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Hello all you lovely little voice over squishes!

Hope this is the right place for this - I've just started a VO YouTube channel. I'm going to be vlogging about my progress and equipment etc and just recording the journey of a total noob! Hopefully I'll be able to get some helpful tips and advice to other newcomers in the process [Image: 1f642.png] If you want to check it out the link is below and PLEASE subscribe! Much love! [Image: 1f642.png]

Check it out here!
Hello again everyone!

To all the students of Voice Acting Space, I advise you to take advantage of university as much as possible!

As a Cyber Security student I've been pestering all the lecturers I can for opportunities. I've recently been booked into the recording studio for free to record for my projects, while my mic is repaired by Audio Technica. I've also been able to voice for a couple of games made by game development students.
University isn't just for getting a degree and drinking copious amounts of beer - Make connections, take advantage of everything!
  • Contact your Performing Arts department asking for feedback on your demos and other performances!
  • Ask to be considered for any projects they might have in the future, even if you're on a completely unrelated course!
  • Contact the students or lecturers in the GamesProgramming and Games Design department and offer your talents as a voice actor! Students will appreciate the free help!
  • Meet with lecturers and charm the pants off of them in order to make yourself memorable and get yourself more opportunities!
Remember to be friendly yet persistent. Show that you're serious and determined, but also build a good rapport with students and staff alike.
Good luck everyone!

I was inspired by Mythical.Lanterns' post to create a quick Android guide to Voice Acting with your phone or mobile device.

My guide is quick and somewhat lazier, with just a few tips to help someone try their hand at VA, or record a quick audition when they're away from their microphone. Big Grin

Voice Recording Apps
So, there are quite a few apps out there that'll do the job, but the app I selected was Voice Recorder by Splend Apps.
The main reason for this is because they allow for exporting different formats, rather than just MP3.
I can export a WAV or a AAC, and in addition to this we can also record at higher sample rates. I realise that it's not going to make much difference when we're using the built-in microphone on my LG G5, but every little helps right?

I used the app to record a quick clip and it used these settings - Sample Rate - 16kHz (Medium, default quality), Format - MP3 128kbps Bitrate. -->

And then I increased the settings to - Sample Rate - 44kHz (Highest, CD Quality), Format - PCM (Wav) High Quality. -->

Now, I can't personally hear much difference in those recordings. I've listened with a decent pair of headphones, and just using my phone's speaker. But if you're strapped for cash and still want to pursue Voice Acting as a hobby you're going to want to be as good as you can be.

In addition to this app, there's also another recorder from Sony, called Audio Recorder -->
Sony are a reliable company compared to the sea of unkown developers on the app stores. I haven't used this app but you can be sure it'll be just as good, if not better. However some users have reported that this app has access to a lot of things it shouldn't. If you're not bothered about privacy, go for it!

Voice Editing
So we've got a couple of files that we've recorded and now we need to smooth them out a bit. Reduce background noise, maybe add a bit of EQ.
WavePad Audio Editor is a good app for the job  -->

Opening WavePad you’ll then need to select +Add and then Import from Folder…
Find where you stored your previous recordings and select one. It’ll now appear in the WavePad menu, so tap that and you’ll be brought to a nice editing screen.

From here you can tinker with all sorts of effects and tools. But the quick and easy one we want is Noise Reduction, for our background noise.
Before we do this you might see some tiny pops or clicks that may have been made by your mouth or by something else in the background.
If they’re before you start speaking, feel free to drag your finger across them and cut them out. You’ve already improved your recording.

Next, highlight a bit of empty space with a little bit of background noise and select Effects at the top. Then scroll along to Cleanup, select it and then select Advanced Cleanup FX.

Select Grab Noise Sample… and select Apply Subtraction from Noise…
This should remove the background noises you’ve sampled. You can even apply it to the whole recording to hopefully remove it from your speech.

