Voice Actor's Notebook

The making of an audiobook – part 5

In this latest (and I am sorry it’s so late in coming) installment of The making of an audiobook series, I’m going to talk about the pros and cons of the two most common ways to record an audiobook: punch record and straight record.

Let’s dig in…

Punch record

This style of recording is when you stop the actual recording process when you make a mistake, go back to just before the mistake was made, listen to few seconds before the mistake, and then start recording (and reading) where you left off.

The Pros:
This makes editing after you’ve finished (let’s say a chapter) much faster because you’ve already edited out most of your mistakes during the recording process. Most likely all you’ll need to do is listen through the chapter again and clean up any little bits you may have missed.

The cons:
It takes a lot longer to do your recording sessions. If you’re like me and only have a few short hours a day of a quiet house, then you probably won’t be able to get much done. In addition, all that stopping and starting can really disturb your acting flow, so make sure you don’t mind the interruptions. Also, to do a really easy “punch and roll” you need software like Pro Tools. I’ve tried to find ways to do this in Adobe Audition (my software choice) but no luck.

Straight record

This is the “hit-record-and-go!” method. Even if you make a mistake, you don’t stop recording. You simply reread the sentence (or phrase) where the error occurred and keep going. You only stop the recording when you’re done with the chapter (or if you need a potty break 😉 )

The Pros:
If you don’t like being interrupted when your acting juices are flowing, then this is the method for you. And like me, if you only have a small window of quiet recording opportunity, then you can get a lot of recording done during that time and edit when your house is too noisy for recording. (I record during my small window in the morning and then edit later).

The Cons:
Ok, editing after you record can take up time. A lot of time. And some people just don’t like to edit too much after recording. You’ll most likely listen to what you recorded three or four times (unlike two to three times with the punch method). So recording using this method could be more time consuming.

No matter which

No matter which method you choose there is one thing that will save you boat-loads of time, and that’s simply NOT making mistakes. Yes, easier said than done, I know. But the more prepared you are before recording a section, and the better you are at cold reading, the more likely you are to make fewer mistakes. And that will lead to much faster production times.

Helping you choose

In order to decide which is best for you, simply ask yourself this question:

Do I want to fix my mistakes after I record, or while I’m recording?

You’re going to make mistakes. It’s up to you to decide when you want to deal with them.

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