APTIPS: Let your inner child go wild!

If you were anything like me during your childhood years, then you enjoyed building a few “blanket forts” in the family living room, or in your bedroom, or any other place you could get away with. Well, now it’s time for us to think like kids again.

Do you have any chairs, clothes racks, or other “structural” items kicking around? It’s time to break out some blankets, too. They’re soft and fluffy, and they are also great for absorbing those pesky sound waves. Go nuts, and grab as many blankets as your arms can carry. Actually, pillows are good too. Avoid anything with crinkly or stiff fabric. That’s what you’re going to need, to build your very own adult-sized makeshift VO fort.

As you can see in the photo, I’m using folding chairs to create a structure that forms a “booth” that I can sit inside of. Look closely, and you’ll notice that I’ve used some blankets to pad the inside of the box. If I didn’t do that, the exposed folding chairs would leave flat, hard surface areas for sound waves to potentially bounce around and affect my recordings. This is why I told you to grab as many blankets as you can. When in doubt, more blankets are always better.

See what I’ve done with the clothes rack? This particular item is very important. By positioning it directly behind me, it’s going to act as a backdrop, which will catch and diffuse sound waves that bounce around the room. I’ll make sure to hang two layers of heavy blankets there, which will really give stray sound waves something soft to collide with. If you don’t have a clothes rack, chairs will do nicely too.

How about that stack of books on the seat of the futon? That’s where I’ll put the digital recorder. It’s important to adjust the height of the recorder to match the level of your face, because the microphone needs to be as “on axis” as possible. Once the height has been adjusted, I’ll cover my stack of books with a towel (extra sound absorption) before I start recording. Then I can simply sit on the floor and get to work on that audiobook. It’s not the most luxurious studio in town, but it’s definitely going to get the job done, without forcing me to work in unbearable conditions.

This is an excerpt from Audiobook Production – A Few Tips for Independent Publishers. Drop by for a new tip every week!