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Editing a voiceover

From: Pro Tools 10 Essential Training

Video: Editing a voiceover

When editing speech for a voiceover, a monologue, or lead vocals, it's customary to edit the words so that there are no stuttering, stammering, hesitation, or mistakes in the reading or the 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 done when there's a lot of breathing pauses, or if you want to intensify the impact of the delivery, like a fast talking radio DJ might do.

Editing a voiceover

When editing speech for a voiceover, a monologue, or lead vocals, it's customary to edit the words so that there are no stuttering, stammering, hesitation, or mistakes in the reading or the 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 done when there's a lot of breathing pauses, or if you want to intensify the impact of the delivery, like a fast talking radio DJ might do.

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, the text, or the 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 in the track, right down here. You'll also see that I have added some markers into the session. These markers indicate a few of the places that I have identified as some of the good performances in this raw take. Now, learning how to make a marker isn't part of this video, there's a whole video dedicated to that, so check that out if you need to learn how to make a marker.

So now let's take a listen to this performance and hear the raw unedited version. (Audio Playing) Okay.

So there is the raw track, certainly not a great performance, but that's why we are here, to edit it. So I am just going to go ahead and go to town. First, I want to create a duplicate playlist before we start editing, and that way we will always have our original playlist to reference back to if we need to. And now what I am going to do is make sure I am in Slip mode, and I'm going to use the Selector tool and I am going to delete all of the stuff that I know is bad. So I am going to click in here, highlight all of that, grab that area and delete it, and take this area out, this bit, and we will leave the rest.

Now I'm going to go and use Shuffle mode and the Grabber tool and slide all of these so that they butt up against each other, and let's take a listen to what we have got as our new quick edit. (Audio Playing) Okay.

So here in the beginning piece, we actually need to edit some more out, because there's two takes of the same lines and some stammering there. So I am going to use the Trimmer tool and simply click and drag, and because we are in Shuffle mode, all of the clips will move automatically to the left. So now that we have all the pieces together, now it's up to us to smooth it out. And let's do that by first zooming in. First I am going to use the Trim tool to chop off any extraneous parts, and I'll go to the Slip mode first and use the Trimmer, cut off the intro here, zoom out, cut off the ending.

Now I will zoom in and take a listen to the transitions between each of the phrases and see what the breaths are like in there, because we don't want to have an edit that happens right in the middle of a breath. (Audio Playing) And right in here it sounds like we actually have edited right in between two breaths.

So I am going to zoom in, take a listen to that again. (Audio Playing) So it might not be too obvious to you now listening to this, but if you edit right in the middle of a breath, it definitely is going to sound unnatural. And that can really become more obvious when you put the final product out, because often voiceover tracks are seriously compressed or limited and the output volume can make any mistake in editing very obvious. So you have got to really pay attention to the details when you're editing voiceovers.

So let's figure this out. Let's listen to it one more time. (Audio Playing) Most of the time we can use the Trim tool to drag one of the clip boundaries over to the other so that the breaths don't cross over. Now, in this case, obviously we can't because there's audio material here. Let's drag this back here, see if that works. (Audio Playing) And that works pretty well. When you're happy with all the transitions between each of the phrases and none of the breaths are being chopped off, and you have all the pieces put together in order that you want them, the next step is to figure out whether the pacing is right.

So you can check all of the pauses between the phrases and make sure that it sounds very natural, and if it doesn't, then we can move all the tracks around just a little bit. So in this particular case, there is a big pause right here, and if I want to tighten up the pacing of this, a simple way is just to select the area, we will go back to Shuffle and I am going to hit Delete, and then that moves everything from the right to the left and it tightens up that little space.

(Audio Playing) And that pause in between sounds a little bit more natural now. Now, one of the final steps is to create little crossfades so that we don't get any unwanted clicks or pops at the clip boundaries. So we can go in, zoom in here, and use the Smart tool to click and drag and create a little crossfade. Another more handy way to do all of these crossfades at once is to simply highlight the entire area, and now you we can choose create fades, and with this dialog box we can apply fades that will be between each of the clips and do it all at once.

And I like the length of 10 milliseconds here and everything else looks great so I will click OK, and automatically we have crossfades between each of the clips here. The last point that I want to make here about voiceover editing is that sometimes when you edit, you'll create empty spaces between clips, and often you'll 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 some empty space, let's say right in here, and I am going to go ahead and go to Slip mode and delete this area, just as an example. This empty space, we might want to fill this empty space with room tone. And it's a pretty common practice actually in voiceover recordings to record 30 seconds to a minute of room tone that you can use later to fill these voids. So now if I go back to the original playlist, I can see that I have got some room tone here and I am going to click and drag and copy this.

Now I will go back to the other playlist, and I will place the cursor here, and I can paste in the room tone. Obviously, I would go in and edit this so that it fits where we want it to fit. And here is what it would sound like. (Audio Playing) So it keeps the consistency of the sound. but what happens if we actually take this out? (Audio Playing) It's a slightly different sound, and 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 or limiting to the final product.

