If you have tried recording an audiobook or maybe multiple characters in a video game, you have probably met with the problem of remembering all of the character voices.
In this short article we will overview how to memorize or rather maintain the same voice when recording multiple characters voices for larger projects.
Write down notes about the character
The list of notes does not have to be extensive. Just write down a few words or a couple sentences about a character such as “gritty, stubborn, charismatic, hot headed” or “Loves to talk a lot, friendly, inappropriately open, nonchalant”.
The more notes the more specific the character. It might be overwhelming to follow all the character notes if there are plenty of them. Keep it simple rather than trying to be “funny”, but “depressed” at the same time.
Record samples of character voices
One of the best ways to remember your character voices is to record them. Just have a few perfectly recorded lines of a character. When you forget how he or she sounds listen to these recording.
Make a completely separate folders for each character and add samples of their speech from different situations. At the same time, follow your notes. Also, it helps if you have notes from a director or book author.
You can use EQ and/or pitch effects for your characters if need be. To make it hassle free create presets for effects and you won’t ever have to think about what kind of settings you were using when applying the effect.
Maintain the Same Distance From the Microphone
To keep your recordings similar, make sure you are always recording at the same distance from the microphone. You have probably noticed already that once you get away from recording position it is hard to get the same sound again.
Also, it is not just about the distance. Maintain the same position as well. If you always have the microphone at the chest level and move it up a bit you will notice it starts to sound slightly different. To make it consistent, always maintain same distance and the same position. If you adjust your chair or table height adjust the microphone accordingly so it is in the same spot.
Record during the same time in the day
Our voices sound different throughout the day. In the morning we naturally have lower pitched voice because of all the mucus accumulating on vocal cords during the night.
Waking up early will also make you sound apathetic and indifferent. In addition, if you are recording tired in the evening it is going to be hard to sound energetic so don’t try recording energetic characters in the evening, it could work for more lethargic characters, however.
In overall, to keep your characters voices all nice and consistent follow at least some sort of rhythm. It does not mean you need to record a character at the exact same hour every day. But it would help if you didn’t record the same character early in the morning and then late in the evening.
In general you will sound the most consistent when recording after at least a few hours past waking up time and at least a few hours before going to bed.
If you want your voice to sound even more consistent try doing the same voice exercises before recording. Humming for example could get rid most of the mucus accumulated on your vocal cords if recording in the morning. It could also make your voice a bit warmer, more pleasant and articulated.
Record in the same environment
To keep consistency it is very important you record in the same environment. When you choose a room, stick with it for the whole project.
Each room or space has its tone and changing the environment will make a difference in the recording. Larger rooms will have more echo, while smaller rooms might make your voice sound boxy.
It is also hard to repeat the same sound absorption since different rooms will have different furniture, etc.
When trying to keep your characters consistent it is not just about remembering how they sound and memorizing their characteristics, although that’s a major part of the task.
In addition, to all the vocal differences try maintaining the same DAW settings, distance, timing and environment when recording. It will all help you to achieve a more consistent performance.