* This post is an excerpt from the new book Voice Acting For Dummies written by Stephanie and David Ciccarelli. Whether you’re brand new or a veteran, I promise you’ll learn a lot! *
Building a home studio is a great way to work from home and record at your convenience. You can set your own hours and have the flexibility to record custom auditions for clients. Although purchasing a home studio is a considerable financial investment, in the long term, it saves you time, resources, and money, particularly when you have to record revisions for a client.
In this section, we guide you on selecting your room and making it your own space.
Selecting A Room
You don’t want to choose just any old room in your house for your studio. Typically, a spare bedroom or home office is a perfect location. The room should have the best possible recording conditions, so take into account these considerations:
- Walk around your house or apartment and listen for street noises, loud air conditioning units, or other ambient sounds.
- Find a room that’s quiet and free from these noises (if you can), or choose a room where you can easily block out those noises.
- A second floor typically works better because you’re more isolated from foot traffic, floor squeaks, appliances, and other noises common to a family home.
- Choose a room with several electrical outlets and one that provides space for your recording equipment.
Soundproofing Your Room
There’s actually a whole science dedicated to soundproofing and room treatment called acoustics. Short of filling another book, here we stick to the critical points as they relate to soundproofing your home recording studio.
The primary goal of soundproofing is to prevent unwanted noise from bleeding into your recordings. These unwanted noises can range from a rumble of trucks outside, sirens of emergency vehicles, or kids playing in the background. Even more subtle is the buzzing of an air-conditioning unit or the furnace humming in the background.
There are actually some very low-cost techniques for minimizing external sounds. These techniques include the following:
- Hang blankets on your walls. The blankets help absorb unwanted sounds.
- Utilize dressing dividers and hang thick blankets, such as comforters or duvets, over them. Thicker blankets absorb more sound than a thin blanket, such as a bed sheet.
- Create a portable studio. This studio is simply a box with foam lining the inside. You then place the microphone inside the box, which eliminates a lot of external sounds and gives you a nice clean recording. You can buy a completed portable studio from Harlan Hogan or for instructions on building your own, search online for “how to build a portable studio” or “how to build a porta-booth.”
Making It Comfortable
You’ll be spending a good deal of time in your studio, so you may as well make it comfortable. Personalize your studio so it’s a place you really enjoy spending time. Some voice actors like to decorate their studios with photos of family members or add a few house plants. Others enjoy building a studio that feels like they’re in a production house.
However you decide to decorate, make sure that the design and decorations are conducive to audio recording and absorb noise — not create more of it.
Here are some additional tips:
- Buy a good sitting chair and ergonomic equipment. You’re bound to spend long hours in your studio, whether sitting or standing, so make sure you’re comfortable. A number of voice actors go the extra mile to have special padding under where they stand to help them with posture and to increase their stamina for recording standing up.
- Use bright lighting. Bright light helps you to read your script and minimize eyestrain.
Knowing how construct your home studio is important. Are you ready to learn more about voice acting? To discover more about this exciting field and about the book, visit VoiceActingForDummies.com.
About The Authors
Stephanie Ciccarelli and David Ciccarelli are the founders of Voices.com, the largest global web hub for voice actors. Over the past 9 years Stephanie, David, and their team have grown Voices.com from the ground up to become the leader in the industry. This article was originally published in Voice Acting For Dummies and has been republished with permission from John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
* Click here to pick up your copy of Voice Acting For Dummies *