About the KDMC advice on “standups and voice-overs”

There’s not a whole lot to really discuss with the KDMC tutorial “Standups and Voice-Overs.” But I’ll kick it off by suggesting two things:

  • “Common sense” is rarely either, and while a lot of this might just seem obvious (especially to those of you with some kind of performing experience), I think there’s some good bits of wisdom here, especially for those of us who don’t have this kind of performance experience.
  • What sorts of other advice/tips to people who have more experience with these things beyond what we’ve already read with Halbritter and here?

18 thoughts on “About the KDMC advice on “standups and voice-overs”

  1. Tracey Sonntag

    Whoa. I re-recorded myself telling part of my story, holding the script up instead of in my lap, and there really is a BIG difference! I never really even considered that. My hub is extremely musical, and he already told me about the big, open mouth and diaphragm-breathing, but now I need to do a couple more tests while smiling, frowning, and playing with natural-sounding pauses. I loved this article!

    Reply
    1. Jonathan Furlette

      Yes, really great article! I agree that makes a huge difference when you are recording; it is helpful to have an adjustable music stand and/or table when recording vocals. Another thing that I have to be constantly aware of is “p’s” and “b’s,” the pop (or bop) that can occur when pronouncing certain words, it can cause the audio to spike which creates distortion. Especially in recording for vocals in music, one over-pronunciation can mess everything up which requires you to go back and rerecord. It is difficult to replicate identical recording conditions, so if you do have to go back and fix spikes it can be a real problem to try and make everything sound authentic.

      Reply
  2. Adam Czarnecki

    I think this is all good advice. It made me think, too, about the difference in “ethos” between a voiceover and a standup. A standup is really an appeal to the credibility of the speaker in order to strengthen the message. Watching a news broadcast, even, you may think that you’re watching for the news, but there’s also a sense of “this is Chuck Gaidica (or whoever) telling me this.” A voiceover, on the other hand, is more about the message itself… unless it’s a celebrity voiceover, of course.

    I suppose one area where we can consider this is in crafting how-to videos. A lot of how-to videos start with the speaker introducing him or herself and then getting into the details, but a lot also just start with the details and don’t bother with introductions. Plumbing, for instance. If I’m following a how-to video, I want to “meet” the person doing it and learn about their experience before I follow them. Whereas a quick how-to showing me how to replace the hard drive in my computer, I really only want the facts and don’t care much who is telling them to me. How do we know which method would be more appreciated by our audience?

    Reply
    1. Jennifer B.

      Why would you want to know the plumber but not the computer tech? Knowing what I do of your background I wonder if it’s because plumbing is less familiar to you than the computer technology that you work with every day? Just a musing…perhaps there is some element of “trust” that needs to be built with the speaker before we are willing to just accept their advice on a topic that is new to us…this is an interesting thing to consider.

      Reply
      1. skrause Post author

        I think the introducing of yourself in these videos is usually a way to establish some “ethos” on the part of the narrator, so for me, I think seeing a credible person helps me as as an audience member that the advice I’m getting is credible. When it comes to both plumbing and replacing hard drives, I kind of want some assurance that the person giving me the advice knows what they’re talking about (basically). So I think I want to see both of them.

        Now, for someone showing me something that is a little less mission critical/less complicated– say tying a tie– I don’t know if I’d care as much.

        Reply
        1. Adam Czarnecki

          Tying a tie is a better example. Jennifer was right by saying that I’m more comfortable with computer hardware so would really only be watching to see where the “parts” are on a particular model, whereas I know very little about plumbing.

          Reply
    2. Jonathan Furlette

      Interesting, I never thought of it that way before! The distinction that you make here is important. It is also important to wholly consider the audience that you are catering to. It is fascinating to me that the customer controls the market, and that depending on the project you are working on, a “how-to” video may or may not contain an actual face. I know that it has been helpful to me in the past to have a “face to a voice” when following tips and tricks in audio recording videos. With computers, because not every set-up is the same, it can be tough following along without having to pause and rewind every 15 seconds, depending on the quality and effectiveness of the speaker and the video. In technology, in the digital age in which we live, it seems like the machines that we interact with are getting easier and easier to use, and that “user-friendly” is sometimes the determining factor in deciding a products’ effectiveness.

      Reply
  3. Lisa Pignotti

    One thing I made sure to do for my audio recording was to highlight the operative words. This really helped with clarification and to project more meaning for the listener to get from the recording. Warming up and practicing are also good advice, but even after doing this I still found myself stumbling over my words. Thank goodness I was able to edit most of that out though!

