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« eLearning Accessibility: Guidelines and Standards Offer for Interpretation That Can Enhance the Design Process | Main | Writing & Grammar: Business Jargon »

February 04, 2016

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Kevin Siegel

Patrick Haynes, ChPC Manager, Multimedia and Virtual Training, Yellow Pages

I liked your article on audio voiceovers. I agree: the in-app editing for audio is not too great. I've been using a Yeti and Audacity for 3-4 years now and it is huge. I also built a sound box lined with acoustic foam to cut the noise around me. I almost always record outside and import it in, using Captivate and Camtasia (working on getting up to speed in Storyline). It allows me greater control on filters and edits. I can chop all the "umms" and breaths that distract me (and my learners, I presume). Then, when I insert the sound, I match it to the video. Judicious use of video cuts allow me to increase or decrease the clip speed in Camtasia to match everything up. It takes a bit more time; but, I like the results. Thanks for the Skills and Drills. They are a great resource.

Aimee Bosse, Sr Practice Technology Trainer & eLearning Specialist/Developer, Hunton & Williams LLP

Good info on audio this week, thank you! I also use the blue yeti microphone and I love it--simple to use but good recording quality.

Here are some audio recording practices I fell into over the years as the accidental voice-over person:
I follow the same checklist of steps when cleaning up recordings so everything sounds the same. I also scrub out errant ums, ahs and breathing sounds, they are so distracting (for the off-the cuff/JIT recordings I rehearse and do multiple takes and pick the best sounding version).
I record slight variations to make it easier to edit in/out a random word or two later. It's inevitable that others (or myself) want to tweak the script a little later to make it sound better so I'll anticipate variations in phrasing just in case. This has saved me from having to re-record things later.
If I do need to re-record, I'll compile all changes and record at the same time to reduce the differences you can sometimes hear from the original (although the Yeti microphone is really good at making this seamless).
A script on paper is always going to sound different when spoken so I tweak things as I'm speaking to make things sound casual/natural. Also, listening to repetitive words is annoying so I sometimes substitute appropriate synonyms/replacement words.
I save the master/raw audio file and save the final pieces of audio as separate .mp3 files. I include the step # from the script and a portion of the audio spoken in the mp3 filename so I don't have to play every single audio clip to know what it is. Also makes it easier when dropping into projects later.
I update the master script with any changes after recording since we often have to go back and refer to old scripts.
Sandra Wiler, CSE Training Specialist DHHS, Children and Family Services

I always wait. The majority of my demonstrations are software simulations (with additional PP slides incorporated into the demo).

My demonstrations require a lot of additional information/instruction. Once I've completed all of the recording I can get a better idea of the additional information needed.

I write all of my voice-over scripts for each slide in a separate document and do all my voice-over recording at one time. I find that if I record on several different days my voice-over does not sound 'consistent.' My voice might be higher/lower/louder/softer. So I choose to designate one or two days to recording almost all of it, and it's easy to do with all of the script written out.

Also, I record directly in Captivate (on each slide). Because I work for state government, I have an inexpensive Logitech mic, but it works very well.

Mary Saunders, Technical Writer, American Woodmark Corporation

Your article was very timely for our group of tech writers here at American Woodmark. We've recently had one of our largest applications changed to a different format, causing modifications to 42 software simulation tutorials. As the main tech writer for that application, it has been a long process! We have historically recorded our voices for all tutorials and training modules (sometimes from closets in our houses that have doubled as sound booths).

This time, however, we decided to look into a different approach. I experimented with the Text-to-Speech voices available in Captivate 8. Although not completely natural sounding, one or two of them are pretty good. Although it is a little distracting at first, after you get used to the sound of the voice, you barely notice any odd intonations. I watched a YouTube video and found a way to access the VoiceText software to edit the speed, breaks, etc. and then add it back into my Speech Management dialog box. One of the main reasons we are going this way is to make it easier to edit each other's work. Previously, the original person only was able to re-record a video or training. But, hey, what if he/she wins the lottery?

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