This week brought one of the strangest (and most awesome) jobs I've ever had. It involved what's known as ADR, or automated dialogue replacement. When you watch TV or films, there's a good chance they've used it in that production and you won't even realise. Here's an example: imagine a man chasing his enemies through a forest, fighting each one as he reaches them, the camera angles are many and varied. Surely they just clip a mic on him to record what he's saying, right?
And that's what I was doing this week. Not as Wolverine obviously, but as bodybuilders.
Bodybuilders posing and hulking up in competition. I had to match up breaths, grunts and growls and was not going to film myself doing so. There was a huge amount of face pulling and minuscule muscle flexing, which nobody should have to see. So in lieu of that, here's a nice shot of me afterwards.
ADR isn't just used when getting the actors words recorded live is tricky. It might be that during editing, someone spots background noise that interferes with the voice, or an actor might even wish to try a line a different way.
For my regular blog readers it must seem that I spend a lot of time in my vocal booth just making strange noises. Well, you're spot on, and some of it is for work.
Completely at the other end of the spectrum, I had a couple of narrations for a charity called Global Relief Trust. They're doing great work across the globe providing aid to areas of conflict and disaster zones. I'm proud to be voicing for them and especially after this latest job - I learnt how they're providing hundreds of thousands of people with clean water and food. Something so many of us take for granted.
One of my favourite types of read to do is the natural style. I had a script come in this week for a recruitment agency, which lent itself exactly to that tone of voice. Now, if what I've read on some websites is true, voiceover is just talking into a microphone. Well, that is part of it but even for a natural read, there's a bit more to it.
You have to think about the words and their meaning, what message you're trying to get across, who you're speaking to, who I am as the speaker, what happened immediately prior to the script (a reason for saying these words), what emotion do you want the audience to feel, will I get through it without needing to pop to the loo?
A "natural" voice in voiceover is a bit different to a "natural" voice in real life. I definitely don't go through the above questions before I talk to my mum about this weeks shopping delivery. My voice during those conversations (no matter what they're about) is probably quite dull, monotone even. (I hope Google doesn't pick up on that). In a rather lengthy way, I'm saying the natural voice in voiceover terms is more interesting to listen to - it's projected at a higher level (not pitch) and the intonation (the "tune" of the voice) is elevated.
To wrap up the week, this morning I had some on hold messages for a watch repair company based in Manchester. (If it takes your fancy, here you can read about the benefits of professionally recorded phone greetings). This client is one of the nicest, most polite people I've ever encountered - and I've met me! But seriously, if you've read any of my other blog entries, you'll know I love to record all things telephone, so this was a delightful end to the week.