Working Around Obstacles

Working Around Obstacles

Posted by John in Articles

Working Around Obstacles

(neighbor, noise, ambient sound, family, animals etc)

  • Recording Studio that is NOT sound proof
  • Great set of studio monitor headphones
  • Job/Audition to be performed
  • Calendar
  • Recording Signs
  • Good Organization and people skills

So you’ve hit record and are all ready to perform and suddenly the neighbor decides to mow his lawn.  He could have done it all week, but NOW is the time he has chosen and now you can’t record.

This is all too common of an obstacle for a talent.  It is rare to have a SOUND PROOF studio, so we rely on good ambient sound.  Even some of the top studios out there are not SOUND PROOF, but instead are “ambient correct.”  This means that even a top notch studio will be put to the test when construction or loud interferences are nearby.  So what is a talent to do?

One of the keys to making sure you have a good recording environment is to pay attention and plan.  If you live on an acreage and have no neighbors, no sirens, no daytime work trucks etc, then you are one lucky soul.  Most talent/studios do not have this luxury so they need to work around it.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Pay attention to your neighbors. Usually things come in patterns (ie: when they mow their lawn etc) so keep track of those times so that you can plan your sessions around it.  Know what time of day is the quietest for you to record.
  • Let your neighbors know what you do for a living and see if they will let you know when they are doing things so you can plan around it. Many will work as best they can around your needs if you ask.
  • Plan your renovations/maintenance around your recording schedule. Some renovations can take along time so make sure your clients know your limitations.
  • Appreciate the sacrifices your family has to make to be quiet. When the family has to be quiet while you record, you have no idea what they go through, so always show your patience and your gratitude.
  • Let your clients know ahead of time if you have some possible interferences.
  • If you need to turn off appliances/furnaces/fridges etc., make sure you leave a note or an alarm on your phone so that you remember to turn it back on… I saved us a ton of money on the heating bill, but man we would freeze when I would forget to turn the furnace back on, or the food would spoil if I didn’t turn the fridge back on etc.
  • Know that appliances make noise and this can be a major reason for background noise.
  • If you have a very loyal animal who sits patiently in the booth with you while you record this is lovely, but if you have a client on the line, it’s time to invest in a pet sitter. It is very unprofessional to hear the animal in the background breathing or barking etc.  Yes, we voice at home—but for clients, time is money.  When you don’t have a client, as long as you don’t pick up the animal on the mic, then have at er!
  • Don’t forget if you have unwanted noise and can’t trace it, then it very well may be the cables.
  • Clients can be very understanding to accommodate studio interferences, but remember we begged them to use at-home talent, so our job is to make sure they don’t have any interferences, and if the unplanned happens, stay calm, don’t let it get to you and do your best to keep moving forward or recommend another session time.
  • Don’t get mad at the world for not staying quiet for you. We work a very odd job that affects those of us we are around, so be empathetic, patient and work hard to make them understand and reward those who help you make it all happen.

Obstacles will happen, so stay calm, controlled and just look for solution.  Stress will bleed through in your read, so find a way to maintain professionalism.

If you need any help in creating a better ambient sound for your studio, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Until next time

All my best
VO Chef Deb

01 Jun 2016 No Comments

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