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Editing a voiceover

From: Pro Tools 9 Essential Training

Video: Editing a voiceover

When editing speech for a voiceover, a monologue, lead vocals, et cetera, it's customary to edit the words, so that there is no stuttering, stammering, hesitation, or mistakes in the reading or performing of the material. Many times it's also beneficial in voiceovers to eliminate unnecessary pauses or open spaces between words and sentences. This will increase the pace of the performance, and is often done when there is a lot of breathing pauses, or when you want to intensify the impact of the delivery, like a fast-talking Radio DJ.

Editing a voiceover

When editing speech for a voiceover, a monologue, lead vocals, et cetera, it's customary to edit the words, so that there is no stuttering, stammering, hesitation, or mistakes in the reading or performing of the material. Many times it's also beneficial in voiceovers to eliminate unnecessary pauses or open spaces between words and sentences. This will increase the pace of the performance, and is often done when there is a lot of breathing pauses, or when you want to intensify the impact of the delivery, like a fast-talking Radio DJ.

Overall the idea is to create a perfect performance. When you're editing speech or vocals, it's always a good idea to have the script, text, or lyrics as a printed guide for making notes about where to place your edits. In this case, I've included them in the comments column of the track, right down here. You'll also see that I've added some Markers in here. These are indicating what I've identified as a couple of the good performances in here. Now, making markers isn't part of this video. There is a whole video dedicated to that, so check that out if you need to learn how to make a marker.

So let's take a listen to this performance, and we'll hear with the raw track is. (Male Speaker: Voiceovers can be easy to edit.) (Male Speaker coughs.) (Male Speaker: Voiceovers can be easy to edit, as long as the voiceover talent doesn't screw up--) (Male Speaker coughs) (Male Speaker: Yeah. Voiceover...Voiceovers can be easy to edit,) (Male Speaker: as long as the voiceover talent doesn't screw up his lines--) (Male Speaker: As long as the voiceover talent doesn't screw up his lines.) (Male Speaker: You also need to be aware of breath sounds.) (Male Speaker: You also need to be aware of breath sounds because making an edit in the middle of a breath--) (Male Speaker: because making an edit in the middle of a breath will make your voiceover track sound--) (Male Speaker: will make your voiceover track sound, well, edited and imperfect.) Okay, so there is the raw track. Certainly not a great performance, but that's why we're here, to edit it.

So I'm just going to go to town. First, I want to create a duplicate playlist. That way I won't touch any of the original performance. So I am going to go into Slip mode, and I am going to use the selector first to delete all of the stuff that I know is bad. Let's start there, get rid of that, and I think it's right in there, up to that point, and up here, we'll keep that breath in there. Not really sure about that line.

Get rid of that, and there. Okay. Now, what I'm going to do is go to Shuffle mode and take the grabber and put all these together. Now, I go back to Slip mode, and let's go, zoom in, and take a quick listen to what we've got. (Male Speaker: Voiceovers can be easy to edit, as long as the voiceover talent doesn't screw up his lines.) (Male Speaker: You also need to be aware of breath sounds, because making an edit in the middle of a breath) (Male Speaker: will make your voiceover track sound, well, edited and imperfect.) Okay, so we've got all the pieces there.

Now, it's up to us to smooth it out. And we can zoom in, we can use the trimmer to chop off any extraneous parts, and we should check between the phrases to see what the breaths sounds like, because we don't want to edit right in the middle of a breath. (Male Speaker: --to edit, as long as the voiceover talent doesn't screw up his lines.) (Male Speaker: You also need to be aware of breath sounds, because making an edit--) Like right here, it sounds like we've edited between two breaths. (Male Speaker: breath sounds, because making--) So it might not be too obvious to you now, but if you edit right in the middle of a breath, and it sounds unnatural, that can really become more obvious when you put out the final product, because often voiceover tracks are seriously compressed or limited, and the output volume can make any mistake in editing very obvious.

So you've got to really pay attention to the details when you're editing voiceovers. So let's figure this out. (Male Speaker: breath sounds, because ma--) Usually the idea is to just drag one of the region boundaries over to the other, so that the breaths don't cross over. (Male Speaker: breath sounds, because making--) That doesn't sound too bad. Let's go to the Smart tool.

