Here’s how to ace directing remote voice over sessions!

3 min read

Let’s be honest. Some of us probably thought working remotely would be a freakily lonely existence. And then it happened. Suddenly, both national and international COVID-19 lockdowns forced everyone into isolation. As someone constantly tasked with directing recording projects, how are you going to make this work? Well, here’s how to ace directing remote voice over sessions!

Context

Based on events still very fresh in recent memory, let’s just reimagine this for a few moments:

A global pandemic has struck the world and shaken it to its core.

Recording studios have been shuttered, filming sites deserted, equipment left to the weather’s whims, and recording booths as dark and lifeless as the day after Armageddon. All the while, you need a voice over for your upcoming holiday project.

As you wander down the streets (hopefully socially-distanced), lamenting the loss of studio facilities and broadcast-quality recordings, something catches your eye.

A glimmer of light flickers from an apartment window – and your heart skips a beat. What a magnificent sight. A person. A pair of headphones. A boom arm and a microphone. It’s a voice over in the making!

remote voice over sessions: image of man with laptop
Photo by Avi Richards on Unsplash

Excitedly, you dash home to hop online, looking for voice actors who work remotely and can still produce top-class recordings. Quick as a wink, you’ve booked a recording session with one of Voice123’s professionals

All you need to do now is sort out the nitty-gritty of proper communication and vocal direction to ace directing your remote voice over sessions.

Connecting with your voice actor

The first step is finding out how you’re going to connect with your voice actor while recording the project.

While it’s fine to stay offline and work asynchronously with your voice actor, we strongly recommend connecting live.

Even if it’s a short project, connecting online can truly enhance your recording session. Firstly, you get to work face-to-face (or voice to voice). These days, we all know how slow communication can feel if you’re working remotely without a live connection.

Think about it — reviewing recorded files, taking notes, sending them, waiting for the next file — this back-and-forth can eat up a lot of time. But if you’re connected live, the creative energy that’s crucial for a good voice over can come through.

Secondly, you can continue to build a good relationship with your voice actor. Building a reliable connection with a voice actor can lend many helping hands to future projects. It also gives the voice actors a chance to feel the project, and a chance to bounce off other actors’ lines. There’s no better way to make directing remote voice over sessions succeed.

Giving them that chance is sure to help you ace your recording session. So, how do we connect? Today, there are several ways. For a long time, ISDN was the norm. Ring a bell?

The digital domain

Integrated Services Digital Network, is what it is if all you know is the acronym. It’s a telephone-network system that transfers data and voice via a digital line. Plugging in while working on voiceovers allows you to hear the voice actor with crystal-clear quality audio. People swear that it can make you feel like you’re in the same studio as the actor.

Another choice? The phone patch. It allows you to basically have a phone call while recording the session, so any direction can be sent and received live.

While a pro voice actor wouldn’t have been regarded as a pro without having an ISDN-type installation in their studio, not everyone could afford it. But times have changed. Broadband provides several worthwhile alternatives.

Services like Source-Connect and ipDTL are among several virtual ISDN services that offer the same ISDN experience, phone patch included. And it’s much more affordable. More detail here.

As long as you have an unshakeable internet connection (always opt for and ask for a wired ethernet connection if possible), working computers, and the voice actor has the right equipment, your remote recording session will hardly seem remote at all!

Prepare

remote voice over sessions: image of hands typing on a laptop
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

As with anything, being prepared sets you up for success. Triple check your script and ensure it’s written well, make sure you know the project in-and-out, and you’re good to go.

More specifically, you should know the roles of your voice actor(s), who they’re speaking to and why, and be prepared for any questions they might have to inform their working process.

With a project, it’s common to have multiple people on the job who aren’t voice actors, including sound engineer, scriptwriter (if it’s not you) and so on. If you’re in charge, take the lead – and if you haven’t yet, familiarize yourself with the language of voice acting so you and your voice actor understand one another perfectly.

Have fun

remote voice over sessions: image of woman laughing
Photo by Jason Yoder on Unsplash

Don’t forget to have fun! You’ll probably find that once you have all this set up, you’ll ace remote recording sessions without even realizing it.

One thing to note, you’ll have to be a master-multitasker here. You’ll need to listen acutely for any inflections, intonations, pauses, and all other small details that build up a voice over. Keep what fits, and throw out the rest.

At the same time, you’ll have to bring the fun into the recording. Remember to be positive, kind, stay light and playful, and you’ll fly. That creative flow, that mental stimulation and artistry — that all comes alive when you’ve prepared well, and you’re all willing to have a good time creating a voice over. Nothing sounds as spontaneous as well-rehearsed spontaneity.

Lest you end up like this. We’ll leave you on that hilarious note – and wish you the very greatest success!