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How did you get into voice acting?
 
Quite by accident actually, I'd been doing a lot of acting since I was young, but voice acting? I'd never really thought about that, or put it together. I was a big fan of a lot of shows as a kid, but it never occurred to me that there were people doing the voices of those characters. 
 
Then about thirteen years ago I was working on a video production in Houston, and one of the guys on the production said "Hey, you got a lot of acting experience right? There's this place in town that buys all these Japanese cartoons and they dub them into English and they need actors." 
 
So I thought that sounded like fun, and went and auditioned and got cast, ADV films was the name of the company. At the time it was just a tiny little group of people like us ( he gestures to the interviewers present), and the first show I did was Vega in Street Fight 2. I didn't know what they did with the shows once we'd recorded them, how they were sold, how they were distributed, how they were made; I would just go in record characters and leave.
 
Then it grew from there, after having done 15 or so shows with ADV I got invited to an anime convention, I never even knew they did those. I used to go to pop culture conventions like these ( MCM Expo), and dress up in my best Captain Kirk uniform or Obi-Wan or something. So I went to this anime con and was blown away. There were all these people dressing up as characters I'd played, or had toys, or action figures or wall scrolls. I was just blown away, I didn't even know this stuff existed.
 
Then I met people from FUNimation at a convention, and started working At FUNimation doing more and more snows, then I met people from Los Angeles and started working in Los Angeles. It just snowballed, I was just overwhelmed by how it took off. I never planned it, I always make sure to give credit to God. I didn't plan for it, I didn't study for it. A door just opened and I just hazardously stumbled through. It was a really good door.
 
You've started to dub a lot of songs for anime running on TV, a few years ago it seemed most changed the songs completely. What changed?
 
There isn't really a set time that they started dubbing songs, a lot of times the Japanese companies that owned the original music won't grant the licence to dub the songs, because they want to sell CDs of the original bands. Like Full Metal Alchemist, they wouldn't let us dub any of the songs. They wanted to promote all the bands that sung all those songs, they were all very popular bands over there (in Japan), so they didn't allow FUNimation to dub all the songs.
 
Then you come to One Piece or Dragon Ball Kai, then they got permission. I have a very extensive background in music; I've been singing, writing and producing music twice as long as I've been voice acting. I got the chance after ten years of not being involved in the music of anime at all, I just did voice acting. It was kinda weird, I did so much music, but they never asked me to do anything music related until I was asked to sing some One Piece songs, and there was the GT song, and the Kai theme. Since then I've done songs from DNAngel and Ouran High School.
 
It's just up to the Japanese companies what they allow to be dubbed.
 
What role are you most proud of playing?
 
Without question I would have to say is Edward Elric. I had no idea I'd be so impacted by that show and by that character. I remember when I was young, there was an actor named Yul Brynner, and he played the King in 'The King and I', he did all kinds of stuff but he was most known for playing the King in the King and I. He did that show for almost every night for thirty years on Broadway, thousands of performances. I realised that out of all of the characters I'd played, that as much as I loved Full Metal and that character, I'd played it longer than any other character I'd played. When you consider the original series, the OVAs, the movie, video games and Brotherhood ( which was longer than the original series), then the movie from Brotherhood and OVAs from Brotherhood, and then suddenly I'd played this wonderful character in this amazing show for something like 140 episodes.
 
There are a lot of roles I'm proud of; Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club, Zero from Vampire Knights, and there's a show airing at the moment in the States called Kekkaishi, and I play Yoshimori the lead in that show, there's also Fai from Tsubasa, Ikkaku from Bleach; there are so many great shows, but it's so hard to top Full Metal.
 
Are there other voice actors that have inspired you?
 
No not really, but there are other voice actors that I have a great amount of respect for, and in many cases I've been doing it longer than they have, but they're really good at what they do. Laura Bailey is amazing, Lucy Christian is fantastic, Troy Baker ...they're just stupidly talented people. Laura actually plays opposite me in Kekkaishi, and of course she was Lust in FMA. So not so much as inspired, as much as admire and respect them. 
 
...a lot of people suggest Mel Blanc
 
I think they say that because everyone knows him as the Warner Brother's voice actor, he's amazing but when I was a little kid watching all those shows I never thought of being a voice actor. It never occurred to me to be a voice actor, so it never occurred to me. I remember being young, something like 13 or 14 and me and my friend loving Speed Racer. Now I didn't know it was anime, I didn't even know what anime was. I just knew it didn't look like Scooby-Doo, it didn't look like all of the other Western Cartoons. It looked different, the voices were different, the delivery was different, they way they were performed were different. So me and my friend ran around all the time imitating Speed Racer, so who could have known that fast forwarding thirty years that I'd be in the middle of anime, which Speed Racer was!
 
Have there been any roles you've auditioned for and not gotten?
 
There are always those yeah. But worse than that was the roles that I was cast in, then the company went down and they lost the licences and it went to another company. I don't know if you remember Sergeant Frog? I love Sergeant Frog, I got cast as Sergeant Frog, (Keroro) we did fifteen episodes; we were well into doing that show, and I loved it so much. Then ADV went under and all the licences went to other companies, and FUNimation got it and started over with it casting actors that lived locally. Suddenly it was gone. Same thing with Gurren Lagann, I was playing a great role and ADV went under and it went to a company in Los Angeles, but I wasn't living in LA at the time. I wanted to be involved in Death Note, but that went to a production company in Canada and you won't find any American voice actors in their productions, because that's part of the deal you have to use their people. 
 