(Male Speaker: --sounds, because making an edit in the middle of a breath will make your voiceover track sound,) (Male Speaker: well, edited and imperfect) When you're happy with all the transitions, none of the breaths are being chopped off, and you have all the pieces put together, the next step is to figure out whether the pacing is right. So you can check all the pauses between the phrases and make sure it sounds very natural. And if it doesn't, then we can move all of the tracks around a little bit. So let's say we think this pause is a little bit too long here.

We can select that region, and I am going to hit Shift and get all of those together, and now I'm going to click and slide the regions just a touch. And let's hear this. (Male Speaker: his lines. You also need to be aware of breath sounds.) Okay, that's sounds a little bit more natural. And one of the final steps is to create little crossfades, so that we don't get any clicks or pops at the region boundaries. And I think I heard one right in there. (Male Speaker: You also need to be aware--) Now, that's actually a mouth noise, but rather be safe than sorry, so you can go in and draw in little crossfades in between the region boundaries.

I recommend doing that for all region boundaries. The last point that I want to make here about voiceover editing is that sometimes when you edit you'll create empty spaces between regions and often you want to fill those empty spaces with what's called room tone. Room tone is the sound of the room where you're recording a voiceover, but with no other sounds going on. It's the tone of the room that includes any unintended noise from computer fans, or air conditioning units, or any other items that affect the noise in the room.

So if we had empty space, let's say, right in here, we might want to fill that with room tone. And it's a common practice to record 30 seconds to a minute of room tone to fill those voids. If I go back to the original playlist, I have a little bit of room tone at the very beginning here, so I could literally copy this, so I've selected that area-- I'm going to hit Command+C or Ctrl+C on a PC--copy that, come back over to the edited voiceover, zoom in on this area, place the cursor down and press paste: Command+V or Ctrl+V on a PC.

And I can drop in the room tone, and obviously I will edit this back with the trimmer. Let's play this. (Male Speaker:--sounds, because making an edit--) If I take this out, it sounds a little bit different. Let's hear that. (Male Speaker:--sounds, because making an edit--) Although it might not be super obvious here, there is room tone that happened during the recording of this voiceover, and when you take it out, it can be kind of a stark difference, especially if you add compression and limiting.

So we'll keep it in there to make sure that we have a very consistent performance and sound for the overall track. So once you've done editing the voiceover material, listen through to the whole track and make sure it flows, and that the pace of the reading and the breaths in between all sound natural. Alter the timing if you need to, and make sure the fades and crossfades are at the edit points to avoid any sonic changes between the regions. With all those techniques put together, you now know the process for editing a voiceover track in Pro Tools.

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This video is part of

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Pro Tools 9 Essential Training