So I am going to keep it in there and make sure that we have a very consistent performance of the sound for the overall track. So once you are done editing the voiceover material, you should listen all the way 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 clips. With all these 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

Image for Pro Tools 10 Essential Training
Pro Tools 10 Essential Training

108 video lessons · 15423 viewers

David Franz
Author

 
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  1. 13m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 20s
    2. Exploring the different versions of Pro Tools
      3m 22s
    3. Optimizing your computer before installing Pro Tools
      4m 18s
    4. Troubleshooting
      2m 19s
    5. Using the exercise files
      2m 25s
  2. 36m 55s
    1. Installing and authorizing Pro Tools
      1m 49s
    2. Connecting your Pro Tools system
      4m 31s
    3. Powering up and powering down
      58s
    4. Choosing the Playback Engine and Hardware settings
      5m 55s
    5. Optimizing Pro Tools' performance
      6m 26s
    6. Utilizing Automatic Delay Compensation (ADC)
      3m 36s
    7. Setting essential preferences
      2m 35s
    8. Creating a Pro Tools session
      4m 31s
    9. Identifying elements in a session folder
      2m 36s
    10. Creating new tracks
      3m 58s
  3. 42m 5s
    1. Exploring the Edit window
      6m 44s
    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 35s
    5. Investigating the menus
      3m 22s
    6. Understanding samples and ticks
      3m 34s
    7. Viewing and manipulating tracks
      4m 31s
    8. Selecting inputs, outputs, and busses
      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 15s
  4. 21m 11s
    1. Using DigiBase and the Workspace browser
      4m 14s
    2. Importing audio
      3m 0s
    3. Importing MIDI
      2m 48s
    4. Importing session data
      5m 34s
    5. Importing tracks from a CD
      2m 51s
    6. Importing video
      2m 44s
  5. 56m 46s
    1. Recording audio
      6m 13s
    2. Playing back audio and Edit window scrolling
      4m 52s
    3. Creating a click track
      5m 24s
    4. Overdubbing and using the record modes
      8m 52s
    5. Recording with playlists and Loop Record
      4m 6s
    6. Punch recording and using the monitoring modes
      4m 14s
    7. Dealing with latency and ADC
      4m 58s
    8. Creating a group
      6m 5s
    9. Adding effects while recording
      5m 16s
    10. Creating a headphone (cue) mix
      4m 29s
    11. Assigning disk allocation
      2m 17s
  6. 1h 28m
    1. Understanding nondestructive editing and region types
      3m 19s
    2. Using the Selector and Grabber tools
      3m 37s
    3. Using the Trim and Scrubber tools
      7m 5s
    4. Using the Zoomer tool and zoom presets
      5m 51s
    5. Using the Pencil tool
      3m 10s
    6. Using the Smart tool
      1m 27s
    7. Understanding the Edit modes
      5m 51s
    8. Arranging clips
      6m 40s
    9. Undoing an edit
      2m 44s
    10. Utilizing fades and crossfades
      9m 41s
    11. Building a comp track using playlists
      5m 17s
    12. Locking and muting clips
      2m 48s
    13. Special Edit window buttons
      7m 15s
    14. Creating an audio loop
      5m 19s
    15. Editing a voiceover
      9m 41s
    16. Using Elastic Time and Elastic Pitch
      9m 12s
  7. 17m 21s
    1. Working with clip groups
      4m 33s
    2. Using time, tempo, meter, key, and chord
      5m 37s
    3. Creating memory locations
      7m 11s
  8. 33m 10s
    1. Setting up MIDI on a Mac
      4m 17s
    2. Setting up MIDI on a PC
      2m 14s
    3. Setting up MIDI in Pro Tools
      2m 44s
    4. Recording MIDI data
      3m 14s
    5. Recording multiple MIDI tracks with one virtual instrument
      2m 17s
    6. Recording options for MIDI
      6m 21s
    7. Using Step Input
      4m 35s
    8. Making a drum loop with MIDI Merge
      3m 36s
    9. Composing with virtual instruments
      3m 52s
  9. 57m 1s
    1. Using the edit tools for editing MIDI data
      10m 0s
    2. Editing MIDI data in the MIDI Editor
      7m 31s
    3. Working with the MIDI Event List
      2m 12s
    4. Editing MIDI data with Event Operations
      8m 33s
    5. Quantizing MIDI tracks
      12m 16s
    6. Creating and using Groove Templates
      5m 35s
    7. Utilizing real-time properties
      5m 50s
    8. Using MIDI Learn
      5m 4s
  10. 17m 30s
    1. Exploring the Score Editor
      5m 49s
    2. Using the Score Editor
      5m 5s
    3. Setting up a score
      4m 48s
    4. Printing and exporting a score
      1m 48s
  11. 25m 39s
    1. Writing and editing automation
      6m 40s
    2. Drawing automation with the Pencil tool
      4m 2s
    3. Editing automation with the Trim and Grabber tools
      2m 58s
    4. Cutting, copying, pasting, and clearing automation
      4m 12s
    5. Turning automation on and off
      3m 52s
    6. Automating plug-ins and virtual instruments
      3m 55s
  12. 1h 49m
    1. Setting up a session for mixing
      8m 50s
    2. Setting up an effects loop
      9m 30s
    3. Working with plug-ins
      4m 33s
    4. Utilizing ADC while mixing
      9m 8s
    5. Applying EQ
      12m 43s
    6. Adding compression and limiting
      14m 25s
    7. Using delay effects
      6m 52s
    8. Applying AudioSuite plug-ins
      6m 24s
    9. Adding reverb to your mix
      6m 50s
    10. Bouncing down a mix
      4m 15s
    11. Making an MP3 for iTunes and SoundCloud
      2m 53s
    12. Setting up a session for mastering
      4m 58s
    13. Mastering a session
      10m 37s
    14. Bouncing down master recordings with Dither and Noise Shaping
      7m 24s
  13. 9m 59s
    1. Importing and displaying video files
      2m 38s
    2. Adding music, foley, ADR, and FX
      4m 29s
    3. Bouncing down video and audio together
      2m 52s
  14. 4m 0s
    1. Archiving an entire session
      4m 0s
  15. 58s
    1. Further recommendations
      58s

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