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Hi everyone, I'm a wet behind the ears newbie. In the coming months I'll be doing a series of langauge recordings for a program I'm working on.

These will be done with mixers and microphones in a home studio type environment(exact equipment to be determined).

Anyway, my question is based around the fact that I'll have hours of recorded audio transcripts, several voice actors, and hundreds of conversations.

In your opinion would it be better to record each person's lines individually and splice them together or include everyone that will be in the conversation on the same recording session?

With option 1 I would think you would have less "takes" and screw ups since 1 person could focus on their lines. But you'd have much higher editing costs(if it's even possible) taking their sound bites and adding the person opposite them in the conversation after each line.

With option 2 it would require almost zero editing but you could be in the studio for hours on end if someone keeps screwing the recording up half way through.

Not sure if I'm looking at this the right way or not. Opinions and thoughts please, would love to hear what you think. Thanks!

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Boswell Mon, 07/11/2011 - 08:34

Given that the quality of existing language CDs is considered acceptable, you would be better off having one speaker in at a time and getting all the lines for that speaker recorded. Then get the next speaker in to sit in the same chair using the same mic in the same surroundings. This will minimize differences in vocal acoustics. You may have to adjust the gain a little for the different speakers, but only to compensate for differences in loudness of delivery. The talent need only leave a gap long enough to splice out in his script between his lines either for another speaker to come in or the user to reply.

Don't worry about the talent making mistakes and re-voicing the phrase (as long as you spot the errors at the session!), since copying and pasting re-takes out of the original track session into a final edit is what it's all about. When you have got all the takes, arrange them in on your DAW screen all starting at the same point and then start copying the sections in script order from the different speakers into a master track. This is the point at which the timing of the phrase gaps and user response gaps is done.

The final editing is what makes the CD usable - it's not a trivial part of the whole process.

arkana Wed, 07/13/2011 - 07:11

Ok, thanks, I appreciate the insight. Kind of what I was thinking, although the idea of splicing thousands of lines together sounds a little daunting. You have any other thoughts or ideas on the most efficient way to do something like this is? I'm not sure what a DAW screen is either(I researched is some but still seems a little greek to me), not sure if that would make things manageable.

Anyway, thanks again for the help!

Boswell Wed, 07/13/2011 - 07:49

DAW ("digital audio workstation") is a shorthand way of describing what your computer becomes when it is running an audio capture and editing software package. It's also commonly (but mistakenly) used to mean the software itself.

Unless and until you have done a job of the type you are describing using a DAW, it's hard to think of it as a liberating and easy way of working rather than something daunting and indefinitely time-consuming. You could maybe try out a few simple tasks by downloading the free package Audacity and using it even with the built-in sound card in your computer. The sound quality will not be great, but it would give you an idea of the way of working. If you feel you could tackle a larger project, then consider getting a proper microphone and an audio interface and try it out for real.

We're here to help in your choice of microphone and interface, so when it comes to the point, tell us a bit more about how you intend to go about the project, the sort of vocal booth or room you will be using and your budget, and we can make some suggestions.