We have a bit of a love-hate relationship with heatwaves in the UK, but for voiceover artists the extremes of weather can be especially tricky.. As well as the heat itself, thunderstorms present particular issues – even the best studios can suffer interference from crashes of thunder and streaks of lightning!
The problems of voiceover recording during a heatwave
- Most of us are working from small booths without windows, perhaps surrounded by heavy theatrical curtains which can’t be pulled back to let a bit of air in. This type of set-up is crucial to ensure a nice clean recording with no echo
- Unfortunately any type of fans will interfere with recording. Even the quietest fan will be picked up by a professional mic and aircon units are rarely silent. It isn’t always possible to edit out this kind of interference afterwards
- Speaking for long periods is dehydrating at the best of times – even in winter you will see voiceover artists sipping water every few minutes. This is necessary to prevent undesirable mouth noise, which is not normally audible, being picked up by the mic
- We are also likely to have a fair bit of equipment in the booth with us – all of which adds to the heat!
For short jobs these issues are manageable, but for long form voiceover like audiobooks or eLearning, several hours in the booth can start to feel like working in a sauna!
What can voiceover artists do to keep cool during recording?
- One benefit of working from a home studio is you can wear what you like – although a top is at least recommended if a client is directing you over Skype 😉
- Since fans are out, a top tip is to sit with your feet in a good old fashioned bowl of iced water for instant cool
- Another trick is to fill a hot water bottle and freeze it the night before, for a long lasting ice pack that can be kept close at hand
- Taking regular breaks and keeping well-hydrated are essential – fresh lemon juice in water can be more hydrating that plain water, and for a very long recording session you might also consider an OTC rehydration solution
- Long thick hair can be extremely hot – so if, like me, you record ‘sans headphones’ you can try wetting your hair to keep cool during a session
In my view it’s best to be honest with clients – if the weather might cause an issue then try to reschedule the recording date, rather than struggle through and end up with poor quality audio either because you are too uncomfortable to give a good performance, or your audio has been compromised by fans or mouth noise.