    Reply
    1. Danielle

      I also really appreciated the advice on highlighting/bolding the operative words. I did this when I recorded mine last night and it helped me to make sure I gave my message the emphasis I wanted. And yeah, I struggled with stumbling over words, too, but fortunately it’s pretty easy to edit or re-record in small parts. I’m a little annoyed that I have a cold right now and so I sound congested in my recording!

      Reply
  4. Molly McCord

    I actually did a kind of voice-over with one of my 50+Ways project stories. I put together an animated slideshow on Powtoon (a site I’d never used before) and I had a script with some narration I wanted to use with the slideshow. I thought I’d be able to record separate pieces of the narration for each individual slide, but I discovered I could only upload one whole audio track as a voice-over for the entire slideshow. So I played the slideshow while reading my script to make sure the voice-over was timed correctly. The voice-overs section in the KDMC advice article says, “try to sound conversational when you talk – not like you’re reading from a script or lecturing to someone. Tell the story, don’t read it.” I found it a bit difficult NOT to read my narration script, since I didn’t want to stumble over my words (and I was trying to tell the same story my other 50+ Ways project–so I suppose I felt limited in terms of what I could say in that respect). I thought the advice about pauses was relevant to any audio recording since awkward pauses can be….well, awkward!

    Reply
  5. Jennifer B.

    I don’t know if anyone else is doing this, but I printed this tutorial to keep because I thought it was a great “getting started quick guide.” I have basically no experience in working with audio and I find myself REALLY excited to be doing it as we work through this project. I think like Adam mentioned on the Selfe string, sometimes the challenge is just getting over your fear that it’s NOT that hard…

    Reply
    1. Danielle

      I didn’t think to print the tutorial, but that might not be a bad idea. I’m actually having a lot of fun with this project so far too. When I graduate I’m planning on freelancing as a writer full-time, and I’ve been working on a website lately and trying to put together a portfolio. The more I play around with this audio stuff and get ideas for the “how-to” project, the more I’m realizing that this could be valuable to include in my portfolio and on my website. The “This I Believe” essays have been really inspiring, too (for those who are going that route) :)

      Reply
      1. Jennifer B.

        I go to work now thinking about how I will apply what we are learning with these projects in my work world. I think we are sadly behind the times – even for our dry industry – on what we make available to interest potential partners and customers…but I plan to change that in the upcoming year…I’ve already gotten a few cool ideas I’d like to implement. Not to sound cornballish, but I’ve found our class pretty inspiring so far!

        Reply
  6. Seth

    Why, I delivered a crappy stand-up just this evening! We gave short (5 minute) presentations in my 524 class tonight, and I gave mine just a few minutes after walking in the door. Not having taken any time to think through my points or “warm up,” it definitely felt stiff and I had trouble keeping my thoughts in order. I’ve always been comfortable speaking publicly, but taking a few minutes to collect yourself and prepare really does make a difference. Also, I think the foot shuffling admonition is a good one. I always realize after giving a speech that I’ve been moving around way too much. Luckily, I never have any important information to convey.

    Reply
    1. Molly McCord

      Seth, I think your point about having time to warm up before delivering a presentation is important. It actually made me think of times when I walk into my classroom first thing in the morning or after a weekend, thinking I know how I’m going to present the material to the students but actually feeling rather unorganized and foggy without a quick warm up. Even after I’ve prepared a class agenda in advance (actually, especially if I’ve prepped in advance), I need to at least glance over it and try to picture the order of events before entering the classroom. Although teaching/presenting a lesson isn’t exactly the kind of standup the article is discussing, I could certainly see how some of the warm up techniques could be applicable to the classroom environment.

      Reply
      1. Jonathan Furlette

        Interesting that you both feel this way! I also need a second to catch my breath, get a drink of water etc., however, I often think that I do much better in impromptu situations. If I over think or over-prepare for something it creates more anxiety, for me, and I do not perform as well. The best presentations I have witnessed/participated in have all seem very conversational in nature, and though the presentor may have some guidelines and points that they intend on touching on, the information does not appear to be scripted.

        Reply
        1. Lisa Pignotti

          It is interesting you say this, Jonathan, because I do get the feeling when I over-prepare I’m not as engaging, but for peace of mind I over-prepare a lot. Maybe I should stop? But for audio/video recordings I think warming-up and practicing is key to making a production.

          And Seth, your presentation was fine! :)

          Reply
          1. Molly McCord

            I think this is an interesting distinction, Lisa. Maybe there is such a thing as over preparing for an informal class presentation or other “live” presentations, but for audio/visual recordings, the prep work seems more necessary. Maybe this is because in live presentations it’s possible to “revise” as we go (restate or offer further explanation in a non-linear fashion), but with recorded material, things seem more permanent. This makes me think about the distinction between the spoken and written word as well; writing seems more difficult because it’s kind of recorded on paper as a product, whereas speaking seems a bit more flexible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>