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Old June 3rd, 2008, 09:20 AM   #16
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I agree wholeheartedly that a good script and a good performer are the top priorities.

For the script, I'd say keep it simple and straightforward. I'm very much of the "less is more" school of thought when it comes to voiceover. As for finding talent, do you have a community, college or public radio station near you? If so, ask around, or put up a flyer asking for help. Many of those old-school disc jockeys and news announcers have great voices and are comfortable reading into a microphone. If you're lucky, maybe you can even borrow their studio to do the recording, especially if it's a nonprofit/educational kind of documentary.

As for the recording environment, if you can't find an actual recording studio, there are other options. What you're looking for is a room that's as close to acoustically "dead," with no echoes, as you can find. Small carpeted libraries with lots of books on the shelves are great, since the irregularly shaped books act as natural acoustic baffles. A while ago, Douglas Spotted Eagle had an online tutorial about how to make a recording box out of foamcore and acoustical foam. I'm sure you could Google it and find it.

Remember to get the microphone close to your talent. A cheap mike 1.5-2 feet away from the talent, in a room with no echoes, will ALWAYS sound better than an expensive mike 3-6 feet away in a hard, echoey room.

If you are looking to invest in some equipment to help you, I have a couple of ideas:

1. Audio Technica makes a very good large diaphragm microphone, the AT2020, that does a nice job for about $99. You'll need some kind of preamp or mixer and a recorder, or if you have a camera with XLR inputs and phantom power, you can probably record right into the camera and be O.K. AT just came out with a USB version of the same mike [ http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...CONDENSER.html ]
which might be just the ticket for your needs.

2. I recently picked up a Zoom H4 compact flash recorder for under $200. I'm really impressed with the quality of the built-in mikes. I've recorded some radio documentaries with this unit, and would have no hesitation using it for voiceover work as well.

One last thought: check out "Producing Great Sound for Digital Video" by Jay Rose (Focal Press). It's a great primer on all things audio, including some good, practical, low budget suggestions for voiceover production.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 09:32 AM   #17
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You definitely want to detach the mic. You will pick up camera noise, like the tape transport, if you don't. In fact, if you go the closet route, your going to want to quiet the camera even further, maybe by putting a coat over it or something.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 10:41 AM   #18
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Audio help on documentary

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Bernard View Post
I have a similar set up, a Canon XM2, a MA300 XLR adaptor using a Senni M66 mic and for the V/O:

1] Put tape in camera

2] Point your Mic at mouth of V/O person

3] Record.

. .and just let the tape roll and roll and roll. Mistakes included.

What I have also done is to have the visuals run on a VCR VHS tape on a TV, sound off, and use a remote/zapper for the V/O to review again and again. It works and it is very easy=budget to attain. Once you have the "camera" V/O audio tape done capture that to your NLE and just align what you want to where you want it.

Oh, the one I did exactly like this won a competition for a Central London Public authority where the spoken word was essential for the video.

Grazie

ps: my "boom-pole" consisted of several bamboo canes gaffered together. I have subsequently traded up to a Rode Boom pole with internal wiring - such is progress!
Bless you, Grazie! I have read many of your postings and have been impressed with your "Yankee ingenuity" (pardon the expression) approach to video problems.

For step #2 I assume you mean detached mic. I have no shame Grazie, what does NLE mean?

Planned a trip to the UK but cancelled when the dollar tanked, but still hope to go. Like to see you sometime. Thanks,

Low Budget Ed
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 11:26 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Ed Space View Post
Thanks for reply, Steve. Your method of using the computer to record VO is beyond my pay grade. Need a more basic system. Ed
Yoiu don't need to get expensive or too fancy. A decent audio interface can be had for a couple of hundred, a small mixing desk from Mackie, Tapco, or Behnringer another hundred, and a couple of hundred for a proper microphone and you'll be in business. For that matter, you can get a USB mic designed for Podcasting that will combine the mic and interface for a few hundred as well., perhaps something along these lines - http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...o_B_H_Kit.html As for software, Audacity is available free in both Windows and Mac versions and does a very capable job.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 11:41 AM   #20
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NLE = Non Linear Editor (your edit software/hardware)
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 11:53 AM   #21
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You have a mic attached to the MA300? Then that is the one to use - you WILL need a longer xlr cable. Pop a fresh tape in the camera and just record the v/o.