This is all I've got time for sadly, however I will add more to it in future.
If anyone else has any other tips or anything to add, please feel free to leave a post!
While this can be done with Android phones, the audio drivers tend to be glitchy or non-existent at best for operating an interface or USB microphone using the device. So I'm sticking to Apple devices for this one as their driver set is up there for audio and the quality from the Apple EarPod's microphone is actually best on Apple devices.

Method 1: Quick, Easy, and On The Go!

This is for people who don't really want to carry around a portable setup everywhere, and maybe see an audition they want to try on their iPhone in the car or something, just don't have a mic with them. It's also ideal for people just starting out who haven't chosen an actual microphone yet, but have an iDevice + Apple Earpods. 

What most people don't know is they have a mic that has pretty good clarity already on them if they have the Apple EarPods.
By exploiting the proximity effect you can get some decent clarity from the earphone microphone. There's a little fuzz, but if you're recording for auditions it shouldn't matter too much. Besides, the noise can be removed later if you really must use this microphone (example, your regular mic breaks down, or you're away from home and need to record something).

What you want to do is pinch the cord from the earphone side of the microphone side of the headset together with the cord on the other side of the microphone (see picture). You'll then hold the microphone about 2-3 inches away from the SIDE of your mouth as to avoid air noise and pops. Attached is a sample of how this sounds in Garageband mobile with no effect or EQ added (although you can always clean up the recordings with these if you wish).

The apple EarPods are around $30 from any store that sells apple gear! You can choose to go with the 3.5mm (which I used for the sample) or the Lightning version if you have an iPhone 7 or prefer to use lightning for recording purposes.


[Image: TGSe8qf.jpg]

Method 2: An Actual Microphone Interface

This is more for if you actually intend to do a lot of recording on your iPad (example if you don't have a capable enough computer or your computer makes way too much noise). You can connect an actual interface to the iPad via the Camera Connection adapter and use an XLR mic (also works with some low powered USB mics although it's very hit and miss). With a compatible interface, you can use any XLR microphone you want, and even choose to start with the iPad and a really good mic choice and purchase a better interface to use with a computer later on.

Confirmed Audio Interfaces/USB Microphones working:
AT2020 USB Model - about $150
Blue Icicle XLR Adapter - about $50

Here's a sample of the Neumann TLM 103 using the Blue Icicle on my iPhone SE in Garageband (no effects):
*Note: Again any XLR microphone could be used in place of the Neumann such as the Blue Spark or AT2020 XLR model

If anyone else has tried recording on mobile or has tested their microphone/interface with iOS, feel free to post below and I'll add the information to this thread. Keep in mind some interfaces require a powered USB hub to operate as the device is not capable of producing the power required for those interfaces to function.
I thought it'd be great to make a super master list of basic resources needed for voice acting, and content production. I'm emphasising free software and music but other tutorials, resources and links are included as well. Feel free to suggest stuff.

Music - Royalty Free music - Free music and loops
Josh Woodward - Free music
CC Mixer - Mix of paid and free music use the search for stuff that fits your budget and project
Freeplay Music -  Read the TOS but music is available free for non commercial projects
Freesountrack music

SFX to download
BXFR - Retro video game sound generator
Sounds Resource - Video game SFX rips
Find Sounds - SFX search Engine
Soundjay - Free SFX
Free Sound Effects Archive 
Tairo Komori's Free SFX
Kyutwo - anime SFX
Pond5 - has some public domain sounds

Articles about SFX
Creating SFX

Software - Audio

Audacity - free open source audio recording and editing ( Mac, PC, Windows)
Reaper ( $60 Non Comercial, $225 Comercial) 
Levellator - Free drag and drop application to level out all your audio
Ocenaudio - Free
Ardour - Free

Software - Video

Virtualdub - Basic Video editing, most useful for batch editing and compressing video
Lightworks ( £15 a month)
Adobe Premiere Elements about £85 unlike the creative cloud this cut down version of Adobe Premiere is a one time purchase, where you then pay for any upgrades. Keep an eye on Amazon who often sell it off bundled with photoshop elements.
Shotcut - Free, Multiplatform and open source.

