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Please assist with home VO setup

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Samuel Frazier
Please assist with home VO setup
on Aug 22, 2010 at 9:35:57 pm

I’m looking to add some VO to a few short films I’m making and could use some help with my setup. I use Final Cut Studio and Plan to record directly into it on my Macbook Pro.

Recently I saw Douglas Spotted Eagle’s video on how a VO box can improve your audio, so I was sold on the concept. So I was trying to decide b/t either getting one of these ready-made boxes from an auction site:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...STRK:MEWAX:VRI

Or building my own with this 14" Whitmor Cube:

http://www.amazon.com/Whitmor-Collap...0368820&sr=8-2

And 5 of these foam sides:

http://www.amazon.com/Whitmor-Collap...0368820&sr=8-2

But, I’ve gotten some input that these cheap or DIY VO boxes cause more problems than they solve. It’s been suggested that I make a closet into a VO room, but I don’t have one to lose, and the building is beyond my abilities or available free time.

So I was wondering:
1- Would the kind of VO boxes I’m looking at be of benefit over say a room with curtains and heavy carpeting
2- What mic to use. I’m looking to either go with a USB mic like an Audio-Technica AT2020 or Yeti USB, or a Senn ME64 (already have K6 unit for use with my ME66) used with some sort of inexpensive input device. The USB route seems easier, but perhaps more limiting in the long run.


So if anyone has any thoughts or opinions, I’d greatly appreciate them. Thanks ahead of time for any help!


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Curt Schulz
Re: Please assist with home VO setup
on Aug 23, 2010 at 4:11:47 pm

I went through what you are going through and this is what I ended up with:

- Studio Projects C1 ($250) - great VO mic

- TC Electronic Desktop Konnekt 6 - ($200) - use for pre-amps into your computer. This model has a good pre-amp to get the most out of the mic and has XLR inputs/outputs

- Short XLR cable and Pop Screen

- C- Stand (s) and heavy moving blankets - to create a "tent" around talent to isolate sound. I have done this in the past and it has worked surprisingly well. It doesn't look "pro" but it gets the job done cheaply.

Good luck,
Curt

Curt Schulz
MBP 2.53 4GB Ram/Mac OS 10.6.4/FCP7.02/Matrox Mini w Max


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Bill Davis
Re: Please assist with home VO setup
on Aug 24, 2010 at 12:25:01 am

So, are you a trained announcer?

Surprisingly, they call these folks "talent" because getting consistent good results at voiceovers actually does require that. Talent, I mean.

Otherwise at best you'll get a superior recording of an amateur voice giving an amateur read.

Perhaps you are already an announcer. If so, carry on.

Or not. After all, I keep forgetting that this is the era when anyone who can afford an NLE is suddenly an "editor" - and anyone who can afford a camcorder is a "videographer" - so why shouldn't anyone who can speak english be re-branded as a "voice talent." Oops, I forgot this is America in 2010. And I'm failing to participate in the national "race to the bottom" where cheap trumps quality every time. I'll try to remember that in the future.

I'll go intone my new 21st American Century mantra even louder in penance. "Zippy equipment equals PROFESSIONAL. Human talent and effort equals what anyone on Craigs List will pay for it - including NOTHING - or maybe less." I do this enough, and I WILL start to feel better. Right?

Good luck.



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Curt Schulz
Re: Please assist with home VO setup
on Aug 24, 2010 at 4:45:58 pm

I agree completely with this. If you are editing for a living, hiring professional voice talent really makes the difference in your productions. Pros do the VO with less takes (usually one or two) and make everything sound more polished for clients. On the other hand, if you are short on cash and are working on personal short films, a person with a cool voice and a really good mic and pre-amps can also work really well. I recently did a temp VO track with a client reading the script and her comment on hearing the recording was "I sound like I'm on the radio!" In this instance, the mic setup gave her "regular" voice more bravado.

Curt Schulz
MBP 2.53 4GB Ram/Mac OS 10.6.4/FCP7.02/Matrox Mini w Max 2.0.0.0150


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Samuel Frazier
Re: Please assist with home VO setup
on Aug 25, 2010 at 12:31:23 am

Thanks for the feedback. To get this out of the way, I used to edit professionally for a national magazine's video, have had many films in decent festivals, and have worked with VO professionals in the past. Believe me, I know equipment is nothing compared to talent and experience. It's like the old McEnroe w/ a snowshoe v weekend hacker w/ the latest and greatest tennis racket. What I'm trying to do is my voice narrating a short documentary and will probably do a few other small projects like this. I know a couple VO artists I'd hit up if it was a bigger or more important project, but I like to save those favors for later. I'm just trying to make this project decent and come up with the best solution that makes sense for the budget (small!)

So, getting back to the equipment, is the general consensus that the VO boxes like I mentioned don't really work? Any other opinions on the c-stand moving blankets tent? I really like that idea.

Also, was the Studio Projects C1 sounds like a great mic, but perhaps too good for my purposes and to only be able to use for VO. Am still considering the ME64, but was wondering what y'all thought and if it has any applications other than VO work.

Thanks again for any help!


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Ty Ford
Re: Please assist with home VO setup
on Aug 26, 2010 at 5:42:39 pm

a person with a cool voice and a really good mic and pre-amps can also work really well. I recently did a temp VO track with a client reading the script and her comment on hearing the recording was "I sound like I'm on the radio!" In this instance, the mic setup gave her "regular" voice more bravado.

1. A voice is like an instrument. Unless you know how to play it, given the sheet music (script), it's not a pretty sound.

2. Usually, "Sound like you're on the radio", is exactly NOT what you want to sound like.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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