Zone Recording: Voice Overs

Hello readers. First off let me say thanks for making my new album "When the Aliens Come" the Most Popular Overall since its release date of February 23, 2007. Also please stop by and visit the new

Ok, so you want some extra money? Sure? Well, we all could use a little more for a trip, a new piece of gear, a night to treat the lady just right, etc. Well, if you have a project studio as most of us do, you are already there.

I used to work for a Audiovisual company called Frishkorn Audio years back. It was here that I met some very cool people dealing with live production. One such person was Dave Page who was my boss at the time. He has since then moved on and started his own company called Leading Edge Audio Visual Services Ltd.

Dave and myself always stayed in touch, and he has had me do some audio work for him in the past at Brainworks, my project studio.


The type of work is doing voiceovers. Many companies have these awards shows every year, or conferences where they need audio to go with their presentations. This is quite standard - and how many companies are there out there? Millions!

The gig goes like this.

The client contacts you to do voiceover work. Sometimes they will have the talent (broadcast voice person hired), or sometimes they will ask for a recommendation. Usually a singer with great diction can get the gig so it might be your chance to help out that person that you never returned that favor to yet!

You will get a script emailed to you. Some can be very long, or some can be short. The main thing is organization. Make sure you print off a few copies for yourself and the talent for the session. However, before that even happens you need to start an organized file system for the session.

Here is an example of one that I recently did:

Categories 1 - 9

* Categories 1 - 9 Residential Planning, Design & Construction - New
* Categories 10 - 13 Residential Planning, Design & Construction - Renovation
* Categories 14 - 24 Interior Design & Merchandising - New or Renovation
* Categories 25 - 26 Landscape Design
* Categories 27 - 33 Sales & Marketing
* Categories 34 - 39 Special Achievement Awards
* Categories 40 - 44 Grand Georgie Awards

Category #1 Best Single Family Detached Home Under 2,000 Sq. Ft.

Project: The Blair Residence
Primary: Braylin Contracting Ltd.

Project: Richmond Coach House
Primary: Pacific Western Developments (2006) Limited

Project: Yorkson Village
Primary: Morningstar Homes Ltd.

Project: Nicola Project
Primary: Solution Renovations Inc.
Associate: tdSwansburg Design Studio

Project: West 15th Duplex
Primary: Townline Homes

There were 44 different categories and each category was filled with another 5 or 6 sub sections.

I had to organize my folders to work with this to keep the workflow clean. This way it would be easy to throw in the necessary voiceover parts into their folders on the session day.

OK, the pre-organizing was done.

Next the set up in Brainworks. Quite easy as you can see from the pictures.


Notice the music stand covered with a towel. This is to absorb reflections from the metal stand into the mic which would make the voice sound metallic. Also notice the reading light to make sure all words can be seen. Also notice the Pop screen filter to help with sonic implosions.


As the session was going on, there was the director and his assistant, the talent (who was Nenah Barkley), and Dave Page - with another associate upstairs chilling.

We would input the script with Nenah laying down the necessary info.

Here is an example mp3. Notice this example is from the above Category #1 script so you can read along as you hear the mp3.

We did 44 categories like this. It took about 4 hours for Nenah to do the script.

After that, I had to edit all of the wave files to make sure there was always 3 seconds between each reading. Also, each wave had to be mastered at the same volume.

I used the Waves C4 plug with the great preset "Voice Over" as a plug on the channel; I also rolled off everything under 120 Hz in the voice. Then each wave file was mastered in Wave lab with the Timeworks Mastering compressor, DB Audio Mastering Limiter and the Waves Ultramaxamizer.

Then all files had to be put in the correct folders and checked with the script before sending to the client. All went well and there were only minor changes with some spacing issues and a few words that needed to be copied and moved around.

That was pretty much it. Then you get to invoice! Overall it might be a full day's work, but if your studio has some downtime, and you want to make some extra money, it can be quite lucrative!

May the tone be with you.

David Martone is a guitarist from Vancouver, Canada who has released seven solo CDs which showcase his musical diversity and brilliant guitarmanship.

His 2007 CD is entitled "When The Aliens Come", which features a progressive sound incorporating jazz, rock, fusion and metal influences.

David Martone