There are plenty of those, if you do anything long enough they'll be roles you really wanted to do or were gunning for and that's part of the business, there's rejection. You've heard that before. For every role you get there's ten or fifteen you audition for and didn't get. There was a particular role in Hetalia, and there was a role I was really gunning for. It came down to me and one other guy, but that other guy's voice was a bit higher than mine was and that was why he got the role, and that'll happen a lot.
 
But I will say I'm extremely grateful, and humbled for the opportunities I have gotten. I've played a lot of great roles, and I wouldn't change it for anything.
 
Otaku News and Voiceacting.co.uk would like to thank the following...
Vic Mignogna for agreeing to be interviewed and taking his time out of a busy event schedule.
We'd also like to thank everyone at London MCM Expo for arranging the interview.
 
This article was a joint effort between Otaku News and Voicecting.co.uk.
Last August thanks to the convention committee we got to spend lunch with voice actor Brad Swaile. It's taken me a bit of time to get the interview written up as Brad made a lot of interesting points and I didn't want to miss anything.
How did you get into acting?
 
I got into voice acting by accident, I got into acting mostly because of my sister. I have a sister named Tracy and she's a year older than me, so we're really tight. She got bit by the acting bug and I saw what she was doing and I was very impressed and I got jealous. So I followed her footsteps.
 
I started off doing theatre, and I then I got involved with a company called the Vancouver Youth Theatre. So that was theatre that was geared toward a cast of kids, so they would put together a troupe of kids and we'd playbuild a show and then tour it around. At some point me and my sister got on the same touring production and there was an acting agency right across the street from the theatre that would watch the kids that would come to the theatre and so thy approached me and my sister and asked if we would like to join their agency. They said they'd start sending us out on auditions for movies, TV shows and things like that, so we said yes please. So that got me into on camera acting, so then I started doing commercials and movies and local TV shows. Through that I had my first audition for a cartoon which was My Little Pony Tales and I got it, and I fell in love with voice acting right there. It was a good fit for me, I felt very comfortable with it and loved every aspect of it. That led me to some other voice projects, and then a few years later I had my first audition for an anime series which was a show called Ranma ½, and I got it, and that was the first time I'd really seen anime since watching Akira, back in the day.
So that got me back into anime a little bit, and it's kind of gone from there. When I ended up in college I realised the on camera work I didn't enjoy as much, and I loved being on set but I didn't like the whole audition process. I found it very challenging, where as with the voice side of things I didn't mind the auditioning and I love the people and I love the work. I also get to enjoy a huge perk in the form of conventions like these [ Amecon]. Which when I first got into voice acting I didn't know these kind of things existed.
That brings us up to date I suppose.
 
The fandom seems to have changed over the years, when did you start to get involved with conventions?
 
I didn't get invited to a convention until Gundam Wing, I think that was what did it. Because of Ranma I got my first fan mail, I got a call from the agency saying ' we've got a package here for you, it's fan mail.' I was so confused, so I went down to the agency to pick it up, and I'd have people sending me these amazing drawings , and letters talking about how much they enjoy the show and if they liked specific characters and it really blew my mind.
So then Gundam Wing came out and I got invited to a bunch of conventions, an anime convention will have one of two effects on actor. This is just from my point of view, it will either open up a new world that someone like me can embrace, as an art guy who has several interests including music art acting, all that kind of stuff , a convention like this is really inspiring to me. For some actors going to a convention can freak them out, and I can understand that for sure. I've been freaked out a couple of times myself .
 
 
What's the strangest line you've ever had to perform?
 
This is a two part answer, the strangest one I didn't find so strange at the time we recorded it. The animation around it made it a little interesting, but then coming to a convention after the show was released really bumped it on the list of interesting lines and it's quite simply;I take a potato chip and eat it. So now when I go to conventions people force feed me potato chip and ask me to read a line. At the time I didn't think too much of it, but it's become a pretty funny thing.
 
Another line was in a series called 'Black Lagoon' , where the characters that I play are sweet unassuming hero types who tend to say the right thing, then Black Lagoon comes along and there's some filthy language that show. So I'd read the scripts for the episodes and I'd start to get jealous, as many of the cast got to deliver these really outrageous lines and then finally because of black lagoon I got to deliver my first F-bomb. So that was great fun, I must have recorded that line a thousand times, for me it was therapy.
 
Do you find a lot of voice actors pull funny faces when they record?
Absolutely you have to, if you're not enveloping your character in some small way it's a much harder thing to do. But there's also limitations within that, a good example from that is X-men for example Scott [McNeil] if he's in battle as Wolverine watching him perform you believe he'sin battle. But you have to confine your movement so you don't go off mic or get clothing in the way. So it's a delicate balance between getting the performance you want to portray butalso making sure your technical techniques are in check.
 
 
Do you enjoy performing attack yells etc?
 
Depends on the show, in Dragon Ball Z it's all screaming you scream over three commercial breaks. That was hard but fun.
Pre-lay animation [ recording for new animation rather than dubbing over a foreign show - Azure] when you record fights you have to separate it out, but that can be a lot of fun playing off the other actors so they can overlay it after.
Now for anime series how I like to work is watch a series of sequences, you can record one sound at a time but I like to record the whole sequence for flow. You can get the peaks and values otherwise it can sound a bit static. That's something I really enjoy, convincing the director to let me do the whole sequence, watching it then making mental tabs of what's going on in the battle and then just running it. Then sometimes you'd do a great run, sometimes if something is a bit off I can do in and do that little bit again but sometimes I'll run it again.
 
