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Forum Home > Sims 3 Machinima Lessons - Intermediate > Voice Recording: The Basics

sylentwhysper
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Posts: 1183

Introduction


More and more Sims3 machinima makers are trying out voice overs or voice acting. Perhaps you've considered it too but you are not sure where to start. This lession is about how to get started on basic voice recording. Future lessons will provide more advanced tips for mixing and editing.


Your voice overs can make or break an otherwise great machinima creation so we hope this helps you get started on the right track.


Part I - Preparing for Your Recording

  • Use a decent quality microphone - A microphone / headset is also a great way to monitor the sound as you record.
  • Limit background noise - don't record while you have music playing or other loud or distracting sounds.
  • Chair check - make sure you are not sitting on a squeaky chair that will be recorded every time you move a little.
  • Privacy and comfort - you are not likely to record a good voice over if you are whispering or otherwise trying to avoid other people hearing you. Choose a time and place where you have the privacy that you need so that you will feel comfortable and relaxed.
  • Get comfortable - make sure you are not shuffling around trying to get comfortable.
  • Avoid rooms that are "hard" like rooms that have a lot of hard wood, metal, glass - "soft" rooms that have plenty of carpet and soft furniture will absorb sound better and reduce unwanted reflective sounds or echos


Part II - Tips for Recording


  • Record music and sound effects separately from your voice.
  • Don't inahale the microphone - be sure to have your mic a good few inches away from your mouth to allow you to speak normally and to avoid capturing distracting breath sounds.
  • Set the mic a bit off to the side rather than right in front of your mouth to avoid "plosives" - the poppings sounds from hard letters like b and p
  • Don't just talk like you would in real life - get into character, think like the character who the script is written for - think and speak like an actor
  • Posture and body language - good posture allows your voice to project more powerfully and will help you avoid distraction and shuffling around while body language, gestures, smiling or grimacing etc. will reflect in your voice - don't be afraid to play out the role a little as you read (another reason you may want that privacy)
  • Don't rush - leave spaces between sentences and bits of speech so that you can break them down in editing later - if you are speaking too quickly and running it all together it will be very difficult to edit out what you don't need later.


Part III - Audio Files Basics

  • In the Windows world quality audio is saved as .wav files
  • In the Macintosh world quality audio is saved as .aiff
  • Audio files can be converted to the universal .mp3 compressed file format but the quality will be reduced somewhat


AUDIO RECORDING SOFTWARE


Audacity is a free audio editing program.  It takes some getting used to, but there are some very good tutorial and help files.  Click HERE for free download.

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October 24, 2011 at 9:38 PM Flag Quote & Reply

sylentwhysper
Moderator
Posts: 1183

TIPS added by Nebunedzar from previous discussion


I want to share a trick of mine. It's really simple though. The trick is that you should also hear your own voice when recording the voice. It will help you to control the pitch and the volume of your voice.

 

 

I use Windows XP, and what I do to enable hearing my own voice in my headphone is

 

 

1. I click start menu -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Entertainment -> Volume Control

2. It will open a program called "Playback Control"

3. I click Options -> Properties

4. In Properties, checklist Microphone then click OK to finish

5. A new mixer will come up, and it is Microphone mixer

6. Finally, I will enable to hear directly the sound from my microphone in my headphone when I uncheck the mute in Microphone mixer

 

I hope this trick will be helpful.

 

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October 25, 2011 at 6:52 PM Flag Quote & Reply

sylentwhysper
Moderator
Posts: 1183

Minraed's experience with the process of filming and voicing (from previous discussion)


I have only had one experience, so I'll share that, but I think it's different for different people. This was for my recent silly little video, Honey Chiffon's Vintage Kitchen which was done with only one voice, mine.

  • I had an idea of what I wanted for the script, and had it partially written out - I was flexible with the exact wording, but I had the basic idea in place that I wanted to stick with
  • I filmed and began editing, and while I was editing I would talk out loud, practicing my lines to see how they fit in - then I edited accordingly if I needed more or less time on the video, or I would reword the voice over script to fit the video where my planned script would not fit well
  • during this process I noticed certain body language and expressions that actually inspired certain words to be added or changed in the script
  • I used creative editing and filming away from her face so that you could not tell that the words were not in sync with her movements


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October 25, 2011 at 7:02 PM Flag Quote & Reply

sylentwhysper
Moderator
Posts: 1183

TIPS from SSProductions (from previous discussion)


Using voices certainly opens up more flexibility for movies and series but it is hard work. Processing the audio takes the same length of time as filming an episode (and mine tend to be around 18 mins each now eek). I'm glad more people are thinking of using voices in their movies. Either way works, initially I modified the script to fit in with some footage but now I do the script and voices first, then film once the audio files are set up in Vegas.

 

Any dialog will work, it's all about illusion. There are only a few animations which work well, but no one will notice you recycling them as they'll be concentrating on what is being said.  I often film from different angles. You can also recylcle quite a bit of footage, even whole scenes but no one notices this as they are concentrating on the dialog. Also, the most important thing is continuity. That can make or break the suspension of disbelief. I often have dialog showing the speaker and the listener, breaking it up so it flows naturally. Also, filler shots can be useful too, such as a random object or a scenic shot. If you sync it right, it can seem that the sim is really saying those words, but again it's all about illusion, what the brain interprets. I can use the same peice of footage with various different lines and it looks like they are actually saying the words lol. It's really a case of trial and error, and finding a method that works best for ya'll. And most importantly, have fun

 


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October 25, 2011 at 7:06 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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