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Book on CD

So I have been given a project to do a book on CD. Easy, I thought. But this is actually much more challenging than I originally thought.

The first issue was getting the author comfortable with my AKG C 414 XL II without it obstructing her ability to read the book comfortably. I found that I could get great results by putting the microphone at about 10 o'clock with the cardioid pattern pointed towards her from about 8 inches away. But I wonder if I should look into buying an omni condenser lavalier so that she is more comfortable. Is it possible to get as great of quality with one of these? Also, would they cause more problems with my second issue?

The second issue has been page turns and any kind of body movement. I am using the renaissance channel and using the gate in the plug. She has been very careful to make as little noise as possible with page turns and etc. But it is so difficult to have the audio completely clean with her voice only. This task is difficult considering the fact that only vocals are on the final track, so little movements and other sounds don't get buried at all. Of course, I can go through the long process of more exact editing of silence (that the gate doesn't capture well), but I would prefer another method.

Any suggestions that any of you might have to make this 30 plus hour project easier would be greatly appreciated.


Goose3 Thu, 05/31/2007 - 13:08
Afraid I won’t be of much help. I’ve done quite a few audio books, myself and anyone else I know who records them always does a editing pass to take out page turns, mistakes, water breaks, ect. I have never had a voice over talent read an entire book all the way through with no interruptions. Depending on the book a good voice over talent will try to capture the “voice” of the author. Usually they don't mess up speaking the sentence they may just repeat the same sentence in a different tone or manner to best capture what the author is trying to get across. This of course takes editing some where along the way. Some people I know will edit on the fly stoping the talent and cutting out unwanted parts as they go.

Sometimes if I have an author who wants to read the book themselves they go into a studio, record the book, and depending on the studio will send me material that is unedited and I edit it myself. (I do this sometimes because it is cheaper, some studios may charge different prices for editing the job and I can usually do it cheaper myself)

I know this isn’t really helping you other then letting you know that recording audio books usually involves some level of editing.

It must a pretty long book to take 30 hours on the project? Course then after I edit I have proof people who listen to the audio book to ensure accuracy or any mistakes that didn’t get edited out. So 30 hours is probably right for a long book.

As for a mic, I don’t recommend a lav, not that you couldn’t get the job done with it but the AKG would probably work best.

Dizzi45Z Thu, 05/31/2007 - 16:23
Goose3 wrote: Afraid I won’t be of much help.

Actually, this does really help. At least it lets me know that I am going in the right direction and that audio books just require lots of editing. The book itself isn't going to take the 30 hours. The book is about 200 pages. But then they want to record 30 hours of audio from the author explaining aspects about the book and etc. We have pretty much finished the book and I have sliced together the punch ins, but now I need to go through and edit sounds that the gate doesn't catch and etc. I am also glad to hear that you use an editor to listen through the book to catch any thing that may be missed. I have already asked them to have somebody else listen to the book when I am finished before they stamp it as final and ship it to the replicator. Knowing that other recording engineers have done this lets me know that I am not alone in wanting help on catching content and etc. It is hard to focus on noises/quality and content at the same time.

Dizzi45Z Sat, 06/02/2007 - 08:24
Halifaxsoundguy wrote: option for next time? Get the client to bring book in PDF format and read it off a flat screen monitor. you'd then only have to edit out the odd clicking of the mouse.

Might not be a bad idea. I wonder if I would pick up the mouse dragging too though?

I have to let you all know that I discovered a new favorite trick (maybe everybody else already knows this). But the beginning of recording the book had lots of gross mouth noise. I was going through and cutting out every little mouth sound. But then I decided to try Sony's restoration tool, Click and Crackle remover. I set the settings somewhat high and it removes 98% of the mouth noises. I am stoked!!! It is going to save me so much time and work. I assume that any click and crackle remover would do this.

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 06/08/2007 - 16:42
Just be careful the plugin only takes out those mouth noises and doesn't affect any stuff you want to keep in there.

I have found that punching in on the fly is very helpful. It helps the talent with consistency and saves in editing later on.

Books on tape can be time consuming, depending on the reader. If you have someone who knows the content really well and has great control over their vocal chords, then it can make a world of difference.

I too would recommend avoiding the lav mic, although I have thought about trying some of the headset mics to see what I could get out of those.