How many times have you been to the UK?
The first time was MCM Expo, and when Amecon first invited me I jumped for joy to get the chance. When they contacted me again I was really surprised and honoured. I really didn't expect to get another invitation, I think I said yes before I'd read the e-mail!
When I got here I decided to have an adventure because of the Olympics and I hopped on a train to Coventry and attended the women's football bronze medal match. When Canada my country was playing France, and we won and that was cool. The last Olympics was in back yard in Vancouver, and I got to see the Summer Olympics here!
 
Do you have any tips for anyone who wants to go into voice acting as a career?
 
My tip is explore all aspects of acting. Sometimes I get that question phrased as how do I get into anime voice acting, don't limit your opportunities by picking something so specific. Most voice actors I know that have been doing voice acting for anime, it was just something they got into and had a knack for it that they could peruse. The majority of voice actors do other forms of acting as well in theatre, on camera. The most important part of the phrase voice actor, is actor. Sometimes, you'll have people that so reasonable interpretations of characters from the Simpsons. Well, that show's already been cast and been running a very long time. If you can do a decent Krusty, well there's someone that can do it better and he's been doing it for sixteen odd years.
So that's the only sound advice, I can give explore acting the voices come secondary.
As far as how to get into voice acting, it's different for every person and depends on where you live. If you don't live somewhere where they do voice recording it'll be tougher to get into paid voice acting.
That gets me into another topic, with the way technology is going allowing people to display their entertainment projects there's more of a demand for voice acting. So working on someone's web series is a great way to get practice and get yourself out there. It may not pay anything but it's work, most people who love voice acting love the work. Anime doesn't pay that well, contrary to some people's belief, it's the work that drives you.
There's lot of opportunity out there you just just have to be diligent and pursue it then find out what works for you. One thing being in Vancouver in terms of professional voice acting, because I also do video games and radio commercials, Tv spots,and things like that. With me in Vancouver having an agency if a new project comes to town usually they'll contact the agencies in the area and I'll get an audition for that show. One great tool is use research skills, figure out what's going on in the industry in your area. Many agencies have voice departments and they didn't when I started out. So there's ways to contact those people and ask them, you don't have to be part of an agency to get work it's your decision. As much as an agency interviews you to get on their roster, you have to decide if it's right for you.
It's a privilege to work in this industry, but it has to be on your own terms. It's a really brutal business. The entertainment industry is very ruthless no one steps around your ego, you have to have a thick skin. This is all in my opinion, it's why I don't like working on camera jumping through all those hoops, it was no fun .
 
Everyone has their own story how they got in. It's not like other careers where you take certain qualifications and there's an entry point to get in Even within other industries there's divergence as to where you end up...
 
Thanks to Brad and Amecon for giving up their lunch to help us. This interview is a joint project between Voiceacting.co.uk and Otakunews.com
I've been going through my old voiceacting.co.uk backups and will be reposting old content for archive purposes:

Voice Actress Cristina Vee kindly took time out to answer a few questions. Cristina's roles have included Aika Sumeragi in AIKa R-16: Virgin Mission and Melissa in Tweeny Witches.
1. Can you tell us about yourself?
Sure! My name is Cristina Valenzuela. I'm an obsessive compulsive (no joke!) college student living in Long Beach, where I attend CSULB as a theater major. I'm 21 years old. I LOVE playing video games (especially DDR), reading, watching anime and I'm a big time Joss Whedon fangirl.

2. What made you start voice acting?
I'm not really sure when I started, actually... when I was younger, I used to memorize the scripts to my favorite Disney movies verbatim, mute the TV, and perform the entire movie all by myself. When I was in middle school, me and my best friend discovered the subtitled VHS of the Sailor Moon movies. We used to lock ourselves in her room for hours on end making our own dubs of the films. We used a tape recorder and some cups and plastic bags for sound effects. Those were seriously some of the funnest days of my life! Eventually I discovered that there was an entire community online where people posted auditions and created fandubs. That was a whole new world for me. I can honestly say that I wouldn't have achieved what I have today if it weren't for the FLAVA and VAA boards. They've provided invaluable experience!

3. How did you make the transition from amateur to professional?
I was invited to audition at Bang Zoom after I did a voice acting workshop at Anime Expo. I was 16 at the time, and it took me about 4 years to land a major character.
4. What inspires you?
Anime, acting, and music are very important parts of my life. I have found my identity within them and with the people who also share this love. When I sing, I sing to someone who has impacted me in some way. When I act, I draw on the experiences I've had with my friends and family. They are the people who inspire me to keep going.

