Recording Voice Talent

On a TV show or documentary, how is a voice-over track recorded?

Usually, the narration tracks are recorded in a professional recording studio. The narrator, or "voice-talent", as the performer is often called, reads a script into a microphone, which is then recorded onto tape or digital media. The voice-over tracks are then edited (To select the best "takes") and then mixed, along with music and other sounds into the program.

Is a professional recording studio always required?

Some voice talent have their own studios, and can deliver audio to their clients, on DAT or CD by mail, or through the web, as mp3 or other types of files. Sometimes the audio tracks are recorded by the program producers, in their own facilities. A professional studio is not an absolute requirement, but the resulting audio quality is usually much better. A well-trained professional audio engineer is also very helpful, not only to ensure the audio is properly recorded, but edited as well.

Does the programís producer or director need to be at the studio?

No. Most experienced voice talent can "self-direct". I often record without anyone directing me. However, Iíve found that it is always better to have someone who has the "vision" for the program to be there, if not in-person, then on-line through a telephone connection. There is also a system, known as "ISDN" which allows a director to direct talent from a remote location, listening in real-time in high-fidelity. I have found, that for best results, though, having the director present "On the other side of the glass" is much better.

What kinds of microphones are used?

Different microphones "color" the sound differently. Microphones for voice-over are chosen for their ability to be compatible with the acoustic environment of the studio, and the voice of the talent, as well as the subjective opinions of the producer. Having a good selection of microphones, and a recording engineer who knows how to use them is always a good idea.