Building Your Home Voice Over Booth

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Marlon Braccia suspended in the door jam of her voice over booth in Los Angeles, where she normally sits cross-legged and on the ground while recording voice over and narration.

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A good friend supplied long panels of foam and we busily attached them to the walls of my closet to create a sound-dampened VO booth. Once it was up, the idea of recording the following week’s audiobook seemed like a dismal prospect based solely on the environment. Convincing my friend to stay a little longer than he wanted,  I persuaded him to assist me in hanging a little piece of silk fabric above the door as he mocked me. “Oh, you want it to be pretty? Ha ha ha!”

“Um. Yeah,” is all I could retort, but his comment had the larger effect of cementing my idea. I was going to have a great sounding booth, that was a gorgeous, too.

Now I do. It’s ivory, not gun metal gray like very other booth I have ever seen.
Yup. The cheap foam emits toxic petrol gases and ya know what? Its gun metal gray.
The fancy, pricey foam doesn’t stink, but its gun metal gray.
Those expensive sound panels? They could have used any color fabric, but some geek designed them, soo they’re gun metal gray. Even the gorgeous, enormous ADR stage at Warner Brothers is…well, you know…

I moved my tools and all hard goods to another closet and filled my VO closet’s shelves with towels, linens, and other soft goods like pillows. Sorting through self-acquired and 2 generations of inherited fabric from family, I found finished drapery and many yards of luxurious fabric from which to create more drapery. I washed, starched and ironed cotton eyelet and hung it over a taught wire from the bottom of a shelf, so i could access my towels easily. Remembering my godmother taught me that for deep folds one needs to use fabric 2 1/2 times the width of the area to be covered, I started measuring the closet’s remaining shelving all the way down to the floor.  Then I got to work sewing on my newly refurbished 1964 Singer sewing machine and ultimately slipped a cafe curtain rod through the top pocket. A center slip in the drapes agains the shelves gives me access to all the stuff I really didn’t need to look at anyway. Behind the drapes, it stays clean, hidden and does a little work to further deaden any reverberation.

Then I made slip covers for foam panels on the door and ceiling, leaving an open end so they could easily be disassembled and laundered.  (After all I was anticipating the foam from my latte potentially splashing everywhere as a I enthusiastically voiced an animated giraffe for a children’s TV show.)  Sewing long velcro strips on to the slip covers didn’t work well because the needle gets to gummy going through the adhesive, so I just went with 2′ adhesive velcro strips on the slip cover and door. Ultimately, the adhesive failed, so I tapped some nifty looking brass tacks into the door just far enough to hold them in place.

When it was all done, David Lawrence XVII, my personal VO guru, came by, stepped in the booth, closed the door, snapped his fingers to hear the sound and quickly emerged saying, “You’re good!” Ah! Sweet victory! Looks good. Sounds good.

This next part may not be for everyone, but as a yogi, I can sat crossed legged on the ground for hours without a twinge. I felt grounded, breathing deeply and my voice sounds were natural there. I had tried a chair and a physio-ball, but they both made recordable sounds when I moved.

12376631_1197191163626151_7504049179212882618_n Early this year I got a big equipment upgrade, so I’m now standing while I work. I’ve got a studio classic mic that VO celebrities like Joe Cipriano use (thanks for the recommendation, Joe), but I worked successfully on the mic   David Lawrence XVII  recommended for over 2 years . If it’s good enough for him, you can trust it’s a great mic. I actually won it from his contest. It’s the best of the microphones that plugs right into your computer, so you can start recording fast. I still recommend it as a great starter mic.




If you want help with building your now voice over booth, just email me via contacts tab on this site. I’m happy to come by our place if you are local, do some sewing for you or simply advise you on a strategy. I’m temped to make a prototype for really good looking, effective sound panels, but right now, I really am headed to the booth to voice an audition as giraffe for a TV show!