Buzz & Hmmmm: weekly tips! contributors wanted

Non-reading activities need your help too!
Kristen
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Post by Kristen » August 3rd, 2006, 7:31 pm

I'm putting together a new weekly "tips and hints" column for LibriVox called Buzz & Hmmmm. It will focus on how to improve recordings, reading performances, editing, sound quality and all the thousands of other points that LibriVox volunteers encounter.

But I'm only organizing. I need your help!

How To Contribute

1. Suggest a topic that you want to know more about. Simply post a reply below.
2. Write a piece for the series on a topic of your choice.

For example:
  • Eliminating air conditioner hum
    A view on character voices
    Five tricks in Audacity
    How to reduce plosives
    Tips from voice actors
    How to breathe while reading
    Three ways to prepare your text
    Pauses - how long and how often?
Each article must be very short (150 words or less) & in the form of a "one-point" tutorial, brief explanation of a specific point or a "Top Five" type list of hints. Audio examples and images can illustrate the point.

We'll publish Buzz & Hmmmm in the forums, on the weblog, and also in the wiki - no chance anyone will miss it.

If you're interested in adding to Buzz & Hmmmm, or want to contribute a brief article, please reply below and I'll be in touch with you soon.
Kristen
http://www.mediatinker.com
[url=http://librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/KristenMcQuillin/]My recordings & claimed chapters[/url]

deadwhitemales
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Post by deadwhitemales » August 3rd, 2006, 9:19 pm

I don't feel I really have much to contribute (I sort of know just enough to actually generate the mp3 file in it's rawest and purest form) but I think this would be a FANTASTIC feature! I'm sort of interested on the quality of my recordings but with the minimum amount of effort possible...

If I DO think of anything - I'll port it up ASAP but otherwise, I'll be happy just to read up on other people's suggestions!
Eric Jean

60 more credits to go... 60 more credits to go...

hugh
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Post by hugh » August 4th, 2006, 7:19 am

suggest we start with plosives! a common problem, even among seasoned recorders.

jimmowatt
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Post by jimmowatt » August 4th, 2006, 10:28 am

?plosives are evil and wrong and must be banished.
What are ?plosives?
They are explosive noises caused by sudden blasts of air on the microphone.
Put the microphone directly in front of your mouth and say the phrase ?Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper? and you?ll hear and see what I mean. Audacity will display a fine graph of sharp jagged spikes.
Although it is possible to edit them out of your recording it is a painstaking business. Much better to take measures to avoid them before they take up residence in your lovingly prepared recordings.
The trick lies in the position of the microphone. You?re trying to avoid any direct blasts of air so adopt your recording position and place your finger over the top of the microphone. Blow sharply out of your nose and mouth and if you feel any air on your finger then adjust your position. Alternatively you can make or buy a pop filter which usually fits on to your microphone and creates a screen between your mouth and the microphone.

ceastman
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Post by ceastman » August 4th, 2006, 12:46 pm

Ooo! Ooo! Let's get some son et lumiere going for this!

-Catharine, not near a mic presently

kri
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Post by kri » August 4th, 2006, 1:43 pm

I offer this for the plosives episode as an example if you chose to use it..

http://www.greenkri.com/librivox/plosives.wav

hugh
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Post by hugh » August 4th, 2006, 1:45 pm

magnifico!

jimmowatt
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Post by jimmowatt » August 4th, 2006, 2:34 pm

Volume

Volume is important.
Let it be not so much as doth shake the house but surely enough to frighten a mouse.
For PC/Windows users check your task bar (usually bottom right) there ye shall find a plethora of icons.
One of these shall reveal itself to be a speaker of the loud variety.
Right click this and left click 'adjust audio properties'. Then choose the audio tab and proceed directly to the middle section of the window which has now become 'sound recording. Here you can choose your default device and adjust the 'volume' (occasionally referred to as 'gain').
Whenever you record be sure to watch the screen to check whether you're clipping. The lines that indicate the loudness of your voice will extend further than the edge of the scale.
This is technically known as 'a bad thing.
In digital recordings it could even be known as a 'very bad thing' as it will just cut off the sound at the edge of the scale and you will get a strange truncated sound. That piece of the sound that goes off the edge of the screen can not be recovered. It has ceased to be.
Watch the scale as you speak.
Watch for nice peaks and troughs on your waveform.
If you've got a decibel measurement program such as 'mp3gain' then you're looking for sound levels of around 89 decibels.
Remember speaking softly and carrying a big stick counts for naught when making audio recordings. You want a clear sound of a reasonable volume. My volume setting in windows is about two thirds the way up the scale.

