Credit: Gavin Whitner, “Condenser Microphone (Close Up) in Recording Room,” http://musicoomph.com
Like most people out there, I was caught off guard by the sound of my own voice. To me, I wondered how my audience could stand listening me. It took several videos and audio recordings to finally conclude that, you know, I do not sound that bad at all. In fact, I like my voice! I began to appreciate the instrument I have been given. I would not have arrived at that conclusion if I did not listen to the sound of my own voice while developing audio and video recordings for my course. Just like any musical instrument, practice made perfect. I am not claiming my voice is perfect, but just that that practice will improve voice confidence. So while practicing your own voice narration, the tips below may further help to reach that confidence:
- Write a detailed script in a conversational style and practice parts of the script before recording. Scripts help to eliminate “ummm’s” and other fillers that tend to break the flow of the presentation. If recording video as well, write a detailed outline to ensure all topic points are addressed and to ensure a logical sequence of thoughts.
- Keep in mind accessibility options. Provide the audience a digital file of the script or use it to add video captions.
- Do not ad-lib. Stick to the script. Take your time. Do not rush.
- Take your time and stick to the script as much as possible. Do not rush. Speak naturally.
- Sit up straight. Good posture will help you project sound easier and with more confidence.
- Speak clearly. Do not mumble. Avoid “ummm’s” and other fillers.
- Listen to the recording with headphones. Re-record often until it sounds natural and flows smoothly. Over time it will get easier to record narration as more videos are created.
- Keep track of the total length of the recording. If there is a time limit to the presentation, ensure to not go over.
- Chunk information where needed. Over explaining may lead to more audience confusion. Extreme detailed information may be best suited in a document verses a video.
Audio Recording Basics
Good tools and basic strategies can improve the quality of your voice instrument.
- Use a good quality external USB microphone to record voice narration. Often the built-in microphone in a laptop or mobile device does not record good quality audio. The recorded audio is usually low in volume, staticky, and/or captures a lot of background noise.
- Check the microphone settings on your computer. Ensure settings are set to the highest DVD or stereo quality. At times the default options may be set to CD or a low bit rate.
- Choose a quiet area for recording. Avoid any background noise or distractions.
- Drink water before recording. Hydrate to reduce mouth noise.
- Avoid speaking directly on the microphone or use a dampener. Avoid the “puff puff” sound when speaking or the “popping p’s.” Taping tissue over the microphone is an easy and inexpensive way to create a dampener.
- Allow two seconds of silence (when recording) before speaking. Some audio recording devices or software programs may cut the beginning or end of the audio short.
- Record audio into separate pieces instead of one long audio file. Mistakes can be quickly re-recorded without having to repeat the entire lecture again.
My recommended software programs and tools
My preference is to use tools that may already be installed on a computer with a basic build. When those tools are not an option consider the provided Plan B tools or contact your local Instructional Designer for additional recommendations and support.
<td “bb-tools”>For PC- Apowersoft Free Audio RecorderFor MAC – Apowersoft Free Audio Recorder<td “bb-tools”>For PC – CamtasiaFor MAC – QuickTime
|Tool||Plan A Options||Plan B Options|
|Audio Recording Software||For PC- Windows Voice Recorder
For MAC – QuickTime
|Audio Editing Software|| For PC – Audacity
For MAC – Audacity
|Audio Recording Device||For PC – Logitech USB Desktop Microphone
For MAC – Logitech USB Desktop Microphone
|For PC – Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone
For MAC – Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone
Additional Voice Narration Advice
- Got Voice Over Mouth Noise? (August 6, 2013)
- Quick Tip to Reduce Voice Over Narration Mistakes (August 8, 2012)
- The “3 Swing” Voice Over Method (May 21, 2012)
- Drop The Announcer! Becoming the “Real” Voice Talent That You Are (May 17, 2011)
- 13 More Tips to Help You Record Narration Like the Pros (June 9, 2009)
- 10 Ways to Build Your Voice-Over Skills (November 2013)
Experiment with the recommended tools to discover the best fit for you and your computer operating system. Remember, practice will increase voice confidence and over time tricks will be developed to make the recording process more efficient. Above all, do not forget to contact your local Instructional Designer for further assistance.