Voice Overs on videos

After viewing "The Storms of 2005" DVD, and really looking at the production side of things, I'm curious about the voice overs. Obviously some were better than others, but it all sounded pretty good. How many of you were using something other than the built in or low grade microhone on your computer? Did you use the microphones on your Video camera? Are you using professional or semi-professional equipment?

Here's the reason I ask. I am working on setting up my computer for a dual role system. 1st off is to edit video and produce video. Commercials, small featurettes, etc. The second role will be a home recording system for voice overs, and radio work. I'm looking at several pieces of equipment and obviously, I'm under a pretty tight budget. I'm trying real hard to stay away from a mixer/preamp mic system as that can get fairly expensive, rather quickly. I am loking at some of the Marshall electronics offerings though and it gets pretty good reviews.

The whole thing will be getting fed through an Audigy 2 Platinum EX sound card. I'm also looking at Minidisc for the final medium as our station uses these quite a bit.

Anyone's thoughts or advice would certainly be appreciated.

John Diel
 
John,

Although i have alot of nice video equipment my editing/audio studio is lacking. A large investment is needed for a proper sound studio.

I use the poor mans method for voice overs. I set up a small end table and chair in my closet. (clothes dampen echo) and record directly to my camcorder as the mic onboard is a fine mic without paying for a 900$ studio mic.

In the end the sound from the field audio and the "studio" audio are all congruent.

The end product is very good in my opinion for prosumer and yes sometimes if done correctly even broadcast quality.
 
I once set up a crude sound booth for voiceovers using pillows on the dining room table . Worked great and I just used the on-board mic on my Sony camera.

One thing you have to watch for is background noise. You would be surprised how easily the mic will pick up those little sounds. Furnace and AC fans, traffic outside, your refrigerator, etc will all get picked up. If you can hear it from where you are, even slightly, then so can the mic.

I bought a Sennheiser wireless lav setup last year so I will be using that for VOs whenever I get around to doing my next chase video. The lav is made for voice and more directional, so with the right adjustments it doesn't require the elaborate sound booth.

I have also always wanted to find someone to do my VOs. I hate hearing my own voice.
 
Storms of 2005 audio:

5 June chapter: Microphone on my camcorder
Intro and 21 March chapter: A headset microphone Jim LaDue bought - if he's reading, he can chime in with the specifics.
All other chapters - those producers will have to chime in.

I also engineered the sound on all the chapters. With 5 or 6 chapters, I had the voice over, natural sound, and music as separate audio tracks. I mixed down using Acid Pro, added warm ambience reverb to the voiceovers, and EQed away any portions of the sound spectrum that sounded distracting. I then normalized all the chapter audio tracks with each other and then ran smooth compression on each audio track using Sound Forge.

Not a perfect way to do things, but much better than we did it for Storms of 2004.

And...ORDER NOW! <a href=\'http://stormsof2005.org' target='_blank'>http://stormsof2005.org[/b][/size][/color]</a>
 
I also engineered the sound on all the chapters. With 5 or 6 chapters, I had the voice over, natural sound, and music as separate audio tracks. I mixed down using Acid Pro, added warm ambience reverb to the voiceovers, and EQed away any portions of the sound spectrum that sounded distracting. I then normalized all the chapter audio tracks with each other and then ran smooth compression on each audio track using Sound Forge.

Not a perfect way to do things, but much better than we did it for Storms of 2004.

And...ORDER NOW! <a href=\'http://stormsof2005.org' target='_blank'>http://stormsof2005.org[/b][/size][/color]</a>

It's a darn good way to do things Greg, and really the way you should do it, with separate tracks that way. Normalizing most if not all your tracks is a must for full video continuity soundwise. Otherwise you will most certainly have some sounds way off balance volumewise from one section to the next.

On the 2004 review video I did, in some places there were as many as 10 separate audio tracks. Some of it you probably wouldn't even notice, but affected the overall "feel" of the video.

I won't even tell you how I did the VO on the "Temples of the Wind" trailer because you would all laugh at me, BUT, it worked very well. heh Let's just say, Greg's favorite tool there, Acid Pro, can be your friend!
 
Thanks everyone for your input. I've decided that we'll be going with the Sony Sound Forge software for editing. Though the station uses an older version of Cool Edit Pro.

Looks like I'll be going with a shock mounted Marshall MXL DRK (Desktop Recording Kit) Microphone.