8. Have you ever felt like giving up?
Wow, yes. When you pursue a career in acting, it can be so difficult to learn how to be rejected on a regular basis. There is so much talent out there and these days work is scarce. It also doesn't help that OCD already makes everyday living sometimes very difficult. But I just can't give up this dream. No matter how hard I may fall on my face, I'll never stop singing and acting. It's an essential part of me.
9. Can you tell us what you are up to now?
I'm going to a bunch of cons this year as a guest, and I even get to perform live at a couple! I've done a few video games that are coming out in a couple months, one of which I am so excited about (but can't talk about yet). I'm also in a show (live theater) called "Chavez Ravine" where I will act, sing, and play the drum set. It's going to be directed by Edgar Landa of Culture Clash, which is amazing! But yeah, right now my main focus is to graduate from college so that I can move to Burbank and really start auditioning for more projects.
10. What are your aims for the future?
I'm going to fully devote my life to acting and singing. If that doesn't work out, I won't have any regrets. I have amazing people in my life and I'm going to be happy no matter which path is chosen for me.
I've been saving some tutorials from the old site, here's one on Fruity Loops.


Reggid’s Music Production Guide How to Make Music Using FL Studio

I’ve been using FL studio ever since 2005 and it changed my life in
my music productions and they were ever since a lot better. When I
first started making music, I mainly used loops. I used ACID 3.0 when I
first started making music. I still use it today but mainly for
recording and for rendering. Nothing was original for me then, but
however I then also used MTV Music Generator. I used all three games
for making music. The third game mainly was loops, but however it
started getting original when I used the first 2 games (Music 2000
elsewhere). That was back then until a friend sent me FL. It had
changed my music for ever and my music quality got a lot better than it
did.

Now I’m gonna give you guys a guide on how to make music in FL and maybe you will become a great producer like me.
First, we are going to go over some basics. We first are going to make a beat.
Here we are at the screen where the screen, now see the arrow
pointing to those grey and red boxes? Those are for the beats.
Basically click it and it will have a kick

Part I - Making a Beat
[Image: fl1-1.jpg]
Here we are at the screen where the screen, now see the arrow
pointing to those grey and red boxes? Those are for the beats.
Basically click it and it will have a kick

[Image: fl2.jpg]
See that was simple. Here is how it sounds.
http://www.orbitfiles.com/download/id2730293673.html
Now let’s fill three more boxes.
[Image: fl3.jpg]
There, now we have four kicks. Here’s how it sounds
http://www.orbitfiles.com/download/id2730294207.html
Now we have a full kick beat. Now let’s paste the beat in the playlist.
See where the red arrow is pointing in this picture? That’s the playlist.
[Image: fl4.jpg]
Now let’s paste in the beginning.
[Image: fl5-1.jpg]
Here we go, now we got a box in. If you want to make sure it’s in
place, change the “Snap” option to “Bar”. Here is how in these pictures
below.

[Image: fl6.jpg] [Image: fl7.jpg]
Ok, now let’s paste more of that kick in the playlist.
[Image: fl8-1.jpg]
Ok, now here is how it would sound:
http://www.orbitfiles.com/download/id2730345908.html
Now that we got that covered, how about we add more to it than just
that kick. It would help make the beat interesting. I also would advise
you to that you use a new pattern for a new beat sound just so you
wouldn’t have to be making version where its just a clap and hat.
Making them separate helps! Ok let’s go on to adding more. Now let’s
click on the next pattern.

[Image: fl9.jpg]
Ok, here we are. So, how about we add a clap? Now for a clap, we need to fill those two red boxes.
[Image: fl10.jpg]
There we go, now let’s add four more blocks of kicks and let’s put in four boxes of claps.
[Image: fl11.jpg]
Here we go, now we have more of the song. Here is how it would sound like.
http://www.orbitfiles.com/download/id2730394523.html
Now let’s add a hat. Let’s go to pattern 3.
[Image: fl12.jpg]
To do an off beat hat, click on the third box in the hi-hat section.
[Image: fl13.jpg]
There we go. Now let’s add three more.
[Image: fl14.jpg]
Here is how it would sound
Alone:
http://www.orbitfiles.com/download/id2730624479.html

with the kick and clap
http://www.orbitfiles.com/download/id2730623721.html

Ok now let’s add four more boxes of kicks and claps and now add hats into the playlist.
[Image: fl15.jpg]
Ok, now here is how the arrangement would sound like so far.
http://www.orbitfiles.com/download/id2730622407.html
Now, before we go further I would like to go over one thing and that would be changing the sounds.
[Image: fl16.jpg]
Let’s change the kick sound. Right click on “Kick” As the arrow in the picture above points.
[Image: fl17.jpg]
Here in this picture above, it will bring up a menu. Now let’s click on load sample.
[Image: fl18.jpg]
It will bring up the browser where you can find files. Now, we need
to have a great quality kick, you don’t want to keep using FL kicks or
it will sound “fruity” after a while and generic. So samples “outside”
of FL would help greatly with projects. Now let’s choose the sample
“CoolBD_09.wav” shall we?

[Image: fl19.jpg]
See, now it has a new kick. Here’s how it would sound:
http://www.orbitfiles.com/download/id2730680694.html
It’s self explanatory for the clap and hi-hat.
[Image: fl20.jpg]
I selected a great sound for each channel. Here are links for these two sounds:
Clap:
http://www.orbitfiles.com/download/id2730697101.html

Hi-Hat
http://www.orbitfiles.com/download/id2730698917.html

Now here’s how the arrangement will sound with these new sounds.
http://www.orbitfiles.com/download/id2730700182.html

Well that sounded better than the fruity style. That covers the beat part. Now lets move on to adding percussion.
How to post an audition ( and what to look for if you're auditioning)


I've made snarky gifs about this before, but I wanted to talk a bit more in depth about auditions. We have some fairly strict rules on here and I wanted to go a little into why, and also what makes a good audition post.


