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How to Make and Match Revisions
to Your Previous Voice-Over Work
By Melanie Haynes
Voice Actor
We've all had to go back days, weeks, or months later to make revisions to previous voice-over work to accommodate client changes or tweaks.
What does it take to make those revisions blend seamlessly with the previous read style and recording quality?
Well, technically, it's best to be in the same studio with the same mic at the same settings. For those of us doing it from our home voice-over studio, those settings are important, too. It would be ideal to keep good notes about these settings on each recording job.
However, many of us probably work with the same basic settings most of the time. Thus, it becomes a matter of proximity to the mic, levels and ultimately, vocal style.
A good ear is definitely a requirement!

I try to edit in only the amount of voice-over that is absolutely necessary to make the needed change.
First, I listen carefully to the previous read as many times as necessary to get the style, tempo and voice. By voice, I mean whether it's full voice, softer, stronger, higher, lower, etc.
The attitude of the voice-over delivery is very important, and would refer to the style as well.
Then I read a portion of the script that includes the changes several times to recreate the same style, pitch, tempo, etc.
When I get one that I feel is closest, I'll edit the change into the original using only as much as is required to blend for sound and style, and to make a clean edit.
Inserting this after a pause, breath, or at a 'plosive works best. T's, D's, B's, P's generally edit well, providing you're matching all the voice-over details mentioned previously.
After making the edit, I listen carefully through my headphones, and then through the room monitors. When I'm satisfied that the match is seamless, it's done.

A note about revisions to files to which you have edited music for your clients:
Always save a dry master of the original voice-over. Note the title of the music you used, too - or even save a copy of the music in the file folder for this client and project for easy reference.
Then, if revisions are necessary, you can edit the new voice-over to the original dry read and mix again with the music.
Keeping well labeled, easily accessible audio files makes life so much easier. If only I could keep up with my paper filing as meticulously as I try to keep my audio files!

For those of us who work in other studios and via ISDN, the process of matching a previous voice-over read is the same, but without the worry of the technical side of things.
Although we have an engineer who is working on the technical aspects of the actual recording of the voice-over match, we still have the responsibility of using our highly trained ear, acting ability and professionalism in matching our previous read as closely as possible.
It's always so gratifying to hear an audio engineer say, "You're matching your previous read perfectly and making my job so much easier!"

Melanie Haynes has been a professional voice talent and actress for 25 years. She’s a veteran of film, television and theatre who has voiced thousands of radio and television commercials, corporate narrations, web narrations, podcasts, tutorials, on-hold and voice mail messages. Her vocal styles include: professional and authoritative, warm and caring, bright and upbeat, quirky and fun, sensual and sexy. Character voices and dialects are also in her repertoire. She also writes a very informative blog for voice actors.
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