Kristen
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Post by Kristen » August 4th, 2006, 7:12 pm

jimmowatt & kri, thanks! I will edit these into our first two Buzz & Hmmm columns.

If anyone else wants to contribute on the same topics, that's great. Just like our recordings, there's room for more than one version.
Kristen
http://www.mediatinker.com
[url=http://librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/KristenMcQuillin/]My recordings & claimed chapters[/url]

harvey
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Post by harvey » August 4th, 2006, 8:51 pm

Kristen wrote:jimmowatt & kri, thanks! I will edit these into our first two Buzz & Hmmm columns.

If anyone else wants to contribute on the same topics, that's great.
Just like our recordings, there's room for more than one version.
I would add to Master J's exposition that another aspect of avoiding plosives
is careful enunciation. I've found that I can reduce the amount of time I spend
editing plosives by taking care to gently say words with f's and p's.

Kristen
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Post by Kristen » August 4th, 2006, 9:40 pm

harvey wrote:another aspect of avoiding plosives is careful enunciation
Great idea. That could easily be another column on its own.

Could you/would you expand on your pronunciation techniques? How do you do "gently say words"? If you can describe how to do it in 150 words (send me a PM if you like), I'll add another column to the growing editorial calendar.

:)
Kristen
http://www.mediatinker.com
[url=http://librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/KristenMcQuillin/]My recordings & claimed chapters[/url]

harvey
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Post by harvey » August 5th, 2006, 2:50 pm

Kristen wrote:
harvey wrote:another aspect of avoiding plosives is careful enunciation
Could you/would you expand on your pronunciation techniques? How do you do "gently say words"?
How's this?

Pay close attention to how you say letters that cause plosives, such
F, P, and B [others?]. Hold your palm four or five inches from your
mouth. If you feel puffs of breath on your hand as you say syllables
starting with those letters, then likely you would have recorded a
plosive. Practice saying plosive words, pronouncing them gently until
the puff of breath is reduced or non-existent. I think this is a
matter both of breath control -- how much air comes from your lungs --
and lip action. The word "puff" itself is a good one, since it has
both a "p" and an "f". If you have trouble with plosives, say the
word slowly and you probably will feel two puffs of breath on your
hand. Two more practice words are "Firefox", the name of our favorite
Web browser, and "probably".

kri
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Post by kri » August 5th, 2006, 4:38 pm

The only thing Harvey, is that you can save yourself a lot of work just by placing the microphone in the correct place. Then it doesn't matter how forcefully you blow outward, you won't get a plosive.

harvey
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Post by harvey » August 5th, 2006, 5:33 pm

kri wrote:The only thing Harvey, is that you can save yourself a lot of work just by placing the microphone in the correct place. Then it doesn't matter how forcefully you blow outward, you won't get a plosive.
Hmmmm... Based on suggestions in the forums, I've fiddled with mic
placement. I use a headset mic, and I've tried different positions and
orientations. Even raised so it's mid-way between my mouth and my eye
-- and above my nostril, I still have problems with plosives if I'm
not careful.

Sometime before I turned 20, I decided I wanted to speak clearly and
correctly, so I started enunciating every syllable. It became habit
long ago. So I never say anything like "wha-da-ya mean"; I say "what
do you mean" so you can clearly hear the "T", and there's a stop
before "do". In reading the Adventures of Pinocchio, I found that my
normal pronounciation of the frequently-used word "little" -- "lit - tle",
with both T's distinctly said -- sounded a bit artificial or odd, so I
modified it more to the usual where the T's are said more like D's.
But perhaps I digress.

It may be the case that my habit of distinct enunciation of every
syllable contributes to excessive plosives. And that's why mic
placement above my mouth, as recommended in the forums, doesn't fix
the problem for me. So, I have to be extra careful when recording to
gently pronounce words with consonants that contribute to plosives.

Kristen
Posts: 390
Joined: September 26th, 2005, 12:36 am
Location: Tokyo, Japan
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Post by Kristen » August 5th, 2006, 5:53 pm

Thanks for the explanation, Harvey. Very helpful.
Kristen
http://www.mediatinker.com
[url=http://librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/KristenMcQuillin/]My recordings & claimed chapters[/url]

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