Grazie
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 01:34 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Ed Space View Post
Thanks Bill for some good advice. I continue to be amazed at the unselfish help offered on this forum. Years of writing copy and making presentations will help W/items 1 & 2. The on camera audio was recorded with an XLR condenser mic mounted on a MA300 XLR adapter. I can detach the mic. Are you saying I can rewind the tape, step into a closet and record VO on my recorded tape using my detached mic? Patience Bill, audio is new territory to this old photographer. Ed
Ed,

No, there's no reason to take an "overdubbing" approach.

Leave the original shot tape alone.

Just load up a fresh tape, and record your audio directly to it.

You can just leave the lens cap on the camera, or if you like, point the camera at your face and hold up papers with the scene/take info, or even just flash finger symbols to indicate the "takes" or "breaks" or whatever you like.

All that matters is that you record your narration to tape, then digitize that into your NLE just like your visuals.

You combine them in your NLE at the time of editing.

It's the simplest way to do VO narration.

Good luck.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 05:54 PM   #23
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Audio help on documentary

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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
Yoiu don't need to get expensive or too fancy. A decent audio interface can be had for a couple of hundred, a small mixing desk from Mackie, Tapco, or Behnringer another hundred, and a couple of hundred for a proper microphone and you'll be in business. For that matter, you can get a USB mic designed for Podcasting that will combine the mic and interface for a few hundred as well., perhaps something along these lines - http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...o_B_H_Kit.html As for software, Audacity is available free in both Windows and Mac versions and does a very capable job.
Thanks again, Steve. The USB system sounds interesting. Will check with B&H.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 06:01 PM   #24
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Audio help on documentary

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Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
Ed,

No, there's no reason to take an "overdubbing" approach.

Leave the original shot tape alone.

Just load up a fresh tape, and record your audio directly to it.

You can just leave the lens cap on the camera, or if you like, point the camera at your face and hold up papers with the scene/take info, or even just flash finger symbols to indicate the "takes" or "breaks" or whatever you like.

All that matters is that you record your narration to tape, then digitize that into your NLE just like your visuals.

You combine them in your NLE at the time of editing.

It's the simplest way to do VO narration.

Good luck.
Thanks for an uncomplicated way to record my VO. I will record exactly as you have advised.

Ed
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 06:08 PM   #25
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Audio help on documentary

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Originally Posted by Graham Bernard View Post
You have a mic attached to the MA300? Then that is the one to use - you WILL need a longer xlr cable. Pop a fresh tape in the camera and just record the v/o.

Grazie
Spot on, Grazie. Will get a long XLR cable, step into my clothes closet, and have at it. Thanks again,

Ed
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 06:11 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
NLE = Non Linear Editor (your edit software/hardware)
Thanks Shaun. Will check website.

Ed

Last edited by Ed Space; June 3rd, 2008 at 06:12 PM. Reason: Forgot title
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 06:17 PM   #27
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Audio help on documentary

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Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt View Post
You definitely want to detach the mic. You will pick up camera noise, like the tape transport, if you don't. In fact, if you go the closet route, your going to want to quiet the camera even further, maybe by putting a coat over it or something.
Thanks Marco. I'll get a long XLR cable and make a camera cover out of 2in foam & gaff tape.

Ed
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Old June 4th, 2008, 04:32 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Ed Space View Post
Thanks Marco. I'll get a long XLR cable and make a camera cover out of 2in foam & gaff tape.

Ed

It seems to me like using the camera as the recording device for VO is going the long way around. If you can record directly into your workstation with a decent mic and interface, you'll have much more flexibility and control plus potentially much better audio quality in general ... for example, the camera would not allow you to "punch in" and record multiple takes of a line you were flubbing yet such a facility is standard equipment with most audio software. You also don't have to capture the tape afterwards.

Take a look at this clip on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGb_Z44iymA
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Old June 4th, 2008, 05:26 PM   #29
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like this...

http://centrance.com/products/mp/

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Old June 4th, 2008, 06:05 PM   #30
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like this...

http://centrance.com/products/mp/

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Oh Ty:

Why did you have to post that, now I really want one!

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