?

I was thinking of a Rode NT1A mic (but I’m not sure why) plus something along the lines of a Zoom F4. Keeping the cost in 3 figures.

I have a P4k so also vaguely wondered whether the Rode (using the phantom xlr adapted to mini) would enable a good sound track?

Or a better mic for the Tascam?

It’s just a series of short sentences (so any background noise is a nuisance because the bits between the voice over segments are totally silent - although I could add in some ambient laboratory sounds I suppose).

Thanks.

 

If you are going to be doing a lot of this and just want something you can set up and leave then I'd have a look at the Samson G-Track Pro USB condenser microphone.

Nowhere near as flexible as doing it using separate components but its far easier to deploy and actually performs very well.

Not only does it keep within 3 figures price wise it actually only just creeps into 3 figures !

 

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I second the USB condenser mic idea.  I have used a Blue Yeti USB Microphone and it worked great as you could record in an office space with out much concern for how the room was treated. It would sound better in a treated room, but it was fine on a mic stand with front of the mic about 6"-8" away from the talent with the mic in cardioid pattern.  The said I have need tried the Samson and it has more features so after watching the Sweetwater video it seems like an excellent choice as well.

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6 hours ago, Snowfun said:

Any ideas for the optimum set up?

I often record dialog for video games and sometimes voiceovers for film projects. I have a corner of my room lined on a couple sides with thick, wool sleeping bags (really dense and heavy). I record with an AKG CK93 running into a Zoom F4 used as a USB audio interface, usually with Reaper as the software. I monitor with MDR-7506's. It sounds great. It's extremely budget-efficient as all of the components are things that I use on set. Well within 3 figures if you look for used equipment.

- You could switch out the mic for a cheaper cardioid (or omni, if you have to), but stay away from shotguns indoors.

- The Zoom F4 can be swapped for a cheaper H6.

- You can use Audacity to record for free--though I highly recommend Reaper if you do any audio post work at all. It's phenomenal!

- You may want a pop filter. I haven't gotten one yet.

6 hours ago, Snowfun said:

It’s just a series of short sentences (so any background noise is a nuisance because the bits between the voice over segments are totally silent - although I could add in some ambient laboratory sounds I suppose).

I would definitely get ambient sound to fill the silence if there is no other audio playing. You can just get ambient sound from the room where you are doing the VO. It will probably just be faint hiss, but will remove that "jarring" factor of silence. If you go with laboratory sounds, you could record them in stereo. That way the mono VO will stand out against the ambient sounds better.

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Pros who run recording studios experiment heavily with microphone placement in relation to the person's mouth and the sweet spot is normally to one side and with some vertical adjustment too, definitely not on-axis!

They say that the different elements of the persons voice are projected differently and so by moving the mic around your finding the optimum blend of enhancing the pleasant tones and minimising the others. They say that it makes so much difference that if you don't do it then there's no point being picky about microphone choice either.

And if you have the mic off-axis then you may not need a pop filter. I recorded the VO for my 3-hour short film challenge with the iPhone headset and no filter and it was fine.

Also, the closer you get to the persons mouth the less the room ambience will be audible because you're lowering the gain to compensate.

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15 hours ago, Snowfun said:

I’ve tried a Tascam dr05 (built-in mics & a lav I found lying around) but not happy (albeit a lot of that is probably bad technique on my part).

Any ideas for the optimum set up?

 

The little triangle on the screen shows the optimal normal recording level. It can bounce a little over but average at or below. 

Reduce room reverb with hanging curtains, sheets, rugs

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Managed to get a Rode AI-1 kit to play with. After reading the recommendations for a USB mic (which makes a lot of sense) I looked around and liked the look of it especially since I can use the mic with its XLR (plus adapter) on the P4k too if required. Might also get an XLR lav to use with the AI USB. Thanks for comments.

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6 hours ago, IronFilm said:

However you save so little money while losing out on so very very very much!

Not worth it. 

Agreed. The f4 is the only piece of my kit that I use daily so it was worth every penny. But I have seen ridiculously cheap used h6's and if you only rarely use it, or really want something handheld, it might be a good option.

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Wow... been playing with the Rode AI1 (into GarageBand) and it is superb! At least for my modest purposes. Voices sound like voices. Which is a definite advantage for voice-over work.

Easy to use. Solid. 

I’m not suggesting that it is any better than any of the aforementioned alternatives (because I have no way of knowing) but the suggestion of a USB mic got the ball rolling, the AI1 is what I’ve ended up with and by golly I’m happy! 

It looks slightly ridiculous (ie pretentious) but that’s fun too...

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7 minutes ago, BTM_Pix said:

and thanks to Brexit I often feel like I'm in one.

There’s still hope...

We need the French to veto an extension. Then it’s simple: no deal or revoke A50. And surely...

It all rather changes the meaning of the word “may” doesn’t it.

But we digress.

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10 minutes ago, Snowfun said:

There’s still hope...

We need the French to veto an extension. Then it’s simple: no deal or revoke A50. And surely...

It all rather changes the meaning of the word “may” doesn’t it.

But we digress.

Yeah, my acceptance of whatever will happen has reached the point where I'm returning to go on the march on Saturday but I'm more exercised about what camera to take to document it with than fretting over whether a million people marching through the streets of London will influence the outcome whatsoever !

 

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