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Sunday, October 05, 2014

Breaths Playing Havoc With Your Voice Overs? 3 Ways To Make Breathing Less Intrusive

One of the big issues that concerns voice over artists is hearing breaths on the recording. You can reach the stage where you become SO obsessed with the sound of the sharp release of unwanted air that you forget about the voice and the job in hand.

But there are practical steps you can take to ease the effect and allow you to concentrate on the voice over job in hand. 

In this video I go through 3 steps which I hope prove practical and allow you to breathe more easily:

Video Transcript

You’re reading your script; it’s all going rather swimmingly, and then suddenly, you have an urge; an urge to do something, and you can’t stop it.  It is … breathing.


Hi, hello, I hope you’re in fine voice.  Breathing in voice overs can be a real issue, or so it seems.  You can be recording that piece, listening back, and you think, “All I can hear is my breath.”  The main thing to do, is not to panic.  Breathing is quite natural.  Everyone’s doing it these days.  You wouldn’t … In the real world, you wouldn’t be chatting to a friend and thinking, “Right, in about 4 sentences’ time, I’m going to take a big lung full of air.”  It just wouldn’t happen.

You shouldn’t have that approach in voice overs, either.  One of the ways you can help your breathing in voice overs, is to actually mark the script.  I would go through the script a couple of times, and put a little “B”, or a tic, or some mark, where you think the breaths should be.  If you’re rehearsing it, you’ll get to have a feel for it, and you’ll get to have a feel where the natural breaks are.

Number one is, mark the script.  The second way of dealing with breathing in voice overs is to remove the breaths, using software such as Audacity, if you’re recording in that, or Adobe Audition, or GarageBand, or whatever.  You can just highlight it, and delete the offending breath.  You can do that between sentences, or indeed, between words.  However, you can’t do it within the word itself.

Be very careful with this method, because if you do it too much, it can make the whole piece sound rather odd, and it makes it sound like you’re not breathing at all, particularly if it’s a long form read, so just be careful of it.  Sometimes, it’s actually easier and better to reduce the volume of the breath, so that it’s actually dipped vis-à-vis the rest of your reading.  That’s something to bear in mind as well.

That’s method number 2.  The third way … shock, horror, a bit of a radical solution, this … Is to leave the breaths in.  This is perfectly acceptable, particularly in long form readings such as audio books, where breathing is part of it.  It allows the … Let’s admit it, it allows the piece to breathe, and the listener doesn’t mind a little bit of breathing from you.  Leave those breaths in; don’t edit them out.

That’s not necessarily the case if it’s a very punchy piece, such as a promo or something like that, where you might want to edit the breaths out.  In the main, I would say, leave them in and see what happens.  Your client can always send them back if they don’t think it’s suitable, and if you’re too breathy.

Also, I would remove your headphones as well.  If you’re wearing headphones, it will cause your ears, and your brain, to simply focus in on the breaths, and not on the meaning of the script and the words, which is what you want, really. 

Please, don’t get hung up on that breathing.  Just relax, don’t worry about it too much.  There are lots of solutions, and it’s probably affecting you and concerning you far, far more than your client or your listener.

All right, thanks very much for listening today, and I’ll look forward to seeing you next time.  Take care of your voice.  

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