For voice actors, a recording engineer can be an invaluable asset in the recording booth. Beyond simply ensuring that you sound clear and crisp, the engineer can also play a pivotal role in casting decisions. In situations where clients are unfamiliar with your work, an engineer can vouch for your abilities and even recommend your voice to the casting team.
To help voice actors maintain a positive working relationship with recording engineers, here is a list of common studio mistakes to avoid:
Firstly, it is essential to never touch the microphone. Studio equipment is incredibly expensive, and it is the engineer's responsibility to adjust it as necessary. Voice actors should also ensure that their phones are on airplane mode or preferably left outside the booth to avoid interruptions.
Additionally, noisy clothing or jewelry can be a significant distraction. Voice actors should remove all jewelry and ensure that they are not wearing any fabrics that produce excessive noise when moving.
Shuffling pages can also create distracting noise, so voice actors should separate their script pages and lay them flat in front of them to avoid noisy page turns.
Voice actors should also be mindful of dry mouth, which can create a "Rice Crispy" sound that is amplified by the microphone. Drinking room-temperature water and avoiding certain foods can help prevent this issue.
Proper microphone technique is also crucial, with a general rule of being about three fingers from the pop filter, with the pop filter approximately an inch away from the mic.
Actors should also be mindful of plosives, which are consonant sounds that can create popping sounds when the microphone is bombarded with a large amount of air. Proper microphone placement and speaking techniques can help minimize this issue.
Finally, when recording ensemble sessions, actors must be mindful of not jumping other performers' lines. Leaving half-second spaces before and after each line of dialog is crucial to ensuring that editors can cleanly splice together takes in the final edit. It is especially important to be mindful of this when there is improvisation or ad-libbing occurring in the session to avoid ruining anyone's take.
Professionalism and etiquette are crucial for voice actors when working in the studio. The engineer is the voice actor's ally, helping them sound their best and even potentially vouching for them to casting teams. By following these guidelines, voice actors can maintain a professional working environment and produce high-quality recordings.