My latest short story "The Night the Lights Came On"

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A New Narration Recording Technique

Last night I started recording a new chapter in the audio book I'm narrating, and I went about it in a different way. This new way is going to save me a ton of time in post. I'm still not even halfway through editing the enormous first chapter of the book. I recorded the first chapter by hitting record and just going until I was done reading the chapter. I took a couple breaks to refill my water cup, but when I was done I had over two hours of audio to go through. This chapter is way longer than most clocking in at over nine thousand words. In some cases I wasn't sure about the way I read a line so I would do a few more takes. Now I'm having to go back and edit all of those out and it is taking me forever. Like, two hours gets me twenty minutes of edited audio type of forever. Yeah, that long - really!

From what I've read on the web many of the pros record audio books using a "punch and roll" technique where they stop recording on mistakes, and then punch right back in recording over the mess up. I'm using Audacity to record and it doesn't have a way to listen to a few seconds of the track and then record over the bad line, but I've found a method that works surprisingly well for me. It maybe takes me a second longer than it does for them with their expensive recording software.

Last night I spent around two hours recording. There were some interuptions, but I got almost forty minutes of recorded audio. This audio, however, is only of the good takes. No bad lines can be found, not even a couple good versions of a line. If I mess up I stop and delete the bad line, then hit record and keep going. In some cases I'll still just keep recording until I nail the line, then stop recording, review, and edit out the bad ones right then and there. I really thought this would mess with my flow of narrating, but it hasn't whatsoever. I was already stopping to take sips of water, so stopping to do a quick delete and hit the record button is no big deal - especially since I'm using hotkeys. This is going to cut down on a ton of my production time for this audio book. I'm so excited to be doing this and I can't wait to see it out in the world on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes! Thanks for stopping by.


  1. When I record and make a mistake, I pause, pop or click to make a sharp peak and keep going. Thus means when I edit I just look for a pause and a peak and I know I need to edit that spot. I also him at chapter breaks so I know where to insert break music :-)

    So many little tricks. What ever works and works well, keep doing that!

    1. Thanks for adding to the conversation JR! That is a great idea. I've heard from Tee Morris on a podcast, and JD Sawyer in his book "Making Tracks" to try using a dog clicker too. I might have to give these a go too. I'm starting to fall in love with the idea though that when I'm done recording it's all good takes and I just have to tweak the timing and take out mouth sounds. That said, I should keep experimenting to see which gives me the fastest results for edited audio. Thanks man!

  2. It's funny I was reading more of J. Daniel Sawyer's excellent book on making audio books called "Making Tracks" and I saw that he recommends this technique. I wish I would of had time to read his whole book before starting my audio book. I figured I knew enough having recorded tons of my own short stories. I have learned so much from that book!