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Liz de Nesnera records on the road with her version of Harlan Hogan’s Porta-Booth.
Travelin’ VOs: Why Stop Voicing
On Vacation? A Portable to Pack ...
By Liz de Nesnera
Voice Actor
Vacation time is coming. Yay! And your family is THRILLED!
“We’ll actually get to see her (or him) without a script in hand or the blue glow of the computer screen reflecting so flatteringly in her eyes!”
But wait. You love what you do. You’ve been working your tail off getting those repeat clients who send you scripts every week. So do you really want to give up the thrill of the mic to “get away” from a job you love? (Sorry, family.)
What you need is a portable recording set-up for vacation – and, of course, for your travels to VO training and conferences.
I believe your best choice for this is voice actor Harlan Hogan’s Porta-Booth. There’s no way I can better describe how to build it than Harlan himself, in an earlier VoiceOverXtra Home Studio feature, Quality Recordings On The Go - And On The Cheap.
So as I bow deeply to the master, please check out that article. But then come back to me! Because I’ve got extra tips based on my own VO road warrior experiences.
Back already? Great!
Now here are a few more logistical tips for recording successfully on the road.
Stand up, sit or hang up? If you’re like me and don’t have an iPhone to read scripts off of, and you don’t carry a printer with you (there ARE limits!), here’s what I do:
I try to set up the Porta-Booth on a high shelf in the hotel room that I’m staying in, so that I can actually be standing when I record. It’s a preference.
But of course, if all you have is a table, that’s fine too.
Another option is to hang the Porta-Booth in the closet. Use a belt through the loop of the box. Then hold your laptop and read from the screen.
Heads up. People often ask me, “How do you read your scripts if you have your head stuck in that thing?”
Well, actually you don’t have to stick your head in it. Just get close enough to it.
You will have to look at your laptop or iPhone at a bit of an angle as you read, but once you find the comfortable set-up, it’s easy.
See big Words. In terms of scripts, I’m an MSWord girl, so I zoom in on the script to make the print larger and easier to read from the screen.
In Word, click: View – Zoom – Page Width.
For recording in a hotel room, I have found the best time is from 11 a.m. to 5p.m. It’s after all the business people have gone off to their meetings and before they all come back ready to party!
If you don’t mind making your own bed, put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door and start recording.
When I attended the VOICE 2007 conference last year, my set-up worked like a dream, and I was even able to help a few fellow voice-over talents record THEIR jobs on it.
Before packing up this equipment for your trip, test the system with a trusted client.
Last year when I was ready to hit the road, I called one of my favorite clients and asked if I could send them a test file to check. They were amazed at the sound quality, and were thrilled that I would still be able to record while I was “away.”
So bottom line, what do you need to record on the road?
  • Collapsible box
  • 4 panels of acoustic foam
  • Mic with desktop stand
  • Small preamp
  • Laptop computer with email, word processing and sound editing software installed
For instance, my own VO road warrior travel kit includes:
  • My version of Harlan Hogan’s Porta-Booth
  • Laptop with Sound Forge 8 recording/editing software and Word 2007
  • CAD Equitek e1002 mic
  • Pop filter
  • Centrance MicPort Pro preamp
  • Audio Technica headphones
That’s it! You may not be able to record War and Peace with this gear, but it works great for short- to medium-sized jobs.
Let’s face it: we as voice talent have a dream job. Everyone and their brother wants to “get into voice-over” these days. People who don’t love their jobs as much as we do may not understand why we would WANT to “work” while we’re on vacation, but I make no apologies.
Just ask your family to allow you an hour a day of your vacation to voice (and have fun making money and keeping those hard-earned clients happy).
Promise them an extra hour at the pool and an extra-special dessert after dinner … after all, you can afford it. You’ve just voiced some scripts!
Liz de Nesnera is an ever-joyful voice actor with years of experience in voice acting, based in the tri-state New Jersey, New York, Connecticut area. Voicing commercials, narration and telephony in English and French, she also writes an entertaining and informative blog, A Frog in My Throat … or … Un Chat Dans La Gorge!
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Comments (1)
Yoofi Brew
3/24/2011 at 3:53 PM
Wow. I am just being let in on this wonderful portabooth stuff, and I must admit I already love the look and feel of it before I even laid hands on one.
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