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Syncing to a "guide" voiceover

 
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Mike Harrison
The Gates of Troy


Joined: 03 Nov 2007
Posts: 1982
Location: Equidistant from New York City and Philadelphia, along the NJ Shore

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2022 8:53 am    Post subject: Syncing to a "guide" voiceover Reply with quote

I've been asked to quote on a ±30-minute script whose segments are to be synced to a "guide" voiceover the client would provide. I'm leery of this because of several previous experiences trying to fit my reads into the time constraints established by a track read by someone other than a professional: the guide tracks were spoken much faster than I normally speak; just dictated, with no care for the words. It was all I could do to match the time, but the reads suffered.

Is this becoming commonplace? I'm wondering whether I should first ask to see the script and hear the guide track to see if I can do it without it sounding horrible. If I accept, is an additional charge warranted for syncing this way?

All comments greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 10865
Location: Portgordon, Scotland

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2022 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few years ago I was asked if I would do a job and like the one Mike has described my reaction was NOOOOOOOOO!

I quoted a ridiculous price.

Reply from production company reporting the response from the client?

"They went for it, sorry!"

Over the course of the weekend I plodded through the project and earned enough to buy an exotic dancer from Leeds and pay for Trombone lessons.
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Bish
3.5 kHz


Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Posts: 3736
Location: Lost in the cultural wasteland of Long Island

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2022 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only time I've had to deal with this was with a project where the video had been cut to the (badly read) scratch track. The guide was fast (as they usually are). I pointed this out to the client, and they simply said... "We totally understand and we can re-cut the video as necessary."

I think the point is that if you inform the client of your concerns (when you've actually seen if there is a problem or not), they may be more flexible than you expect.

I wouldn't see this as an opportunity to make an additional charge... but if you've let them know that the pacing required is too fast, but they insist - then just do the best you can. Maybe give them a short sample of you duplicating the fast pace so they can hear how it sounds. Just remember... it's dealer's choice. He who has the cheque book, wins Smile
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Bish
3.5 kHz


Joined: 22 Nov 2009
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Location: Lost in the cultural wasteland of Long Island

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2022 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Philip Banks wrote:
Over the course of the weekend I plodded through the project and earned enough to buy an exotic dancer from Leeds and pay for Trombone lessons.
All the exotic dancers I knew in Leeds actually gave trombone lessons as well. Very skilled ladies. They used to advertise in phone booths.
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Bish a.k.a. Bish
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 10865
Location: Portgordon, Scotland

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2022 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When the Pits closed they lost the Colliery Brass Bands too so the length of Meanwood Road in Leeds was illuminated by Davy Lamps and filled with the sound of Brass being played or changing hands for the love of Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez.
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ConnieTerwilliger
Triple G


Joined: 07 Dec 2004
Posts: 3356
Location: San Diego - serving the world

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2022 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Years ago - on an ISDN session, the client wanted me to match the pacing of each paragraph of their edited infomercial. Starting with the timing of the first paragraph that had been read by the writer...then the next paragraph read by the editor. She read at a reasonable pace and he read like a bat out of hell.

So instead of me trying to match each paragraph with the stopwatch in my head (which is a very good stopwatch by the way), I asked them to roll for record as they played back the show.

After 20 years doing on-camera work with an ear prompter, I was able to just follow along with whatever pace was in my ear...adding the appropriate inflections as I went along.

The fact that I was able to match the pacing was sort of mind blowing for the clients, but that didn't change the fact that the overall pacing was a mess when all was said and done.
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Bruce
Boardmeister


Joined: 06 Jun 2005
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Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2022 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Video and stills should always be set after the voiceover in my book, but very few clients have read my book. I say do your best to match the timing on each scene and if some takes sound good but are too long, let them figure it out. If they have to tear the video apart to make it all fit then they’ll have learned a valuable lesson.


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Deirdre
Czarina Emeritus


Joined: 10 Nov 2004
Posts: 12993
Location: East Jesus, Maine

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2022 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is all too commonplace now. People really need to read Bruce's book.

I would do it for short programs but I'm already having the sweats contemplating a 30-minute program cut to a non-pro scratch track.
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Mike Harrison
The Gates of Troy


Joined: 03 Nov 2007
Posts: 1982
Location: Equidistant from New York City and Philadelphia, along the NJ Shore

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2022 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

During my days as audio producer and narrator for a corporate multimedia production house (1977-1994), it was simple.

The approved narration script was recorded. I then sat with the art director to find out if he needed any pauses in the narration to allow for visual sequences. I ran a stopwatch as he thought his sequences out in his head. I edited those pauses into the narration, added the music and mixed the piece. The visuals (we worked with multi-image [multiple 35mm slide projectors] before changing over to video) were then programmed/edited to the narration. Done.

Because video editing in those days was done using ye olde-fashioned analog tape machines (linearly), clients made damned sure they approved every bit of work along the way because the thought of re-editing was horrific: it was cost-prohibitive, and it required dubbing the master to a second reel, thereby degrading the video quality.

With proper planning - and especially with digital video editing - I see no reason for the backwards approach of cutting a "final" video to a scratch track done by someone pulled off the street, only to have to force someone else to try to park a limousine in spot vacated by a VW bug. Those who complicate the simple are doody-heads.
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Bish
3.5 kHz


Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Posts: 3736
Location: Lost in the cultural wasteland of Long Island

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2022 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Harrison wrote:
Those who complicate the simple are doody-heads.
a.k.a. Over-paid, middle-management "creatives".
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Bish a.k.a. Bish
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Deirdre
Czarina Emeritus


Joined: 10 Nov 2004
Posts: 12993
Location: East Jesus, Maine

PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2022 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Those who complicate the simple are doody-heads.


T-shirts are in order, I say.
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Lee Gordon
A Zillion


Joined: 25 Jul 2008
Posts: 6742
Location: West Hartford, CT

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2022 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


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Mike Harrison
The Gates of Troy


Joined: 03 Nov 2007
Posts: 1982
Location: Equidistant from New York City and Philadelphia, along the NJ Shore

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2022 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

May it become a "movement."

Nice work, Lee!
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Mike
Male Voice Over Talent
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MBVOXX
Been Here Awhile


Joined: 03 Jun 2008
Posts: 210
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2022 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

M advice is to not only do the job but get used to it.

I routinely record VO tracks to a timed window. Much of the work I do for television programming is done to locked video that has had a scratch VO done by the editor. Then they remove the editor's track and I record to that time coded slot. And every editor reads at a different pace.

On one show I narrate, we roll in real time while I insert my narration in the timed sections via Source Connect. They feed me the video via Zoom and capture my VO at their end, in London, via SC as the show rolls. If I make a mistake they just reset the section and we roll again.

Just yesterday I recorded half a dozen programming promos that were all timed and synced lines to the editor's pre edited video sequence scratch tracks.

It's great when they edit to your VO track, but recording VO last in the production process is SOP that's been in practice since the days of video tape so it's something every VO person should be able to do.
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