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What’s one thing that can tank your video? The quality of your voice over.
A well-written script and stunning visuals lose all appeal when your audio sounds like it was recorded during a tornado. Or when we can hear every breath, mouth click and “pop” that comes from your mouth (I’m cringing now thinking about it).
Videos need quality audio, and Vyond videos are no exception.
How do you record and add a professional sounding voice over narration to your Vyond videos? This post explains:
- What Recording Equipment to Use
- Editing Software
- How I Add Audio Files to Vyond Videos
- My Recording Process for Vyond Narrations
Let’s get started.
My first voice over project was for a language school in China. They wanted to record dialogue and vocabulary lists for their textbooks. At the time, I had no idea how to get started. I did the sample recording on my phone (3 times), sent off my audition and got hired!
Audio recorded on a phone or a computer microphone sounds awful. This is because computer and phone mics are set to catch sound from all directions.
When I first started, I thought I could edit it to sound better. I was wrong (So wrong). No amount of editing can salvage poor sound quality.
The area you record in plays a big role in your audio. Ideally, you’ll be in an acoustically treated space. That won’t guarantee pristine-sounding recording though.
The Microphone Matters
You need to start with good equipment. Now, you don’t have to buy professional-grade equipment worth thousands of dollars. But, your default computer microphone isn’t going to cut it.
USB microphones are the most popular choice among podcasters, gamers, and voice-over artists. Google USB microphones and you’ll find a dozen options to choose from. I’ve used 3 microphones in my life (in chronological order):
- Blue Yeti
- Zoom H1N
- Blue Yeti (Again)
Blue Yeti and Blue Yeti Pro
Just about every podcaster uses this microphone. Why? It’s reliable, easy to set up, easy to use, and it sounds great.
I personally can’t tell the difference between the Yeti and the Yeti Pro. According to this lovely chart on Blue’s website, Yeti Pro records a sample rate of 24bit/192KHZ and has a stereo analog output. The Yeti records 16bit/48KHZ and has no output.
For what I do, they sound the same. But, I love these microphones. Instead of a hollow, echoy voice playing back, I heard me.
- They will give you professional sounding audio
- USB connection
- Comes with it’s own stand
- Simple design and features
- Heavy–not ideal to carry around
- A lot of extra equipment (like a boom arm or shock mount) needs to be specific to the Yeti
The Yeti is about $130 and the Yeti Pro is about $250. Neither is the cheapest microphone you’ll find, but if you can, buy this mic. It’s reliable, sounds great and perfect for at-home voice overs.
I found this microphone on a desperate whim. I was on an extended holiday (thanks to covid) in Mozambique and didn’t have my Yeti with me. So, I found a music store who had one portable USB microphone.
That’s why I got the Zoom H1N (you can read my first impressions of it here).
- Small (my IPhone X is about the same size)
- Stereo microphones
- Easy controls
- It feels fragile
- Must buy stand separately
Thanks to import tax, I paid way too much for this microphone. Online, you’ll find it for around $120.
I loved the Zoom H1N when I first got it. And because I travel a lot for work, I thought it would be a handy addition to my collection. But I’ve parted ways with it (amicably of course) and I wouldn’t buy it again.
Software is a rabbit hole. Once you open the door, you don’t know where you’ll end up.
When I first started, I didn’t use any editing software (rookie error). I found this method to be frustrating when I was almost finished with a chunk of text and then made a mistake. I had to re-record the entire thing.
To date, I’ve tried these editing softwares:
GarageBand is only for IOS systems. At the time, I didn’t have a Mac, so I tried to use GarageBand on my IPad. The audio was hard to edit because everything was so small. I gave up on this software early on.
Audacity is free, which is great! If you just need to cut out mistakes in a track, this is a good choice. I found the software hard to use though for anything else.
Mixcraft (Mixcraft 8)
I liked this one. I found out about this software in a Bing search and it was within my budget. It’s aimed toward music makers, but it was fine for recording vocals.
I did two projects in Mixcraft before I discovered Audition. There wasn’t anything that I disliked about this. I preferred Audition more, so I made the switch.
This is what I currently use. Like all Adobe products, it takes time to learn it. Once you know what you’re doing, you can edit audio like a pro.
I record directly to Audition. Then I edit the track and export as either a .wav or .mp3.
Whichever you choose, choose something. You’ll need it. Now, I said it earlier and I’ll say it again. You cannot salvage audio with poor sound quality.
You can make some enhancements, reduce background noise and edit out all the pops and clicks.But, you can’t transform a phone recording into a studio-sounding file. And the less issues you have in recording, the less editing you have to do.
But, you still need to edit the audio if you want it to sound professional.
You have two choices.
- Upload your files into Vyond and sync the audio there.
- Export your video file and add the narration in your video editing software.
I use option 1 because I don’t need to open another program and I can control the timing easily.
Uploading Audio Files to Vyond
This is a super easy process. In the top toolbar, there is an upload icon. Click on it, upload your audio files from your computer. Done.
I use .wav files because they are better.
Syncing Your Narration
This part is a “drag and drop” process. Click on a scene and add the audio file. I set the volume for the narration file to 100-150% and the background music to 6-8%.
To add dialogue for a character, open a scene and click on the character. You’ll see this toolbar in the top right corner.
Click on the microphone to add dialogue. I avoid doing the mic recording because if I mess up, I have to re-record the whole line.
I also avoid text-to-speech because it sounds weird.
You may have noticed that I cut up the audio.
Why did you do that Ame? Why not just upload the entire file?
Control. I do it for control.
Overlaying the entire track makes it harder to get the timing right.
Video scripts tell you what audio goes with which visuals. In Vyond, it can be impossible to make an action happen in one scene. Character movements are my favorite example of this (well, least favorite actually). There are some serious limitations to what characters can do in a scene.
For example, a character can’t stand up and walk away in one scene. To get around that, I make two scenes. Then I add the corresponding audio over both scenes and it appears like it’s one.
It’s easier for me to control the timing when I’m adjusting a scene to fit one segment of audio. And because I know I cut my audio up, this affects how I record it.
I am not a trained voice-over artist, so I approach my recordings from the scriptwriter and video-producer mentality.
“I like to read the entire sentence in one go…
but I leave a brief pause where the audio will attach to a new scene.”
I will save each part as a separate audio file in Audition. This also helps with pacing the video. I’ve gotten voice overs where the narrator sounds like they are in a speed reading competition.
When you give a script to a voice over artist and say, read this in 30 seconds–they will. And if they only have the dialogue, they won’t know how the visuals should flow. A video needs room to breathe. You don’t want a visual on the screen for half a second because the narration has already moved on.
Audio quality matters. You can make the best looking video with the most persuasive message. No one will listen if the audio quality sucks. So, to record professional sounding voice overs, you need:
- A microphone (like the Yeti)
- Editing software
- A quiet space (should go without saying)
Then upload your files into Vyond or overlay the audio in another software. Don’t speed through reading your audio. If you have a lot of content to get through in a short amount of time, revise your script. There are
probably a ton of words you can cut.