1. Preproduction v
vp1-1. Five skills
vp1-3. Keeping track
vp1-4. First impression
vp1-5. Successful scouting
vp1-6. Words of wisdom
vp2-1. Five production skills
vp2-2. Pep talk
vp2-6. Words of wisdom
vp3-1. Five skills
vp3-3. Grading and graphics
vp3-6. Words of wisdom
Narrating your movies adds a personal touch that not even a pro can match. This chapter covers the key aspects to narrating your own productions including setting up a proper recording environment.
What you will learn
You will learn how to narrate your own movies, improve your voice, write like you speak, select a microphone and create a video studio.
Your Own Video Studio
A video studio has to be just as concerned with room echo as a sound studio. Except that you do not want sound muffling items and microphones in the shot.
There’s an easy way to break up those hard, flat walls. Not with a sledge hammer but with carpets on the floor and blankets on the walls. Try to block all corners too. Keep the blankets loose and about 10 inches from the wall. Test your sound and you should be ready to go.
There are special microphones for recording narration. But they are not any good if the subject needs to be on camera and not show the microphone.
So I prefer to use a shotgun microphone which can comfortably record a speaker from three-four feet away.
Besides, it’s the same one I use in the field so the sound matches other recordings. Even the cheapest microphone will sound better than using one in a computer.
If using a microphone, it might need ‘phantom power’ which the computer would not supply.
One option is to use a separate sound recorder which already has phantom power.
A sound recorder might be better than recording directly into your computer. If you place the recorder levels on automatic, it should work fine. In manual, keep your average voice level at -12 with your highest level not above -6.
You don’t want to distort your sound by hitting 0 dbs.
Write Like You Speak
The script should read like you speak. The narrators voice should sound conversational.
It should definitely not sound like you’re reading.
As you are recording, you will sometimes instinctively change the script words. That’s OK. Leave it in. Priority goes to a natural speaking rhythm, not polished text.
If speaking on camera, avoid many takes. Imagine you’re just talking to friends. Too many takes will make you tired. And a tired voice will kill the project energy.
A Good Narrator’s Voice
Practice your narration. Let some friends and family to hear it. They are the most qualified to judge that your voice sounds like you. It probably won’t at first. You actually have to practice to make it sound natural.
(HARRIS sounds like he’s reading)
Whatever you do, don’t make it sound like you’re reading from a script. Once you can convince your friends that you’re speaking spontaneously, you’re ready. Your personal voice tone will contribute substantially to your project.
(Harris counting 1-2-3 on fingers before and after speaking. Or also show bad example)
When speaking on camera, don’t move for three seconds before and after your talk. This makes it easier to edit by providing space for transitions on both ends.
With a little practice you can narrate your own movies and give it a personal touch that can be more effective than a professional narrator.