FORUMS: list search recent posts

Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?

COW Forums : Audio Professionals

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Johannes Schwarz
Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Dec 23, 2012 at 11:23:01 am

Hi everyone,

here is the thing...

WHAT I HAVE:
I have a (huge) animation project (70 episodes = 4 hours total) and 3 months left on it (then I leave for a 14 month vacation, yey).
I have the script in 7 languages. The animation is made and cut to correspond to the original language.
The other 6 languages need to be recorded by voice talents and synchronized to correspond to what is happening in the animation. There is no lip synching. It is an educational project where elements may also be static for 20 secs or so. But still the voice needs to correspond to what is on screen (especially when it cuts to a new scene). Given the perceived speed of Spanish speakers for example there is no way a mere reading of the script would make the languages line up in the end. There is only so much you can do by inserting pauses - so I need the speaker to take the right speed into account while he reads.

WHAT I NEED IN THE END
For me the best thing naturally would be getting 70 ready and cut sound files I can simply add as audio tracks to the project

HOW DO I GET THERE?
So...What would be the general production workflow here. What do producers provide their voice talents with so that they can do their magic and sync the audio as they record their voice. Obviously they need the video, but:

a) - would they use a "naked video" (just the video really) keeping the video in the corner of their eyes as they read from a script (a possible indication that voice talents have super powers).

b) would they need the video with timed subtitles - karaoke style. (man, to generate 4 hours of subs (6 times) would kill my schedule).

c) would they read from the script but get flashy cue signals like a number blinking on the video - corresponding to the paragraph number they should be on in the text

d) would they just go back and forth in a scene trying to match their voice to the things in the video and only move on to the next scene when they have nailed it. (later editing the audio - earning every penny I shell out)

e) the unthinkable...

If any of you have worked on either end of such a project, any info on how this is commonly and successfully done is very much appreciated.
If there is more than one way that is acceptable, I'm looking not for the cheapest but for the one that conserves the most of my(!) time - i.e. I'm willing to pay more to voice talents or third parties even, if it leaves me with more time to devote to other aspects of the project. For my vacation is non-negotiable :-)

Greetings,
Johannes


Return to posts index

Ty Ford
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Dec 23, 2012 at 2:08:19 pm

Hello Johannes and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

I have "read to pix" before as a narrator. This was VO so lip sync was not an issue. I can't imagine that lip sync will work out in any way with you project. If I'm missing something please let me know.

The producer in another project had timed out the scenes, but forgot to include some breathing space at the beginning and/or end. That resulted in the VO being too close together at those start/stop points.

So if the scene is, say, 20 seconds, consider having the VO be 19 seconds to allow half a second gap at each end, if that will be enough.

Doing the process with audio and video will allow you to make sure the pacing is not altered.

How long is your piece?

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader
(and narrator)

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


Return to posts index

Johannes Schwarz
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Dec 23, 2012 at 4:30:52 pm

Hi Ty,

thanks for the reply. No, I don't need lip syncing either, just VO.
The remark about breathing space is a helpful one. I guess, given that German is usually one of the longer versions, I might cut the video to that and send it along to the VO talent for timing.

Generally the episodes are about 3 minutes long having 10-15 scenes.
It's just that there are 70 episodes in 7 languages, that makes all of this a rather huge thing to put together.


Return to posts index


Ty Ford
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Dec 23, 2012 at 6:29:21 pm

Johannes,

Yes, I think you're right.

I did the VO in English and had two other VO people come into do French and Spanish for a DVD about glaciers. It was an hour long show. I budgeted an 8 hour day for the record session for each language. After each page, when I went back to do the rough edits, I let the talent listen to make sure they didn't mis-speak because I don't speak Spanish or French.

Not as big a project as yours on the one hand, but plenty to do.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


Return to posts index

Richard Crowley
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Dec 23, 2012 at 2:50:44 pm

When I did something like that decades ago in the pre-digital era, I found (rather easily) one language that was perpetually longer than the others (German, IIRC). Because all the languages had to run concurrently (selected by the viewer during exhibition), I cut the visuals to the longest language and then slotted in the other languages (with the resulting gaps). We recorded the language VO tracks "wild" since (like your project) it wasn't "sync".


Return to posts index

Johannes Schwarz
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Dec 23, 2012 at 4:23:27 pm

Hi Richard,

I see you are on dvx as well as on cow :-)
Thanks for your reply. In fact the base language of my project is German and I too predict it to be the longest - even though out of German, Italian, French, English, Portuguese, Spanish and Polish, I might be in for a surprise here and there.


So if this is the way to go, then I might send my "cut-to-German" videos over to the VO talent (how have their own studio) and let them record, then cut and fill in.

Greetings,
Johannes


Return to posts index


Richard Crowley
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Dec 26, 2012 at 1:30:27 am

If it isn't "sync", it is not clear to me why the voice talent even needs to see the video (or even know the timing, for that matter)? The simple solution would seem to be to have them just do them as a simple narration/voice-over. Does it affect the voice performance to see (or "sync") the visual?