Why can't I just post “ I need voice actors?” ?


The fact you're on a voice acting forum, in the auditions section kind of hints at this already. What we want to know is what you're looking for and what you need from the actor.


Project Description


A lot of us voice act for different reasons, for a hobby or to build a voice over career. So we're often looking for different things. A project description will let people know what the project actually is, and if it's the kind of production the actor wants to be in. We also have different amounts of free time, when I see a post I want to know how much work it will be. Actors also have different ranges and suit different project moods so again this is a great place to convey your aims.


Is this project commercial or fan?


There's now a vibrant industry especially with indie game developers of non union freelance online voice acting work, so there are a lot more paid projects than there used to be. There is also a wide ranging fan project community made possibly by the expansion of youtube, twitter and tumblr.


Voice acting is a co-operative hobby actors will often need content creators to lead projects, and content creators need voice actors. This can lead to an awesome mutual creation process where no one makes any money and instead they work together to create fan projects.


There are also creators who want to make a profit, and will happily take advantage. If you're making a project, intend to make money and don't want to pay your actors; you probably can't afford voice actors. At the very minimum you should disclose if your project is commercial and if there's pay involved. If you're making a commercial project and are paying your actors, you are awesome and I hope your project makes you a bagillion pounds.


Regardless of how you proceed, disclose this! Honestly is the best policy.


Character Descriptions & Screenshots


Artwork conveys a great deal, and in cases where there are firm tropes can easily let the voice actor get a feel for the character. If the project is for example based on original artwork such as an animation or a heavily modded machinima it helps the actor get a feel for your project. Including screenshots or artwork also shows your project is ready for voicing.


Describing the voice, accent and type you also want is important. There is no such thing as no accent, make sure you aren't showing bias for your particular region and remember this forum is worldwide.




Audition Lines
We require audition lines here, if you don't have lines ready your project isn't ready for voicing it's as simple as that. As an actor it's also an excellent indication of your writing ability. Quality projects attract quality talent.

If you're recruiting for a project that has a following or potential plot twists you don't want made public, then it's fine to make some lines up. Audition lines gauge an actor's ability and fit for the project. I'd say between two and four is an ideal amount, though you could have more or less depending on the role. Ideally the lines should test the extremes of the role and the quality of the actor's recording ( make sure the actor can yell, cry sound happy if needed).


Include some direction and context in the post.


Sometimes for shorts I'll post a chunk of script, since the actor may not have many more lines than the audition. I urge caution as sometimes this encourages people to just record it all!


Deadline


As an admin this is something I get the most pushback about. How many projects have you been involved in that died? It's sometimes unavoidable but deadlines and proper management help. People also have work, school, family or housemates to work around. Giving a deadline allows people to schedule time to send you a proper performance. Unless you're looking for a one line character I really advise casting after the deadline, sit down and really listen to everything submitted.


Do it right the first time, especially if you're not paying casting an actor then recasting because you change your mind is pretty awful. The fan /indie side of voice over only works with mutual respect.


Tech requirements


If you're a game modder, and looking for voice actors for example you may need files in certain formats. Whilst most people can easily change format I'd specify that format in the audition. Make any special requirements known ahead of time. You may also want to ask for a demo reel link or resume/VA Space profile. Sometimes actors make a choice when auditioning that doesn't quite fit, only for you to listen to their reel and realise they can easily make the changes you need.




If you're an actor reading this, I recommend you use this post as a guide. If a producer can't be bothered to write a proper audition post, then they'll be less likely to finish their project or if they do it'll probably have less care given to it.



So you want to be a voice actor? This is a basic intro on how to get into voice acting online. The tutorial covers equipment, software, auditions and demo reels.

More info at http://www.voiceacting.space
E-mail me at : aralechan@gmail.com
Personal blog: http://www.gameswriting.coffee

My home audio Set up:

Mic: Blue Yeti
Mic Stand: Racksoy Professional Adjustable Microphone
Shock Mount: Auphonix Shock Mount For Blue Yeti Microphone ( paid £20 Amazon is now listing it as £30)
Pop protection: Mudder Large Foam Mic Windscreen for MXL, and Maplin Large pop Screen
Software: Audacity, Adobe Premiere Elements

Links:

http://www.voiceacting.space/thread-7... Cleaning files in Audacity

https://soundcloud.com/azuresama/voic... - MY 2017 demo reel

Twitter:
@azuresama

Special Thanks ( Video):

KOR fandub
Shadow VA
Skygirl


Music:

Music Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Voice Recording for Beginners
by Robert, http://www.dunyazad-library.net
January 2017

I hope some of it can be of some use to some of you.

1. Disclaimer
2. Introduction
3. The Recording Room
4. The Recording Equipment
4.1. Microphone
4.2. Recording Device
4.3 Summary and Prices
5. How to Record
5.1 Volume
5.2 File Format
6. Basic Editing


1. Disclaimer

This guide is meant for beginners. I am not a professional, I give advice to the best of my knowledge, but please bear in mind that you may get better advice, or advice that suits you better, from people who have deeper knowledge and more experience than I do.

This is about the recording of spoken words. Singing, or music, are different matters, and much of what is said here doesn't apply there.


