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Your training organization has just landed a major series of courses for a key client. While you're busy writing the copy, thinking about programming, and filtering the customers feedback, we can assemble a crew of voice talent that will bring your courses to life.
We have all types of voices available for training and marketing projects including voices for radio, TV, online courses, DVD/CD-ROM presentations, documentaries, etc. We can quote a price that includes talent, recording, as well as editing while organizing all of your files and labeling them according to your exact specifications for easy reference.
Key Advantage: Foreign Language & Translation
One of our major advantages is that we have developed a multilingual network of voice talent professionals that spans the globe. Is there a particular dialect that you cannot source? Markethold can track down the perfect voice to suite any need.
Looking for voice talent today? Check out our talent roster and explore the language options.
Not only can we find a native speaker, we can bundle the cost of translation of any training program in with your production estimate.
Next Up: The Production Process
Audio production and quality is essential to any multi-media presentation and must be looked upon with great importance in order to ensure the highest quality presentation is achieved. Listed below are the various steps of the audio production process and their significance in relation to obtaining this goal. This format is a standard process used to provide clients with quality audio presentations.
Because files come from a variety of sources such as shot video, client supplied video, library music and sound effects, flash files with embedded audio, recorded voice over, etc, it is important to prepare these files in a format that can be easily imported into the project or VIP. It is essential to use a common sample and bit rate when preparing files, as the project sample and bit rate should be established in advance. Many file formats are importable into the project including Wave, AIFF, MP3 etc. however, a standardized format of waves is the simplest format to use and usually provides the optimum sound quality. Once all audio files are prepared, a video file must be prepared for reference to visual cues and the overall timeline. The video file should include audio even this audio will not be used in the final audio mix. The audio from the video file serves as a timeline for the new audio being produced.
Creating a Virtual Project or VIP
Starting a new virtual project or VIP in order to produce the audio is as simple as opening a word file. A file location and name is given and the type of bit rate and sample rate is established. This new VIP is essentially a folder that will hold all of our files (assets) and project components. We now have a "blank canvas" with which to work on our audio project. The VIP name, date and file locations are coordinated in order to ensure easy retrieval for future modifications to the VIP or its files. This VIP enables us to manipulate our audio for the purpose of creating the best overall sound and mix.
Creating a Timeline/Video Sync.
The first file we import into our project is the video with its "placeholder" audio. The audio is extracted from the video file and resides on its own track in the VIP, usually track #1 for easy reference. The timeline for the project is now established and we can now scroll through our project to see exactly within 100th of a second how the video and audio coordinate. This time line/video sync, also enables us to place new audio to the exact frame in which they exist with the video. This is very useful for placing sound effects for example. If a door is closing we can scroll to the exact frame in which it shuts in order to place our effects.
The next step in the process is to import all of our audio files into our new VIP. Since the files will all be processed and eventually mixed together, it’s best if they all come in a common format such as wave files. This, in reality, is often not the case however. With a little extra care all file formats can be used without any loss in overall quality.
File Alignment and Track Assignment
Once the files have been introduced into the VIP they must then be synced to the timeline or our "placeholder" file. This process requires extreme care and can be time consuming. The audio files are placed one on top of the other for alignment. Since the VIP syncs to 100th of a second an exact match can always be achieved. Once the files are matched, they are assigned their own audio track. This track is devoted strictly to that type of audio. For example our main voice over may be on track #2 and can then be reviewed individually, or as part of the entire mix. We are essentially recreating the sound one piece at a time. This allows us to manipulate each individual element of the sound and enhance it accordingly in the mix. Syncing and track assignment of the sound bites is the last step before the creative process can begin.
Normalization, Noise Elimination and Audio Equalization
The next step in the process is where we can actually begin improving and standardizing the individual audio files. We first establish a "unity gain" or common sound level for the various elements of the audio project. In other words everything sounds like it is at about the same volume. Any audio files that have background noise are treated for the elimination of the noise if so desired. If there is for example, static or traffic noise behind a voice, as in the case of some files that came from a video, this background noise may be able to be minimized or eliminated based on the file and recording quality. The next phase is equalization. In this phase we enhance or eliminate certain frequencies within a sound file in order to bring them out or suppress them in the mix. Equalization techniques are the mark of the true audio producer. By placing elements properly in the soundscape, an overall polished production is achieved.
Panning, in our case, is the placement on audio in a stereo mix. The way we see the world, and how the sounds correlate to what we see, is the basis for how panning should be used. The visual elements move in one or the other direction and the audio needs to match. Also, if for example we have two characters, each on either side of the screen talking to one another, we may choose to position slightly left and right in the mix, or the way we would hear them naturally. Panning can also be used to create room for another element. For example you can hard pan stereo music left and right and thus make room for a voice over in the middle.
Musical Composition, Sweetening and Sound Effects
The next phase in the production process is to see what areas we may enhance the project. We have now seen what we have to work with and it’s time to add some creativity where needed.
The most important aspects of sound design and composition are:
1. Always maintain the integrity of the project and remember the direction and objective the client is trying to achieve.
2. Always seek to enhance and not overpower. These creative elements are where the project is elevated to the next level.
Signal processing is where various audio components are treated. Often time effects such as audio compression are used first. Compression is not used for file size like we are accustomed to when sending files on the computer. Audio compression lowers the ceiling on hot spots in the audio while raising low spots to even out the audio file. Audio compression is a key component to professional sounding mixes. It can enhance a voice over without changing its overall volume in the mix. Other signal processes include, reverb, delay, flange etc. They are used to manipulate the sound further.
Mastering is the final process of the mix in which the project is evaluated for overall quality. The final tweaks are made to the individual track and an output gain is established. Equalization and setting to the final output are made on the master EQ of the mix. In some cases frequencies are minimized or enhanced for play in various mediums. For example a file that is being mixed for the web may have certain frequencies enhanced or reduced based on the type of speakers they will be listened to on.
File Exportation and Formatting
This is the final phase in the production process. The mixed components are highlighted and exported as a single, stereo, mixed wave file. This file can then be re-introduced into the finished video project. This completes the audio production process.
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