106 video lessons · 11368 viewers

David Franz
Author

 
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  1. 13m 13s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Exploring the different versions of Pro Tools
      2m 30s
    3. Optimizing your computer before installing Pro Tools
      4m 6s
    4. Troubleshooting
      2m 18s
    5. Using the exercise files
      3m 3s
  2. 31m 3s
    1. Installing and authorizing Pro Tools
      1m 50s
    2. Connecting your Pro Tools system
      4m 1s
    3. Powering up and powering down
      58s
    4. Choosing the Playback Engine and Hardware settings
      4m 13s
    5. Optimizing Pro Tools performance
      5m 52s
    6. Utilizing Automatic Delay Compensation (ADC)
      1m 38s
    7. Setting essential preferences
      2m 35s
    8. Creating a Pro Tools session
      3m 43s
    9. Identifying elements in a session folder
      2m 33s
    10. Creating new tracks
      3m 40s
  3. 42m 9s
    1. Exploring the Edit window
      6m 52s
    2. Exploring the Mix window
      3m 11s
    3. Exploring the Transport and Big Counter windows
      2m 57s
    4. Using the Color palette and window arrangements
      2m 36s
    5. Investigating the menus
      3m 13s
    6. Understanding samples and ticks
      3m 34s
    7. Viewing and manipulating tracks
      4m 31s
    8. Selecting inputs, outputs, and buses
      3m 58s
    9. Selecting an I/O Settings file
      4m 12s
    10. Understanding signal paths and gain stages
      3m 46s
    11. Utilizing keyboard shortcuts and keyboard focus
      3m 19s
  4. 19m 31s
    1. Using DigiBase and the Workspace browser
      4m 22s
    2. Importing audio
      3m 1s
    3. Importing MIDI
      2m 46s
    4. Importing session data
      3m 44s
    5. Importing tracks from a CD
      2m 44s
    6. Importing video
      2m 54s
  5. 1h 0m
    1. Recording audio
      6m 14s
    2. Playing back audio
      10m 0s
    3. Creating a click track
      5m 25s
    4. Overdubbing and using the record modes
      8m 29s
    5. Recording with playlists and Loop Record
      4m 3s
    6. Punch recording and using the monitoring modes
      4m 17s
    7. Dealing with latency and ADC
      4m 58s
    8. Creating a group
      4m 52s
    9. Adding effects while recording
      5m 17s
    10. Creating a headphone (cue) mix
      4m 29s
    11. Assigning disk allocation
      2m 17s
  6. 1h 19m
    1. Understanding nondestructive editing and region types
      3m 3s
    2. Using the Selector and Grabber tools
      3m 29s
    3. Using the Trimmer and Scrubber tools
      8m 16s
    4. Using the Zoomer tool and Zoom presets
      5m 41s
    5. Using the Pencil tool
      2m 46s
    6. Using the Smart tool
      1m 28s
    7. Understanding the Edit modes
      5m 9s
    8. Arranging regions
      5m 33s
    9. Undoing an edit
      2m 8s
    10. Utilizing fades and crossfades
      7m 22s
    11. Building a comp track using playlists
      4m 50s
    12. Locking and muting regions
      2m 52s
    13. Special Edit window buttons
      6m 47s
    14. Creating an audio loop
      4m 13s
    15. Editing a voiceover
      8m 37s
    16. Using Elastic Time and Elastic Pitch
      7m 38s
  7. 19m 27s
    1. Working with region groups
      6m 39s
    2. Using time, tempo, meter, key, and chord
      5m 37s
    3. Creating memory locations
      7m 11s
  8. 30m 47s
    1. Setting up MIDI on a Mac
      4m 7s
    2. Setting up MIDI on a PC
      2m 13s
    3. Setting up MIDI in Pro Tools
      2m 37s
    4. Recording MIDI data
      3m 7s
    5. Recording multiple MIDI tracks with one virtual instrument
      2m 17s
    6. Recording options for MIDI
      5m 44s
    7. Using step input
      4m 14s
    8. Making a drum loop with MIDI Merge
      3m 36s
    9. Composing with virtual instruments
      2m 52s
  9. 54m 25s
    1. Using the edit tools for editing MIDI data
      9m 47s
    2. Editing MIDI data in the MIDI Editor
      8m 17s
    3. Working with the MIDI event list
      2m 13s
    4. Editing MIDI data with event operations
      8m 35s
    5. Quantizing MIDI tracks
      12m 16s
    6. Creating and using groove templates
      5m 35s
    7. Utilizing real-time properties
      3m 49s
    8. Using MIDI Learn
      3m 53s
  10. 17m 44s
    1. Exploring the Score Editor
      5m 56s
    2. Using the Score Editor
      5m 11s
    3. Setting up a score
      4m 48s
    4. Printing and exporting a score
      1m 49s
  11. 25m 45s
    1. Writing and editing automation
      7m 21s
    2. Drawing automation with the Pencil tool
      3m 58s
    3. Editing automation with the Trimmer and Grabber tools
      2m 26s
    4. Cutting, copying, pasting, and clearing automation
      4m 2s
    5. Turning automation on and off
      4m 0s
    6. Automating plug-ins and virtual instruments
      3m 58s
  12. 1h 33m
    1. Setting up a session for mixing
      7m 53s
    2. Setting up an effects loop
      9m 30s
    3. Working with plug-ins
      4m 33s
    4. Utilizing ADC while mixing
      9m 11s
    5. Applying EQ
      9m 25s
    6. Adding compression and limiting
      13m 27s
    7. Adding depth effects: Delay and reverb
      12m 45s
    8. Applying AudioSuite plug-ins
      4m 14s
    9. Bouncing down a mix and making an MP3
      5m 44s
    10. Setting up a session for mastering
      4m 36s
    11. Mastering a session
      7m 35s
    12. Bouncing down master recordings with Dither and Noise Shaping
      4m 52s
  13. 10m 6s
    1. Importing and displaying video files
      2m 42s
    2. Adding music, foley, ADR, and FX
      4m 32s
    3. Bouncing down video and audio together
      2m 52s
  14. 4m 22s
    1. Archiving an entire session
      4m 22s
  15. 52s
    1. Further Recommendations
      52s

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