2. Introduction

You need a recording room, recording equipment (a microphone, a recording device, recording software if it isn't built into the device, and basic knowledge of how to use them), and, optionally, a computer with sound editing software (optionally, because maybe you'll have someone else editing your recordings).


3. The Recording Room

It is important that the room in which you record meets two criteria: that it is free of ambient noise, and that it has as little echo as possible. You can somewhat mitigate the shortcomings of the recording room by having your mouth very close to the microphone, but this requires suitable equipment and the knowledge how to use it. But even then, a good recording environment is essential for getting good results.

"Noise" includes faint sounds that you may hardly notice because you are used to them -- the ticking of a clock, the central heating, the ceiling fan, the computer fan, or, as a friend of mine once found out, the air pump of the fish tank. And, of course, external noises, traffic, children, dogs ... I know it is difficult to have silence, but you need to have it. And don't forget to turn the fish tank air pump and other life-saving equipment on again, if you had to turn them off for your recording session!

Echo isn't necessarily bad if you're a professional recording engineer and know what you're doing, but for our purposes the rule is simple: the less echo you have, the better. The problem with echo is that your microphone picks it up, even if your ears aren't aware of it.

This is not the place to discuss the finer points of room acoustics, but the important thing for us is, sound-absorbing surfaces reduce echo. Anything that's soft: carpets, curtains, rugs on the floor or on the wall, upholstered furniture, blankets, pillows, clothes, laundry on a laundry rack, but also, for instance, books. I get good results in my bedroom, but only if I open the doors of the armoire. Your location in the room, and the direction in which you speak, may also make a difference -- it's better to face a major sound-absorbing object, for instance a heavy curtain, than to face a blank wall and have the curtain at your back.


4. The Recording Equipment

4.1. Microphone

You need a proper microphone -- the one that's built into your cell phone, tablet or laptop computer will not do!

Microphones come with a number of different connectors -- the most common ones are 3.5mm, XLR (for professional use), and USB. They come in different technologies, like dynamic, condenser or electret microphones. Dynamic microphones do not need power, others may need to be powered by the recording device, or they may pack their own batteries. They come with different directionalities, like spherical or cardioid, they come in all sizes and shapes, they come for a variety of intended uses, and their price range is as wide as that of their quality.

If you don't have a good reason to choose differently -- and there's a number of good reasons you may have -- I suggest that you get an inexpensive lavalier microphone. These are the small microphones that get clipped to your clothes; when they are powered by their own batteries and equipped with a 3.5mm connector you can use them with a wide range of recording devices. Their other advantages: they cost little (don't go for the cheapest ones), they take up little space, they don't need a microphone stand or any other support apart from what you're wearing on your body, they'll be out of the way of the air flow from your mouth and thus not be susceptible to those nasty "pop" sounds.

They have disadvantages, too: their quality will not satisfy highest demands, their cheap electronic circuits produce white background noise (which can be removed from the recording, though), and, not being that close to your mouth, they pick up ambient sound and echo. Still, they are a small investment, and the results you'll get will meet most requirements.

You'll have to work out where to wear your lavalier microphone -- the usual place is on your chest, clipping it to the button placket of your shirt or blouse, or to your tie if you're wearing one for the occasion. A caveat: avoid having the cable rub against your clothes when you move -- this may create noises that can ruin your recording, but with a little practice you'll find out how to avoid it. Another caveat: don't forget to switch off the microphone after recording, and, while the batteries will last quite a while if you do this, have replacement batteries ready.

Of course, if you have the money to spend and the expertise to spend it wisely, there's nothing better than a good "real" microphone with a pop screen and a microphone stand in front of you. Pay attention to connectivity, though!

4.2. Recording Device

A very good choice, both in terms of quality and usability, is a hand-held audio recorder, for instance by Roland, Tascam or Zoom. They aren’t expensive, and they will serve your recording needs for a long time (I have mine for more than 8 years now, far longer than any computer or cell phone). Despite their built-in pair of stereo microphones, you will still want an external one. Most microphones that require low-voltage external power can be powered by most audio recorders, provided that they can be plugged in. (Note: do not confuse a proper hand-held audio recorder with a voice recorder for office use!) USB microphones will not work.

"Not expensive" is of course relative, so you may prefer to use a recording device that you already have -- like a cell phone, or a tablet computer. How well they do the job depends upon the quality of their audio processing hardware (the analog-to-digital converter), of which, unfortunately, you will hardly be able to get any technical specifications. (I am not an Apple fan, but they have a tradition of caring about audio quality.) Your phone or tablet computer will have come with its own recording app, but you'll probably need one that gives you a better control over the recording process, even if it costs a little money.

Another option is a laptop computer, if it comes without a fan -- unfortunately, few of them do, and then your recording will be troubled by the noise. Their advantage over a phone or tablet is that you can also connect USB microphones, and that you can do all the sound editing you need right on your recording device. Audacity, for instance, is free software with which you can do both the recording and the editing.

Whether phone, tablet or laptop computer, forget their built-in microphones.

A desktop computer can also do the job, but it has some disadvantages. The noise from its fan, unless it is one of the rare really silent ones, will be difficult to deal with. Then, you cannot easily take it to the room that is best suited for recording (see above). And finally, unlike the manufacturers of hi-fi components, computer manufacturers do not put much effort into shielding the audio circuitry from the electronic noise coming in through, or being produced by, the AC power supply -- you can circumvent this problem, though, by using a USB microphone, which has its own built-in analog-to-digital converter.

