Recording Tips

Here are some quick steps to ensure that your voice sounds good!

Planning

  1. Write the script out. It’s much simpler to record if you’ve got the words planned in advance. Don’t try to wing it (I’ve learned this the hard way)!
  2. In the video, do a sample of the project if possible. I usually fill in a sample worksheet or other graphic organizer. This both models the project as well as how to use the graphic organizer. These visual models are super powerful for giving clear directions. We’ll handle the visuals as long as you narrate it.
  3. Transition phrases: I end student videos by saying “once you’ve finished ______, go on to the next video.” And then I begin the next video with, “Ok, you should have finished _______. Now, in this part we’re going to ______”
  4. Emphasize the open-endedness of your project. I try to say things like “I’m picking ____, but you might do ___ or ___ or __ or anything your teacher approves.”
  5. I especially try to keep the final product open for the teacher’s discretion. Sometimes students could end up creating a skit, a PowerPoint presentation, a video, an essay, and so on. Teachers may choose which presentation formats they’d like to offer.

Mic Setup

  1. Record in a “soft” room – somewhere with carpet, pillows, a sofa, a bed, etc. These items absorb echoes and make your voice clearer. A bathroom would be the worst possible choice :)
  2. Put your mic 6 to 9 inches from your mouth and an inch or two below or to the side (the air coming out of your mouth shouldn’t hit the mic).

While Recording

  1. Use any app you’d like: Quicktime, Sound Recorder, Voice Recorder, etc.
  2. Watch your levels: while recording you should see sound meters – those bars that go up and down as you speak. If you’re hitting the red zone, either move a bit further back, lower the mic, or angle it so you’re not hitting it directly with air.
  3. If you see the sound hit the red zone just stop and restate that section – we’ll edit it out.
  4. In fact, any time you make a mistake or want to retry a sentence, just stop for a second, take a breath, and then redo the whole sentence. This gives us room to edit out the mistake seamlessly. Don’t worry about sounding weird! It’s super helpful on our end when you stop and restart clearly.
  5. I often get short of breath while recording and need to stop and just take a breath. That’s fine, we’ll just edit it out.
  6. Keep your energy up! My friend Lisa Van Gemert tells me to give twice as much energy on a mic as I would in real life. I always keep that in mind when recording.

Afterwards

  1. Listen back to your recording (as painful as it may be). If you notice distorted parts, confusing statements, or anything odd, do a separate take just with the fixes (no need to re-record the entire thing). Send me both files and I’ll stitch them together.