Successfully Recording Your Lines At Home

5. Environment and Background Noise

  • The Right Environment

You will find that a lot of rooms in your house, or flat, have their own sound. Kitchens with tiles on the floor and walls are certainly no place to record your lines. If you prefer to sit in your lounge with a wooden floor and not much on your walls, there will be an acoustic echo as well. I am not going to tell you that your bedroom might actually be the best location for your recordings, but any room with carpets and furniture which absorbs all soundwaves floating and bouncing around will be best. You always have to do tests, of course, and listen back to them.

If you don't do tests in the room you're recording, and prefer to just record, export and submit your lines, you might get an unwanted feedback from your editor. Don't record pages and pages of lines only to be asked for re-do's because you've been a careless prick.

  • Background Noises

Are your windows shut? Is your budgie or cat outside? Can you hear dogs barking, or cars driving by on the street? If you don't take care, they might all be featured on your recordings, especially the better your microphone is. 

Another factor is your computer itself. Laptops and PC's are creating noise. Do not place the microphone right next to your computer. The worst thing that can happen is, if your microphone is close to the PC and its fan, and your power sockets are not properly earthed (e.g. when you live in an old house with an electricity system which is not up to date), you might also hear an unwanted "buzzing" on your takes. Try to avoid that. Again: Do tests, and listen back to them.

  • The Right Sitting/Standing Position

You might be sitting at a desk with your computer and monitor facing the wall. Or do you usually sit in a corner? Both locations are bad for your recordings, because your sound quality will suffer, as the soundwaves are bouncing back from the wall, or from both walls.

Don't ever face any wall when you're recording. Even if you can't move your computer, you can  turn your mic in a different position, so that you're able to speak freely into the room. If you have your microphone on a stand with a boom, and if you play an instrument as well, so you own a music stand where you can place your audio script, do your recordings right in the middle of the room, and if possible: stand, don't sit. In the end, you only need to go "back" to your desk to press the Record or Stop buttons. Again: Always do tests, and listen back to them.

  • White Noise

Mostly referred to simply as "background noise" also, you might discover that your recordings contain some white static noise. The better your microphone is, the lower will be this kind of noise. But it might bere there, and this is no matter to get nervous about. It can be reduced and filtered out by the editor in post-production. Of course, the higher this static noise is on your takes, the more quality will get lost in the processing.

If you really worry about this, or if you've already got feedback from editors regarding the static noise, then there is only one thing I can say: Don't complain about the editor bothering you with re-do's, but go back to part 2 of the tutorial, read, and get yourself a better microphone. There are no excuses.