One of the most important components of a video is the audio. It's essential that you have a good quality voiceover, sound effects, and music for your production. In this article, I will be talking about how to record high-quality voiceover as well as some tips on recording other audio aspects of your video productions. From educational videos, advertisements, to product videos, a unique voiceover can create a certain mood or impression that enhances the overall video experience.
For the best quality it is best to use an XLR microphone connected to an audio interface, this will give the lowest noise input and a more accurate voice. However, if you do not have an interface and an XLR microphone at your disposal, don't worry! You can still produce a high-quality voiceover using a lavalier microphone, or a simple USB microphone.
I will not go in-depth with specific microphone models, but rather focus on the overall recording process. So, let's get started!
STEP 1: Preparation
Before even beginning the recording, there are a few things you'll need to do. The first thing you will need is a quiet room. This means turning off anything that makes noise, such as fans or the TV, turn off notifications on your phone. Be sure to also turn down your computer volume as well as any other speakers you may have. Also, don't forget to pay attention to acoustics. It would be best to have a large, absorbent object behind your microphone. This means using pillows, blankets, moving the desk, and stay further from the corners of the room.
Step 2: Setup Your Gear
Once the room is quiet, you'll want to set up your microphone. For example, if you are using a lavalier microphone attach it to the collar of your shirt or on your lapel. Plug it into either your computer, audio interface, or smartphone, and make sure that everything is secure so it doesn't fall off. Also, if you chose to go with a lavalier mic, you should be taken into consideration what you are wearing. For the best results, your clothes should not make any noises when you move.
If you use a USB microphone, simply plug it into the USB port of your computer. Many USB mics come with an adjustable tripod stand and have an indicator that lets you know if the microphone is connected properly. They are also can have a headphone connection, which makes them perfect for this type of recording.
The third option is to use an XLR microphone connected to your audio interface or mixer. Despite the different connections, there is no difference between USB and XLR mics set up, both are condenser mics, but here are some important things you should know about both of them.
Firstly, I highly recommend using a shock mount. This is a special mount that absorbs the noises that could come from the table. Also, you should place these mics not too far and not too close to your mouth. If you will place the microphone too far away, you will get more of the room sound and background noise. However, if you get too close, the sound will be distorted. The sweet spot is about 6 inches (15cm) away from your mouth. Finally, keep in mind that even the angle of your mic can influence the sound you will get as a final result, so try to speak directly in front of the microphone.
STEP 3: Set Your Recording Levels
Once your microphone is set up, you will need to adjust the recording levels. I recommend setting the recording level so that it peaks around -6dB when speaking loud or close to the microphone. Try not to record at more than -6dB because you risk getting distorted audio if the phrase is too loud.
STEP 4: Record Your Voice
Next, open up your recording software of choice and record some test takes while saying short phrases or words with varying tones until you find what sounds best for your project. Once you have your test takes recorded, play them back and listen to the levels of each clip. If some are quieter or louder than others, you can simply go through and apply a limiter, so they will be at a more similar level. Then you can check if you're happy with the results and prepare for the final recording.
Once you have your test takes down, record yourself with your script. Most DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) will automatically create a new track for every audio file that is recorded. This means that once you begin to speak into the microphone, the levels will start to rise. This is where that visual indicator in your DAW comes to play; if it's red that means the sound wave has already reached its maximum size (which you should avoid) and will distort. It can be difficult to find out how much headroom you need for each takes, but over time you will get the hang of it.
STEP 5: Apply Audio Effects
After your recording your audio, it's time to add your audio effects. The most common effects used for voice-overs are compression, EQ, and limiter. To apply these effects, simply add them to your track and adjust the settings accordingly.
First off, compression is a useful tool when there is too much dynamic range in one sentence, like loud sounds and quiet sounds. In this case, you might want to set the compression so that every word has a similar level, so it's easier to hear what the person is saying, on different kinds of speakers.
Next up, EQ allows you to boost or cut certain frequencies in your voice. For this example, let's say you wanted your voice to sound more powerful and commanding for a sports advertisement. You would set the EQ to emphasize some frequencies.
Finally, a limiter is used when there are sudden changes in volume on your track. For example, you might have a sentence that gets progressively louder. A limiter can be used to keep the volume consistent through your recording.
THAT'S IT! Once you are done recording, all that's left to do is export your audio in lossless WAV, AIFF or if you like to save space - 320kbps MP3, or 256kbps AAC format. That's all for now folks! Until next time, keep on learning and growing! If you have any other questions or suggestions, feel free to write us in the comments section below.