To breathe, or not to breathe?

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Post by ChaseLandkamer » September 9th, 2017, 6:59 am

Hey all,

Being as new as I am to recording audiobooks I'm brought to this question of breathing: Do I need to edit out my breaths in my recording or leave them in? Or does it matter either way. Also say I want to do professional VO for audiobooks down the line. Is there a standard for breathing in this field? Of course though I want to perform my best even for volunteer projects as well, so what really is preferred?


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Post by tovarisch » September 9th, 2017, 7:04 am

Leave them in. They are a natural part of reading aloud. I don't think you stop breathing when reading live; do you?

As far as professional VO work goes, you'll need to ask in a different forum. From what I've seen or heard, however, they are left in as well.
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Post by pdyer » September 9th, 2017, 7:21 am

I suggest using the same approach as with most audio book narrators. Leave them in; if you ever listen to an audio book with the breaths completely removed, that sounds unnatural. Your breaths might need some slight processing: lower the volume of heavy breaths, those that sound too loud to you. The sound of your breathing just shouldn't be "in your face," so just a slight reduction is sometimes needed.

I trick I learned to reduce the sound of breaths is to open your mouth and inhale with your diaphragm. But even without tricks, leave your breaths in, it's natural.

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Post by TriciaG » September 9th, 2017, 7:53 am

I think of breath sounds as I think of that squeaky sound one hears when an acoustic guitarist slides his/her fingers over the strings to change chords. Most people don't notice it, but those that do start to obsess over it. :lol:

Yep, leave 'em in. It helps with timing, proves you're not a robot, and I think it's a subconscious cue to the listener that you're about to say something. (Sometimes I even copy breaths INTO parts of my recording, because the space feels unnatural without a breath!)

If you breathe like an asthmatic rhinoceros, then definitely consider post-processing your breath sounds in some way. But for the majority of readers, it's not necessary. :)
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Post by Penumbra » September 9th, 2017, 10:29 am

I agree with leaving minor breathing noises in. If your out breath results in the windy sound of air blowing across the mic, then I would consider moving the mic out of the air stream.
I've never particularly noticed breathing sounds in the professionally produced audio books I've listened to, which suggests to me that in a professional setting breathing sounds are minimal though not necessarily absent.
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Post by jeedsaddy » September 15th, 2017, 9:31 am

I've been told in several voice over classes taught by professionals in the business that for long form narration, you should develop the technique of breathing that minimizes the noise and then leave the breath sounds in. The trick is to keep the mouth open slightly and breath deeply and slowly through the mouth so that it's quiet. (You want to feel your diaphragm move, not see your chest heaving up and down). Of course, some breaths that are part scene, like an audible gasp, should be left in as that noise is part of the scene.

You just don't want to have an audible inhale after each sentence or two because it can be distracting. With training or practice, you should be able to read a whole paragraph (like the one above) in one breath, just pausing between sentences without inhaling, not breathing after every period as most people tend to naturally do.

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Post by tovarisch » September 15th, 2017, 11:09 am

I once listened to a section in a LibriVox book in which apparently the low volume was converted to silence using some tool (I am guessing). What a weird recording to listen to, let me tell you. No room noise, no breaths, yet the words were spoken by a human, not computer. I couldn't stand more than one section, luckily it was the only one so processed...
  • reality prompts me to scale down my reading, sorry to say
    to PLers: do correct my pronunciation please

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