4.3 Summary and Prices

Studio quality you will only get in a recording studio, but a decent quality that will suffice for many purposes dan be had for relatively little money. Microphone and recording device have to match, which unfortunately is not trivial.

Currently (April 2017) you can get a “broadcast-grade” Rode Smartlav+ lavalier microphone for about £50, but it only works with devices that can supply the power it needs, for instance iPhones -- it may or may not work with your next phone, or with other devices. Without going for the cheapest, a battery-powered (and thus widely compatible) Audio-Technica ATR-3350 ATR lavalier microphone costs about £25 (I’ve used both and found the Rode to be better, but the Audio-Technica isn't that bad, either). Proper audio recorders can provide power to the microphone, though only the low voltage which, for instance, a lavalier mic needs (you may have to enable the power). A Roland R-05 audio recorder costs about £150, recorders by Zoom and Tascam can be had for less than £100. Note that there are microphones that need a different kind of power supply, with much higher voltage.

Very good USB microphones can be had for less than £150 (for instance Blue Yeti, or Rode NT), but (if not included) you'll also need a microphone stand, a shock mount, and a pop filter. If you use that, for instance, with an MS Surface 3 (fan-less, about £650 including keyboard and pen), you have a perfect little portable recording studio.

And there also is a large choice of dynamic microphones with XLR connectors, from really cheap to quite expensive, which may need a power supply or a sound mixer to work, and there are dynamic microphones which do not but also mostly come with XLR. There are XLR to 3.5mm adapters, which may or may not work with a particular microphone/recorder combination. Just do a little research before you buy, and I'm sure you'll find something that suits you, for an acceptable price.


5. How to Record

Depending on the device and software that you use there can be different settings to make, but these two are essential: volume and file saving format.

5.1 Volume

For volume, you can use the easy way out and, if this option is provided, choose "automatic gain control." This way, you cannot do much wrong, but you're not doing it perfectly right, either -- your recording loses expression and emotional depth that comes from speaking some words louder or softer. Still, if you find it difficult to keep the volume of your voice steady and in the appropriate loudness range, or if technical correctness is more important than artistic expression, automatic gain control can be useful, and you can disregard the following paragraphs.

In the world of sound recording, volume is usually measured in negative numbers -- in decibel (dB) below maximum (dB measures relative distance on a logarithmic scale; alternatively, 0 dB can also be shown as 100%). In analog days, this was the level that a signal should not exceed, to avoid distortions -- in our digital age, it is the level that the signal cannot exceed. Which is not good news, though. What happens, when the volume exceeds this limit, is called "clipping" -- the peaks of the sound wave, when they hit the ceiling, are cut off, distorting the sound beyond repair. Too low a volume is the far lesser evil, but also has a negative effect on sound quality.

I recommend this way to set the proper recording volume: speak a text with your normal recording voice. Adjust the volume so that the peaks get close to, but do not exceed, -9dB (or 35%). Now emphasize some important or dramatic words, and make sure that the peaks still stay below -3dB (or 70%) -- if they don't, lower the recording volume until they do. (You should never raise or lower your voice too much, or the changes in volume will make listening to the recording difficult.) Remember the volume setting, you can use it in the future as long as you use the same microphone in the same position, and you will not have to keep the volume indicator under constant observation. It's still a good idea to speak a few words and check the volume indicator before each recording, and to check the recorded files afterwards. (Also keep in mind, that, for instance if you record using a computer, there can be up to three volume controls involved: on your microphone, in the recording app, and on the operating system level.)

Feel free to arrive a this result by any other way, but ideally volume peaks should be in the range between -9dB and -3db, and never, ever, exceed or even reach 0dB or 100%.

(In case you are interested: The relationship between dB and % is a bit complicated. Bels are values on a logarithmic scale with base 10; a decibel is one tenth of a Bel, so, -10dB should equal 0.1, that is 10%. But, decibels measure sound volume, which corresponds to signal power, which grows with the square of its amplitude, to which the percentage scale refers. Therefore, -10dB in volume means sqrt(0.1) in amplitude, which is 0.316, or 32%, on a linear scale.)

5.2 File Format

The important thing to bear in mind is that each time you save audio in a "lossy" compressed file format, such as mp3 (which is by far the one most commonly used), you lose some quality -- how much depends upon the "quality" (or bitrate) settings.

The final product of your work will, in most cases, be a compressed mp3 file, but this comes at the very end of the postproduction process, that is, after all the recording, sound editing and mixing have been done. On the way there, you can safely use lossy file compression once, if you choose the highest quality setting (with mp3, this is 320 kbit/s) -- more often than once, and you risk the quality loss to be audible.

This means: If your recording isn't too long and the resulting file size not too big, save it either in an uncompressed format (like WAV) or a lossless compressed format (like FLAC). If you have to economize with file size, you can use mp3 with 320 kbit/s, but then you have to take care to avoid another lossy compression through the entire postproduction process, until the (probable) creation of the final mp3 file.

If you send your recordings to someone else for editing/mixing, and want to have a small file to send, either record in mp3 with 320 kbit/s and send the original file, or record in a lossless format, do some preliminary editing, and then save as mp3 with 320 kbit/s to send that file. If you do the editing yourself, and use Audacity, the best idea is to record in WAV or FLAC (mp3 if otherwise the files get too large for your recording device) and stay with Audacity's own format throughout the editing process.