Return to posts index

Johannes Schwarz
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Dec 26, 2012 at 7:54:06 am

Hi Richard,

well it isn't lip sync-ing, which would indeed be very demanding on both the translators and the voice talent. But there are no characters talking.

What I do have however are hands pointing. So the VO talent needs to say "like these two examples over here" at the time in the animation the hand is showing. So I need some kind of timing. If the hand comes in at 34 seconds and the speaker has taken 39 seconds to say things up to that point, then I can't really fix it (without degrading audio by speeding it up while preserving the pitch). If it took him only 30 seconds I could add some pauses maybe but even that could be a little unnatural.

That is why I need sync-ing.


Return to posts index

Ty Ford
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Dec 26, 2012 at 2:48:07 pm

or someone with language skills to rewrite a sentence or two to make the gestures match the audio........

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


Return to posts index


Richard Crowley
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Dec 26, 2012 at 11:05:17 pm

Or slow down (or freeze) the video until the too-long narration "catches up" to the visuals. That is the problem with shooting video that will be "synced" to narrations that haven't even been translated or recorded yet.

I would find it awkward to try to translate and/or voice something technical to fit within a certain timing while maintaining the proper grammar for the language and preserving all the necessary detail. That is a judgement call only you can make. But if I were doing this I would be reluctant to tell the translator/announcer: "you must translate all of this content and make it fit into 34 seconds."

And especially if you don't speak the language, you would be wasting a lot of time if it turns out that they had to make cuts to the script to fit your timing that compromised the quality of the content.


Return to posts index

Jean-Christophe Boulay
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Jan 3, 2013 at 9:14:45 pm

Hi Johannes,

Living and working in a French territory surrounded by English, I work on projects like these every day. The usual way of doing it really is what Richard is reluctant to do. If only everyone was so nice!

usually, you cut to the initial language and others have to fit in. The result all depends on your translators. In fact, we call them "adapters" because they do more than just translate sentence-to-sentence. They work to convey the same meaning in the time at their disposal. This can take a better understanding of the languages involved but if the translators are good, they should be able to do this. If some very specific information or turn of phrase absolutely needs to make it into the translation, underlining it is important so the translator can work around it. Asking this of the voice talent themselves might be too much.

If you're cutting image to a longer-winded language like German or French, that is already quite a treat for adaptation. More than we're used to, at least. If total length is not restricted, cutting with some extra breathing space should ensure everyone can get the words in. Providing the translators with precise timing information is very important. Since you're German, I don't even know why I'm specifying this.

Once you have a final cut and an adapted script, all the talent needs is the video to record to. It's important to provide this so they can alter their reading speed to match without editing, which will sound much more natural and will require less work time. The absolute luxury is to provide burnt-in timecode, which can help some talents in finding cues. No need to have the script on screen or anything, that's just distracting and they probably know where to put it naturally more than you do anyways. Also, less work time.

If you follow your initial ideas and some of these tips, the project should go pretty smoothly. Much much worse adaptation workflows have yielded seamless results.

JC Boulay
Technical Director
Audio Z
Montreal, Canada
http://www.audioz.com


Return to posts index

Johannes Schwarz
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Jan 4, 2013 at 8:21:05 am

Hi Jean-Christophe,

thanks for your detailed and encouraging response.

Ok. After all the helpful tips I received in this thread, this is what I come up with and hope you experts approve:

1) a video with colored time code (count down)
I did a rough sketch here: http://vimeo.com/50244233 (Password: beta3mc)
At 1:50 I use a color cue for the timing of specific words.

2) plus: the paragraphs (and also specific cue points) of the script will be colored in red and blue, so if you have the video in the corner of your eye while recording, you know if you are on track or need to do the last section longer or shorter.

What do you think? Provided I have good translations/adaptations, would this be usable for the voice over talents? Or am I still asking for super human abilities?

Thanks,
Johannes


Return to posts index


Jean-Christophe Boulay
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Jan 4, 2013 at 2:54:47 pm

I think that is already going above and beyond the call of duty and should be more than enough for any voice talent. I'm actually kind of jealous that I work on North American projects and not German ones.

Good luck on the rest of the project.

JC Boulay
Technical Director
Audio Z
Montreal, Canada
http://www.audioz.com


Return to posts index

Johannes Schwarz
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Jan 4, 2013 at 3:37:11 pm

Thanks, that's reassuring.

Side-Note: I'm actually an Austrian living in Liechtenstein, but I gladly subsume the positive qualities the attribute "German" seemed to carry in your post. :-)

Cheers,
Johannes


Return to posts index

Jean-Christophe Boulay
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Jan 4, 2013 at 3:52:40 pm

Germanophone, then.

JC Boulay
Technical Director
Audio Z
Montreal, Canada
http://www.audioz.com


Return to posts index


Bill Davis
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Jan 4, 2013 at 11:10:42 pm

Look,

If I may inject something here...

