Thursday, March 05, 2009

Basic MIC Techniques

Voice actors being "angels" inside a professional studio need not touch equipments. Ah.. but what if your powers are called to action - live? Here are some basic Mic Techniques you can keep in mind when talking in public and formal engagements.. and share experiences of course!

1. Audition the Mic.
- Never blow, tap or whistle on the mic. It's very annoying and unprofessional. To properly test mike signals, snap your fingers on the receiver. Make gestures and hand signals to the technician, before speaking. Its always funny to see people talking on "first-hand" mics and fumbling on stage.. you dont want that experience, believe me. ;D

2. Hold it properly.
- Don't hold the mic by the head, sideways or upwards.. Dynamic mics, the kind usually used for solo performers and live speakers are better spoken over to, and not directly. So the best way for you to do this is to hold the mic by the stem, slightly slanted, and about 2 inches away from the tip of your chin. Oh, and the way for you to estimate that, is by using your thumb to measure the distance. (Just don't hold talk and hold it like that every time). Remember talk over it. Not directly at it.

3. Never Kiss the Mic.
- You do not let your lips damp the rim or the protective metal shell of a dynamic mic. Especially if you are doing it in a live performance. It destroys the quality of the pick-up. And the bigger reason being, is that people handle these mics differently every time. As we talk the breath contains moisture that gets into the foam, and may culture the growth of fungi and bacteria, and degrade the metal cover with rust.

Note that some lights and sounds setup provider, claim that they treat the mics with alcohol (yeah, sure.) But have you ever wondered why some mics have that funky smell?.. Its because it hasn't been properly disinfected, and you're romancing it.

4. Do not shout.
- Microphones are built to help you in your performance. Most amateur VO talents shout on the mic in big crowds and venues. This is a no, no. Believe it or not, even Michael Buffer is not actually shouting before that boxing match.. If you are finding it difficult to speak because you cant hear yourself, ask the technician to raise the volume of your monitor speakers (the ones infront/side of the stage, usually). You can also use a headset to monitor the level of your voice when performing as a VO. This will help you cope with the delays in audio in large venues.. It is very hard to talk when you dont have a good ear, so make sure you are covered by doing auditions of your lines before hand.

5. Think before speaking.
- Complete the thoughts in your head thoroughly before talking. Haven't you noticed why some people eat their words, fumbling at the act and in turn making them totally incomprehensible? (cue dubbing line: "Anong sabi mo?!") That's because their brain is thinking faster than their body can react. They thought that the idea has been completed in their head, to the point that they think they already said that matter to you even if they didn't. (Does that line make any sense?) Ok wait.. Its like, trying to match your brainwaves with the speed of your lips - which is almost certainly is impossible. This commonly happens to bloggers/writers who thinks so fast while typing and jumps a word or two.

Though some may argue that this is normal at times (in an abnormal fashion I guess). But when behind the microphone, facing an audience or unseen, and you are expected to “show off” that is.. then things are definitely much different. So the rule is: Complete the thought. Practice your material. Then perform. There's a saying in the world of Voice Overs which goes: "You are only good as your last performance." Remember that. 

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