Software - Writing

Celtx - Free screenwriting and collaboration tool
Scrivener - Around $20 often on sale especially after NanoWrimo. Writing software that allows you to plan out your work, include character bios can output in screenplay format.
Hints on Writing Radio Drama

Podcasts and Youtube

Voice Acting Mastery- Crispin Freeman's podcast
Podcast Stage - Equipment reviews
The Audio drama podcast
How to make your own Pop Filter
DIY Sound Booth in Under an Hour
VO Buzz Weekly

BBC Writer's room ( tips, contents and example scripts)
Writing Excuses - Four authors discuss writing.
Radio Drama Template for MS Word
Radio Drama 101

Free Texts and Scripts

Project Gutenberg -  Royalty free out of copyright books
Phillip K Dick public Domain stories

Pronunciations and accents 

The speech accent archive links to various recordings of different accent by region
Audio Eloquence  links to various pronunciation guides for specific topics 

Free Hosting for media - ( Video) Low traffic but seems like it's much easier to host fan projects there
Soundcloud - Free audio hosting, good discoverability lots of spambots 
Youtube - needs little introduction, obviously the main place for automated copyright strikes as well so keep that in mind if making fanworks
So you've held auditions and you now need to cast. I'll briefly talk about, this though in the end it's up to you. But if you're still stuck here are some pointers:
  • The person fits the character – if you're sensible your audition had example lines that will help you pick out who will portray the character the best. Rarely will they be exact, but this the whole core of casting, this is the thing you want. Here are some things to think about.:
    The person's voice type matches ( e.g high for cute anime schoolgirl).
    The person's accent – in some cases this is important, does their accent fit your character's background.
    - Does the voice actor sound the right age?
    Recording Quality – Is their audition up to standard? Treat the audition as an example of the best quality the person can muster, don't cast them then expected them to buy a £500 micrphone.Do they fit with the other cast members? You're casting a whole production, make sure voices relate and siblings don't have totally different accents ( unless it's part of the plot). Will the voices you cast gel together?Do they seem like they will be fun to work with? If they sound rude or arrogant in their audition e-mail it's probably a bad sign.
When you cast send an email asking cast to confirm, it's also OK to cast people as understudies which they should then confirm.
Managing your project
Plan ahead as much as you can, in your audition post make sure to state when the deadlines will be if cast. Be sure to emphasise this again, when you send out the script. If you're doing something episodic, I recommend sending out scripts by episode with a link to further eps so voice actors can look ahead without you pressuring them.
Sometimes a first take isn't perfect, the actor sends you lines with mistakes or when you hear it aloud the script sounds wrong. Again it's OK to ask for retakes, be polite, give another deadline to get things done. Make to include clear instructions on what to change, and be sure to thank the VA for their time. Don't ask for retakes just because you can, ask because you need them!
Sometimes people don't meet deadlines, for whatever reason. You can help nudge things along by sending a reminder say a week before deadline, and again if they haven't replied on deadline. Most people are good about sending producers emails if their situation changes and they can't meet a deadline, in this case you can think about setting an extension. If a VA contacts you like this it normally means they want the part and they really can't do it in time.
On the downside people sometimes just don't do their lines. This is something I struggle with. But in the end if they don't do the recordings you may have to recast. Be sure to be fair, wait until after the deadline then send them an email reminding them their lines are due, then set a deadline for their response and politely tell them if they don't respond you'll have to recast. Then if the deadline goes by and they haven't replied, you can recast guilt free. If you had an understudy listed, they are your first port of call!
Try to keep track as much of the project as you can. Everyone does it differently. For example recently I've started using google docs to track progress of a podcast pilot I'm working on. All the members of the cast can see and edit it:
[Image: podcast.png]
You can see that it has spaces for all the casts to check in when they've watched the anime due for that cast, as well as space to make notes and schedule recording sessions.
In short keep to your own deadlines as well as imposing them on others. Leave and plenty of time to get stuff done! Don't cast and then expect to have everything done in 24 hours.

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