I've been doing professional narration for about 20 years now. I've done literally hundreds of sessions tho nearly all in a single language and I fully understand that you're struggling with translation issues - not straight narration.

But that said, TOO MUCH trying to solve problems for professional talent in advance of their performance can be a BIG mistake when going into a recording session.

By that I mean that the reason we're professional talent is that we've been around long enough to understand how to solve the typical problems that arise in recording sessions on an "as needed" basis. If a piece of copy is a bit too long, or a emphasis point hits in the wrong place between the copy and the picture - an experienced narrator can work with you to alter or re-arrange the copy to make it fit better on the spot.

Honestly, one thing that annoys me the most in a session and makes me think that the director is inexperienced is that they try to "pre-solve" things that actually don't really present major problems. The moment a director STARTS OUT with line readings, I know the session is gonna suck. By all means it's the directors job to direct, and if after he or she has HEARD my initial delivery they need or want another interpretation, I'm absolutely there to give them what they need. But too many sucky producers think the ONLY way to read a line is the way they "heard" it in their head when THEY were reading it and that might NOT be the most effective way to interpret it via that narrators voice/personality/toolset.

In this discussion, I guess I'm saying that trying to arrange color flashes linked to word timings and such is a bit much, IMO.

The narrator will UNDERSTAND what you're saying,since they speak the language. If you point out a visual cue they need to hit - they can likely arrange things - at the session - to HIT it - and they'll be familiar enough with not just the language but that native speakers colloquialisms and meaning to do it properly.

So TRUST them.

Just provide the script. And an open mind. And let them do their job.

My 2 cents, anyway.

(after hundreds of narration sessions)

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


Return to posts index

Ty Ford
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Jan 4, 2013 at 11:40:35 pm

Bill,

not everyone has your chops. (or something like that) :)

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


Return to posts index

Johannes Schwarz
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Jan 5, 2013 at 9:06:15 am

Thanks Bill, for the input.

The whole point is that I am inexperienced at this. I've never tried to put 7 language tracks to one video (nor 2 for that matter). I've always had wiggle room on the video side. And since I can understand your frustration with in-experienced directors this is why I posted here. :-) I'm inquiring about how to do things that need to be synched (or at least timed); about what voice talents require to do their job.

Ok.

So you're basically saying: send the video, send the script, all will be fine, because you guy's know what you are doing and can work fine with just that. Rewinding, going back and forth until you know the video sequence and nail the timing is just part of your job. No reason to worry. Sounds great to me, because it means no additional work on my end.

Or would you consider a general time code of the individual parts still desirable - I just shouldn't go apes with flashing color cues for obvious things?

Note: I will not be there to direct (or bug) people. Voice talents will have to work in their own studio and send me the finished file.
I have to trust them.

Lastly, a more general note: On the "understanding the text" part from a director's side. I have worked with voice talents and I have found that understanding the language and words is not the same as understanding what they mean - at least when you leave the realm of every day things and venture into more specialized fields (as is also the case with this project). Working once before on a series on philosophy and theology I came to learn this the hard way. My english voice talent read things beautifully - with a cute british accent and all - but only the historical parts were good. To the target audience it was clear from the intonation and emphasize that the narrator did not really know what he was talking about in the other parts. So when you say "The narrator will UNDERSTAND what you are saying" at times this may be true as an expression of hope rather than fact.

Thanks,
Johannes


Return to posts index


Bill Davis
Re: Voice over sync workflow - Any VO-artists here?
on Jan 17, 2013 at 4:52:44 am

Johannes,

Look, the whole process of narration recording has somewhat changed over the past decade. What used to be a studio process that involved a team working together to produce quality results has pretty much devolved into an industry seen as a necessary nuisance by far too many producers. During the bulk of my career, I expected to record in a setting with typicallyy at least three players. The recording engineer concentrated on achieving a quality recording. The producer was responsible for judging the accuracy and suitability of the performance. And as the talent, I was responsible for not only voicing the copy properly but interpreting it acceptably via pacing, energy and emphasis.

That process WORKS because it divides the responsibilities and provides checks and balances in each area as to quality control.

Today, it's common to face what you're talking about. A "producer" who seeks efficiency and savings by cutting that team down to ONE player. Asking one individual to produce, voice, record and ALSO translate simultaneously? Heck, what could possibly go wrong in that scenario?

Well, you mention something directly. Experience with a talent that could do some of the tasks well - but who fell down on the translation. Are you surprised? How would he or she even KNOW that the interpretation was wrong without the producer involved monitoring the recording?

I respect your instinct to try to *control* the variables via remote tools like your color codes and similar prep - but I doubt that it's going to represent a real solution here.

VO is a "real time" performance. If its not being monitored and corrected in real time - by someone who knows both the quality standards AND the language - you WILL have avoidable problems creep into the work as you have already experienced.

That's just how this works.

So the big decision is whether and how much you value quality over efficiency.

FWIW

For what it's worth.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]