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Mace
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Voice acting 101

This is a very basic tutorial to get started voice acting. My impression is that a lot of people are starting from scratch when they submit an audition here, this is my attempt to save you some time, and help you submit some quality recordings. So if you're new here, give this a read as it might help both you and the administrators.

How do I determine if my sound quality is good enough?
This is probably the most important question to ask yourself when starting to record, especially on this forum. There are many recordings here that are plagued by poor sound quality, which is a shame, because a lot of people here have potential but lack the proper quality. The obvious issue with this is, that you can't have bad recordings used in the game, it would take all the immersion out of the game, and lead to an overall terrible game experience. If we're doing this, it should be done right. There are a couple of reasons why your sound quality might be lacking, and these are some you should be looking out for:

  • You can hear the room you're in. Also called reverb. You don't want it to sound like you're standing in a bathroom recording. This is caused by you being in a room where the sound is being bounced off of the walls, not enough things absorbing noises. The solution to this problem is to either to move to a better room with less reverb or using a vocal booth. I myself had this problem, and solved it by using a duvet stacked around the microphone when recording. Also, don't get too far away from your microphone, it'll cause the same problem.
    Reverb example
     
  • Background noise. You need to isolate yourself from background noise, such as cars and other people talking, if the background noise isn't too loud or too distinct, it can be removed with software.
     
  • You blow air into the microphone. This is common when pronouncing p's, you'll unwillingly blow microphone. The best way to fix this is to get your hands on a pop filter. The cheap solution is just to throw a thick sock over it. In the example below, I used a pop-filter on the second recording.
    The issue with p's
     
  • The last most common issue, is simply the lack of a proper microphone. The way to determine if your microphone not up to the task, is simply to do a recording and listen for all of the above issues after cleaning the sound up. If the quality still sounds terrible, you probably need some new equipment. 
    Cheap microphone, cleaned with Audacity

What equipment should I use?
First off, figure out how well your current microphone works. If it works, but you're not quite there, you might wanna submit an audition, and wait for feedback. If the feedback is positive, consider investing in a better microphone.

When first starting out, the simplest/fastest/cheapest way to get to a more professional quality sound is to use a USB microphone. I myself use a Blue Yeti, which is a relatively cheap microphone around 100$ USD. You can give my audition a listen to check out the sound quality.
Audition using Blue Yeti

Another example would be the Shure PG42. I do recommend getting some sort of pop-filter to use with these microphones, as they are quite sensitive to air blowing on them. 

As this is a basic introduction, I won't bother going into more detail with more expensive microphones. If you want more information and recommendation on these, take a look here and here.

What software should I use?
There is all sorts of recording software out there, but in all honesty, with the amount of editing needed for voice acting all you need is audacity:

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Yes, it looks like something made 10 years ago, but it is good at what it does. Refrain from using programs that ONLY record, we need to be able to edit the recording. Basic editing, in my opinion include three things:

  • Noise removal
  • Compressor
  • Normalize

These are all so the things that I normally do to my recording, as I am not a fan of editing my voice too much. You can find a simple tutorial on how to do just that, right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQGccGMKTy8

Recording and acting
Getting proper sound will only get you so far, you of course need to be able to do a bit of acting. To be honest I'm not the best actor out there(surprise!), so I probably won't be able to help you out much in that department. Fortunately Bigg Nate posted some guidelines to acting, and how to make recording that acting easier.

Rules to recording By Bigg Nate.  
1. Write out what you want to say and remember we read faster than we can speak out load when we are reading. So try and memorize your lines.

2. Read what you wrote or what is written, out loud 3 times and gage how it sounds to you.  

3. Once you have a written copy that sounds good practice your cadence and inflection of your voice.  

4. When you feel good about the words then Record them in order three times. Please double check your equipment level and presets. Before starting the actual voice acting, make sure you roll 5 sec of silence, this way you can edit out the background noise later for a more clean recording.  

5. Try and keep the delivery the same speed and pitch. Find your emotion in the voice without slurring the words. Diction is very important.  

6. If you stop for a misread or mistake just start that take over form the last sentence. Then go back and edit it later, there is no reason to waste time on restarting the recording. 

7. Make sure you listen to all your takes before uploading the file in a MP3 format!


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Before I go, let me just emphasize that I am not an administrator, or responsible for the VA section, but feel free to contact me if you need any help.
Good luck with the recordings!

Edited by: Mace on 11/08/2014 - 05:47
Taerkalith
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Not bad advice Mace, I`m sure

Not bad advice Mace, I`m sure when we get to recording this December Langotriel and Smitehammer will go over the process again with a fine tooth comb. Just so everyone knows who may stumble into this, sometime December we will be exporting scripts for VA work (finally after much work!). So check back over December and things will be happening!

 

Taerkalith
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Not bad advice Mace, I`m sure

:)

 

Taerkalith
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Not bad advice Mace, I`m sure

Japanese Computers seem to be untrustworthy. Sorry for the triple post. :D

Ryizine
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Definitely a help to the

Definitely a help to the newest members coming in. Hell, it reminds me that I need to slow down on my "cold" reads so I can bring in proper depth to my characters. 

locutor77
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If you need a good voice over

If you need a good voice over actor you can listen these demos:   voice overs . It is very difficult .  We are using professional sounds programs.

Taerkalith
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locutor77, you'll need to

locutor77, you'll need to post in the appropriate voice acting threads. It's the only way we can accurately keep track of submissions.

locutor99
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Also you can listen my new

Also you can listen my new demos and website