6. Basic Editing

Your recordings need to be edited. If someone else does it, then you can stop reading.

If you want or need to edit your recordings yourself, you need a computer, a decent pair of headphones (you cannot properly do it with speakers), and sound editing software. Whatever platform your computer runs on, Audacity is an obvious choice, as it is free, open source, powerful, and reasonably simply to use. You may have your reason to choose a different sound editor -- the following discussion of basic editing steps is written with Audacity in mind, but the principles stay the same whichever tool you use. You will not find any detailed instructions here, just a general idea of what needs to be done.

Always keep the original file. During the editing process, and when it is completed, always save your work in a lossless format.

a. Convert stereo to mono, if your recording happens to be stereo.

b. Reduce background noise.
You can easily reduce or nearly eliminate a constant background noise, such as white noise generated by less-than-perfect electronic circuitry, or a hum that somehow sneaked in from the AC mains, with the help of the sound editor's noise reduction feature.

c. Delete all that's not supposed to be in the recording.
You have to distinguish between cutting out a sound, or silencing it. Cutting out is trivial, silencing not so. There are three ways to silencing. The first one is to mute that section -- but, when you listen to your recording closely, you will find that "silence" isn't totally silent. With muting, you create total silence that can stand out from the "natural" silence of the recording. Better use the second method -- copy a stretch of silence from somewhere else in your recording, and paste it over the part you want to silence. The third method, which I use for instance with the sounds of breathing between words, is not to delete them but only to reduce their volume, by something between -6 and -18dB -- leaving the breathing (barely) audible makes the listener feel the reader's presence, and, in the right place, an audible intake of air may add a desired dramatic effect. Those very short little clicking sounds that come out of your mouth can safely simply be cut out, when they are only a few milliseconds long, without having a noticeable effect on the rhythm of your speech.

d. Pay attention to pauses.
Pauses are important. Some pauses between words or sentences may seem too short, others may seem too long -- listen, and trust your ears. Shortening a pause is trivial, making it longer is best done with copying a part of it and pasting it in next to from where you've copied it (see above). With short pauses that you want to insert between words, you can use the editor's "Create silence" function.

e. Repair flaws.
You won't be able to do wonders, but there can be some little flaws that can be fixed. For instance, in an otherwise flawless recording, the voice artist had said "hand" instead of "hands" -- I copied the "s" sound from "winds" two lines above, pasted it, and all was well. What flaws you can fix depends upon your editor's features and on your skills, but always bear in mind that you can easily make things worse instead of better, so always save your work before you try something, and critically review the result.

f. Normalize volume.
A simple step, you only have to select the target volume (you can use 0, though I prefer -1dB). Or not so simple, if one or a few parts of the recording stand out in volume -- then, normalizing will give those peaks the maximum volume, but for the larger parts of the recording the volume will be too low. To avoid this you have to look for those loud parts -- words given too much emphasis by a raised voice. Carefully reduce their volume, maybe by 2 or 3dB, before you "normalize" the volume of the entire recording.

g. Add or trim leading and trailing silence.
This is entirely up to you, but I use 0.3 seconds of leading and 2 seconds of trailing silence. Total silence, as created by the "Create silence" function, is appropriate here.

h. Export to mp3.
Save your work in a lossless format (with Audacity, the obvious choice is its native one), and only then export to mp3. You have to decide on a compromise between file size and sound quality, with the available settings depending on your software. If given the option, a good idea is to select "variable bit rate" (VBR), with the quality setting of "2" on a scale from 9 to 0, with 0 being the best.

That's it, critical comments welcome!
I've done this a few times before but I'd like to host a community interview project. The idea is to interview people involved in the voice acting community, you can be pro or amateur it doesn't make a difference as long as you have a body of work to be interviewed about. You can be an actor, writer, director, sound engineer it doesn't matter as long as you deal in some way with voice over we want to hear from you.

In addition if you'd like to interview other people let me know here too.  Just DM me here or email aralechan@gmail.com with some basic info about yourself.
  • Do I have to be professional? - No, as long as you have made or been in something (S)
  • Do I have to be a voice actor/actress? - Nope, you could be a casting director, game designer sound engineer etc.
  • What does it involve? I'll send you  a short series of questions by email or DM, you respond then I'll post them here for the site users to see.
  • What's this about? I want to hear from the community! I want you to be able to talk about your work, and I'd love for a few people to join me in holding interviews. Let's try and collect as much knowledge as we can!


Completed Interviews 
Samuel Parish ( KnightKomat) - Audio
Iskatumesk - Audio
Nitrozsz - Text
Stringstorm - Audio
In the first of these little Audacity tutorials, I'm going to guide you through installing a plug in. In this case installing a telephone filter.


1. First we'll need to download the dll plug in file. I used Telephone voice dialed up from here.

2. Next navigate to your Audacity plug ins folder, it will be somewhere like C:\Program Files (x86)\Audacity\Plug-Ins

3. Place the telephone.dll file into that folder.

4. Open Audacity.

5. Select Effects > Manage.

6. Fine Telephone on the list and select enable.

Your plug in is now installed. To use it load in the file you want to add the effect to. Highlight the audio you want to filter, then select Effect > Telephone.

Alter the settings to your liking and apply the effect.

Simple!

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