With more and more work being done out of actors’ homes, good equipment is a must. For those who work in voice-over or audiobook narration, creating a recording space for auditions or projects can elevate the quality of your recordings and increase the number of projects you are able to take on. Even if you have access to a studio outside the home, it can be good to have the ability to record in your own space. But if you’re feeling a bit at sea when figuring out where to start, here are some basic tips to point you in the right direction.
Create a Space.
Space can be hard to come by. Most of us don’t have convenient spare rooms lying around that we can convert into studios. (If you do, that’s fantastic, go all out!) So, when you’re trying to create a space in which to record, closets are the most accessible backup. If it’s a large closet, get a chair in there and set up a permanent mic fixture. However, you don’t need a ton of space to record a good VO audition. Standing room only will work just fine.
Don’t forget that creating a space can be about more than technical considerations. You want to set yourself up for success and cultivate an environment that produces good work. Ideally, you’ll have a comfortable chair and plenty of water at hand (green apples are also excellent for clearing out excess mouth noises). Any efforts you can make with the goal of making the space comfortable, calming and aesthetically pleasing will help boost your mindset.
Soundproofing is key for good quality audio. If you want to do it upright, foam is a great cost-effective option that can be installed without too much damage to the surrounding environment. However, if you need something more transitional, hanging cushiony blankets can help dampen extraneous noise. Don’t forget the floors!
To get a good sound, you’re going to need good equipment. Yes, recording on your phone under a blanket can cut it for certain auditions, but if you’re looking to step up your game, you’re going to want to invest a little. This is going to look a little different for everyone depending on your budget, your space, and the type of work you’re looking to produce. I definitely recommend doing your research, and if possible, consulting with industry professionals who are well-versed in setting up home studios. That being said, it’s a good bet you’re going to be looking for certain basics. You’ll want to make sure you have a laptop or computer where you can download and edit. Make sure to figure out whether you have a USB port or whether you might need a USB to mini USB converter! Over-the-ear headphones will make your life a lot easier and of course, a good microphone is crucial. Don’t forget a mic stand or clip-style attachment, mic cord and interface.
For a budget DIY studio, your basic setup will be: microphone hooks to interface via mic cord, interface hooks to computer via interface cord and your headphones hook directly into the interface to listen. As you’re researching, look to see what equipment bundles might be available to save some extra money.
Having a space to record quality VO samples can be invaluable for an actor. Don’t be intimidated if you’re working out of a small apartment on a tight budget. Do some research and get creative. A little investment can go a long way.