by Joe Miller
Recording yourself can be a tricky endeavor. This is largely because you’re not only a one-person production team, but you’re also your own subject. Splitting your attention between your content and the recording means you’re more likely to make simple production mistakes that could be avoided. This week I’d like to share some notes on effective voice-over recording.
Voice-over recording is becoming more and more common among both professors and students. It can be a great way to plot and review lessons, and it can make for a great study tool when the voice-over accompanies slide shows and screen captures. More often than not, when you’re recording a voice-over, you will probably be reading from some kind of script – and this can be very good thing! Reading from a script can help keep you focused on only exactly what you need to say. But here’s my big recommendation: be sure to listen back to your recording! I know it can be an excruciating experience listening to your own voice, since you’re probably not used to hearing it. But just like when professors beg their students to reread their papers before turning them in, listening back to your recording in its entirety is almost sure to reveal a distracting mistake or two. And that’s okay! That’s why audio recording tools come with editing options for cutting out any errors.
Another important, but easy to forget, tip to keep in mind is that microphones (even lower-quality laptop mics) pick up more audio than you think. It’s easy to get caught up in the text you’re reading and not think about the TV playing in the other room, or that you left your office door open with people having a conversation in the hall. And maybe even easier to condone are the noises you yourself are making. When reading from a script, it’s a good idea to leave all of your pages flat on the table in front of you so you don’t have to shuffle through them as you’re recording. Trust me, the microphone cannot distinguish your voice from the horrible sound of crackling paper, and there’s nothing you can do to get rid of it if it happens while you’re talking.
Always keep in mind that when you’re making a recording for others to listen to, it’s a good idea to listen to it yourself and find those potentially distracting moments. Just like a good paper, the best recordings are always proofread!