Saturday, December 29, 2012

Audiobook Part 2, Recording

My reader, Amanda Freeman, is amazing. She didn't need directing and is a natural at interpreting my prose and portraying Janie Rose Whitaker. Thank you Amanda!

We learned:
  • Record each chapter into its own file. (Required when uploading to Internet.)
  • Use an electronic book device--a kindle or computer that can be scrolled noiselessly (finger glide, not clicking) to eliminate sounds of page turning. It's okay if you don't have the device, but each time you need to turn a page, stop reading and make sure the reader (and page) is settled before starting to read again.
  • Reader should take a decongestant before the session even if they don't think it is necessary. This is a MUST.
  • Reader should do no writing. We started out having Amanda mark the script each time she had to repeat a line, but the mic picked up the pencil scratching. The second day, I marked the script. It was unnecessary in the long run. I only referred to the script a few times while editing. 
  • When reader makes a mistake, she should pause and then repeat the line. Read the full sentence again, not just a phrase. No need to stop recording. Even when we found it necessary to discuss an issue, we kept the recording running. It is simple to edited out the discussion later.
  • Everyone makes mouth noises--smacks, swallow, breaths, sniffles. Most sounds can be edited out later. The director/technician should not be shy about pointing these out (if they are correctable-- such as starting to read before finishing a swallow. We all do it.)  The hardest sound to edit out is breath on the microphone (use an impact shield) and soupy nose sounds in the middle of words. When/if you hear these noises during recording, STOP immediately and repeat the line. You will regret later that you didn't.  (After this experience, it was hard to listen to speakers in church without mentally editing their noises!) Reader, don't be afraid to stop and breath, blow your nose, etc. It can all be edited out.
  • Take breaks. Don't wear yourself out. The energy at the beginning of the day fades by the end. 
  • We came back a week or so later to "fix" some spots, and even though it was in the same room, the sound in the recording was slightly different. I didn't use most of the material in that last "make-up" session.
  • The homemade sound booth worked great. Using the inner room worked well, too. I'd do it again.
  • Make sure you have a cover/impact shield on the microphone to eliminate bursts of breath.
  • I found it helpful to read along with Amanda. There were a few places that I, as the author, wanted her to interpreted differently. 
Overall the recording part of the experience was a lot of fun. I had the privilege of hearing Chocolate Roses read by an amazing reader, and fell in love with Roger Wentworth all over again.

Reader: What other important points have you learned in recording sessions that you could share here?