The editing and recording will be done ina dedicated room and I'mm be using some cheap Egg Crate foam for sound proofing as well as the standard "Shut the Door". I'll have to figure out what to do with the computer though as the fans make a bit of noise. I may be able to isolate it out with Sound Forge though.

My daughter is interested in the Sound Engineering and Radio DJ side of things and I was able to negotiate a little show for her on the station. It'a a Top 5 countdown type show and runs throughout the week at the drive time for the kids in school being picked up by parents.

My side of this will be doing short term storm forecasting this spring and voice spots for safety tips. I may also be doing a few voice over commercials as well.

Right now the idea is to get the spots on CD in Wav format, get it to the studio for upload to Robo-Jock. If the files are small enough, I may try doing it via e-mail in a zipped wav file.

Later on, as the whole thing evolves, we'll look at a small Mixer to allow 2 or more Mic's and analog devices for play back and recording to the computer.

What I was really wondering was how many folks were using "Real" mic's as opposed to the little electroset mic's we see at Wal-Mart.
 
I have plans on investing in a decent sound studio for my editing room. The Storms of 2005 was my first real VO project and I knew immediately that what I had was not going to cut it for future VO projects.

Although probably not needed for VO projects, I am going to get me a little 8 track mixer, a few good microphones, and some other external equipment for perhaps effects. I currently have nothing more than a cheap microphone (yes John from Walmart) and three pc programs that I can add effects and normalize the audio with.

I have another motive to getting all of this complete though. My wife loves to sing, so I would like to set up a little recording studio for her. That’s where all of the external equipment comes in to play.

All this will have to wait until after chase season though.

Mick
 
For a mic, the Sennheiser MD 421 is hard to beat. The big diaphram makes voice detail come out cleanly, and the five-position bass rolloff is extremely helpful in overcoming recording room conditions or in adding depth to a voice that is naturally midrange-rich. They have been used for over thirty years in studios and broadcast; I do two weekly programs on two 100,000 watt public radio stations and love them.

For me, the best result is to roll the the bass off one click from max, place the mic at about 10 o'clock alongside my left eye pointing down with the mic grill just above and to the left of my nose. At this angle a windscreen or pop filter is not necessary.

I once hooked one to a DAT recorder to record some live motorcycle noise at Bike Week in Daytona Beach with great results.

They have also appeared on every album I've done. Frequently, guitar cabinets are mic'd with a Shure SM-57 and an MD 421 next to each other, and combined in the mix.

These can be bought new on sites like Musicians Friend for around $350.
List price is over $500 now, I think.

Dave Gallaher
Huntsville, AL
 
Dave,

Thanks for the info! Unfortunately, Sennheisers are way out of my budget. Maybe after I get a voice over gig or two under my belt, I might be able to pay for one or two.

Sennheisers all have some of the best reputations in the business though. Right up there with Shure (I actually like the Headsets better!). I have also used Sennheiser Shotguns in recording football and they do a nice job of isolating out the quaterback making his calls.

Good stuff, just beyond my budget.
 
I have a Sennheiser ME66 Shotgun Mic and now that I think about it It is the mic I used for the mic over as opposed to the onboard mic. The onboard would work fine as its an omni.

My ME66 Sennheiser has a Lightwave windscreen on it. This year for field use i am going to use the ME66 on a seperate stand with a 25' cable. Try to station it out in front of my cam off to the right or left.

The sound captured. For instance on the 3/4 mile wide wedge tornado I captured outside of Beloit on May 29th 2004 had an awesome rumble to it in the distance. If it wasnt for my stupid loud curssing mouth... lol. Others could relive that moment and hear the awesome audio with that tornado.

Im off track here.. sorry
 
Don't want to jack the thread too far, but mic technique is a favorite subject. I have long awaited someone's capture of a full-range signal that would have the vortex roar clear enough without wind buffeting or ambient traffic. It's so difficult to achieve, though.

I've thought of starting a poll thread to get votes on the best audio capture---now might be a good time to do it. If anyone has any candidates to list, pm or them to me. I don't have access to all the vids listed on ST, so I may be unaware of a gem or two.

For one, Tim Marshall and Gene Rhoden's evening under the bridge in OKC is pretty amazing when played back through my studio speakers and sub.

Dave Gallaher
Huntsville, AL
 
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