As a voiceover artist, a rule of thumb is to try and get your audition in as soon as you can, because you never know when they’ll be making the decisions.
However, there are times when external factors are out of your control, and you get notified of an incredible opportunity last minute, and you need to get this important audition in ASAP.
Your loud neighbours decide to throw a party and dance like it’s like their last night of their life. Or there’s construction or outside noises you can’t control.
So what are you to do when you’ve got a noisy situation? And you need a quiet space to record and get an audition in quickly?
Here are 4 tips, tricks and tools to help create a quieter space, minimize the noise when recording for your audition. You’ll find that some tools you can be proactive about ;P
1. Record in a Car
If you have a car and can drive yourself to a quiet area, tour car is a great recording space and is one of your best bet.
It’s compact and generally has sound absorbent materials, with no parallel and contrasting surfaces, which makes it effective. Of course depending on the materials of your seats, some cars will be better than others. Generally, cloth and fabric seats are better versus leather seats, as leather reflects sound.
An easy fix is to pad the seats with towel or blankets, and if you have enough cloth material items, line the window glass with it too.
If you don’t have a car? I know of voiceover artists getting themselves an Uber and telling them to drive and park somewhere quiet and doing their recording inside an Uber.
2. Visit your Local Library
In Canada & the US, some libraries have private room or co-working spaces that has sound treated room for podcasting that you can book for Free!
Check with your local libraries to see if they have certain branches that offers digital services and learning workspaces with access to audio/video production.
For those living in Toronto, the Toronto Public Library does have it at some locations. Click here.
3. Get Noise Reduction Software Tools & Tech Equipment
There are editing software tools and tech equipment that you can utilize to help reduce / block outside noises, that doesn’t distort your voice and keeps it authentic
- Izotope RX8 Elements is Magic. It often slashes so be on the lookout for it. It’s great for post production and removing unwanted noise with a click.
- Most DAW also has a noise gate feature. A noise gate helps to control the excess noise in an audio signal like electrical hums and buzzing from your electronics, environment noises like your furnace and AC, your movements in the booth etc.
To learn how to set your noise gate correctly and properly so that you don’t cut off pieces of words, check out Dan Lenard’s Youtube Video on Noise Gate.
- Wave NS1 Noise Suppressor Plug in is another way to remove background noise, doesn’t harm the wave form and they often run sales for the product at 50% or more off, or if you can’t wait, click here to get 10% off
- Get a Shure MV88. This with an Ipad as Debi Derryberry (an amazing voice actress known for her role as Jimmy Neutron) demonstrated, is incredible at reducing the noise around you and is one of her go-tos when she is in a pinch for auditions.
4. Build a Fort!
Whether it’s grabbing a small box and lining it with pillow cases and sheets and putting your mic inside, or;
Taking towels and sheets and pinning whatever space you have that are open to add some extra sound isolation, or;
Making a pillow fort or blanket fort with sofa cushions, comforters, and tucking yourself in and under the fort, these are some tried and true strategies of VO artist of getting an audition in, in a pinch. Obviously, it won’t be perfect but it will be usable quality.
So next time you find yourself in a pinch, give these suggestions a try. These tips and tricks are meant to minimize and flatten out the ambient noise so that you can send in an audition quality recording.
I know as a professional voiceover artist, we strive always to provide high quality audio. However, sometimes there are external circumstances that are out of our control. And when it occurs during a quick turnaround audition, your first priority is to do your best in your performance.
Remember, at this stage, the casting directors are mainly listening to your performance. So don’t fret if you are really in a jam.
Strive to do what you can to provide as clean and clear of an audio when in a time crunch. And when you send in your audition DO note, “this audio is audition quality but if I get the gig, the quality will be great and it will be broadcast quality!”