Do you ever read with your ears? Mr. Brad Baird is my guest today and shares his expertise on recording audio books.
Audio books are electronic devices used to listen to books. Audio books provide wonderful entertainment for those who commute on a daily basis and for those who do not have enough time or the physical capacity to read, such as blind people. They're also great for runners who prefer to listen to books rather than music, or those without the means to buy books. They are available in three different formats - tape, CD, and MP3 file. The voicework is typically performed by a qualified actor, but it may also be done by the author of the book or someone with the right vocal qualities for the specific story. Now that you know the basics, it's time to get started. In order to successfully create an audio book yourself, keep the following tips in mind.
First, find a device that can record at a level of impressive quality, but is relatively easy to use. If you're not picky though, you can find an old-fashioned tape recorder or a computer that comes with integrated microphones, and a recording program such as QuickTime. You may even be able to find a recording software that offers the ability to adjust the quality of the sound to consummation. Second, you need to set up a room in your home where all your recording will be done - without disruption. That room should be arranged so that it does not have any echo. A good example would be a room whose floors have been carpeted, but has good acoustics. Of course, the best option for recording an audio book would be to have access to a professional studio, but only consider this if you really need to make a special audio book, like for a present or to read aloud a published book of yours that you know will sell in this format.
Prior to starting the recording, you must ensure that the device is correctly picking up your voice. Other things that must be done include ensuring that appropriate lighting is provided in the room and that a stand is holding the book (trust me - go with the stand, don't hold it). Always make a concerted effort to use a clear and confident tone when performing the recording. Depending on the theme of the book, you should use your voice to communicate the sentimental meaning behind the words and sentences. If there is a dialogue between two characters, then you simply ought to make some distinction between the two. For children's stories or comedies, feel free to go all out and delve into character work, but otherwise, keep it subtle.
The recording phase must be spaced out over several sessions. Be aware that generally, CDs and tapes can't contain more than one hour of audio content, while an MP3 file can contain a lot more. Figure out where a break will occur so that when you need to burn the recording onto CDs or tapes, you can save precious time. Time will be key, since you'll want to go through all your recordings and find the best take of each section, then compile them all together - just like takes of a movie. Lastly, be sure to have proper insurance on all of your equipment, space & merchandise! This might mean business insurance and it might mean home insurance, but whatever works, works!
Once the audio book has been finalized, listen to it - just to ensure that it reflects the expected outcome. Things don't always sound how you think they will on the back end!
Brad Baird writes about his career in audio production, and he was recently included in a piece on the Top 10 Must See Ted Talks for Businesses and Entrepreneurs.
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