Supporting the VO in the studio and remotely
Recording sessions have changed somewhat since the pandemic; they can now take place remotely in addition to being in the studio. Although Covid has changed how we work in many ways and makes long distance collaboration much easier, one thing that remains constant is the support for voice artists.
Technologies are now readily available to enable us to communicate from far away locations, supporting us to develop reliable infrastructures to continue to work remotely in addition to socially distanced attended sessions in the studio. However, working remotely can bring low quality audio which can cause its own difficulties. It’s important to brainstorm ways to work around quality constraints before the session begins.
Preparing the VO for a recording session is one of the most critical and time intensive parts of the process and it’s important to get it right from the outset to ensure a smooth delivery. It’s important to prepare by sharing information about the session and the process at the outset making sure everyone is on the same page and reduce the need to keep stopping.
Creating a relaxed atmosphere in the studio, be it remote or professional, supports the actor to feel at ease. Remember, the actor is pouring their heart and soul into the recording, so need to feel as comfortable as possible. Making sure they have a glass of water, a comfy chair and that they are prepared all helps. No loud noises and no fumbling with gear are imperative when recording. Having everything set up in the studio before people arrive avoids anyone hanging around. If they are a new to voiceover recording they’ll already be feeling nervous.
During the recording process, offer gentle encouragement, be constructive with feedback, make the odd suggestion so they know you’re paying attention, but don’t say anything if you don’t have too. There’s nothing worse than a producer or engineer offering many opinions during what can be such a personal process. There’s also more often than not a voice director or producer directing the session and it’s important to give them time to talk to the artist and ensure they’re getting the performance they need.
As in all crafts, no two voice over artists are the same. There are very good voice over artists who still need extra support when working remotely. When an artist is working from their own home voiceover booth they’re not just a voice over artist, but director, producer and sound technician all rolled into one. The combination of these skills demands experience so it’s important to recognise when help is needed.
Lastly, it’s important to remember everyone can have a bad day for whatever reason. It’s important to get into rapport with the actor before the session begins to establish trust between engineer and actor. This may take a bit of time over a coffee but once that trust is there the session is more likely to go smoothly.