Audiobook – Voice casting, Dialogue Editing, Mixing & Mastering
Bull Publishing had requests for similar audiobooks for two editions of the US version. While these editions are similar to the US book in length and scope, they are different in many ways as they are culturally adapted. The end product desired was an audiobook for each of the two editions to distribute by download from their website and on CD. Q’d Up was chosen for this work because they preferred to work with someone who is versed in all things digital and who can create an audiobook for all formats.
Our process is both methodical and fluid. It is designed to keep even the most challenging project on track, while exploring creative and technical opportunities to enhance the production’s impact. Our audiobook process includes casting and recording the chosen voice talent, editing and QC the recordings, mastering the final audio, then encoding and delivering the audio book. With the creation of these audiobooks, Bull Publishing will enhance readership, make their titles available to non-readers, and improve sales. It ultimately puts them ahead of their competition because the audiobook industry has a smaller crowd compared to physical books and eBooks. So, readers can easily find their titles in this format.
Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions has helped hundreds of thousands of people with chronic illness gain their greatest possible physical potential and to once again get pleasure from life. Its simple goal is to help anyone with a chronic illness to live a productive, healthy life.
The book is a vital resource full of practical tips, suggestions, and strategies to build confidence in managing chronic illness and symptoms, such as fatigue, pain, shortness of breath, disability, and depression. It encourages readers to develop individual approaches to setting goals, making decisions, and finding resources and support.
The proven practices for self-management are based on an ongoing series of studies conducted at Stanford University School of Medicine. The content has been enriched by the feedback of medical and other professionals and thousands of people with chronic conditions all over the world.
Casting Voice Talent & Recording
Through our talent roster, we were able to provide the exact voice talent that Bull Publishing envisioned for their project. Compiling a list of talent and recorded voice samples of Bull Publishing’s projects, they targeted a Canadian voice with a fairly neutral accent that can fly on both coasts. Also, they targeted a Spanish voice for the book’s market of primarily being in California and the US West.
Once the talent was chosen from voice samples, the audio book was recorded. A good recording is everything. Prior to mastering, a well-recorded audio file will have an RMS value no greater than -28db RMS and peaks at a level no higher than -12db. This provides the headroom needed to boost the volume of the production without needing to compress the signal heavily.
Also important in recording is clean room tone. Clean room tone is a must. Replacing gaps of silence and modifying the pacing of the read with room tone is essential to a well-produced audiobook.
Editing & QC
Audiobook editing is broken down into two phases: an audio editing stage, followed by a QC stage. In this step, we achieved a clean, professional-sounding audiobook that elevated the source material. We can fix pretty much any studio-based problem, improve pacing and timing, help make sense of multiple-takes and generally produce an audiobook that is a pleasure to listen to.
Audio editing involves:
- Removing extraneous sounds from your recording (mouth noises, pops, keyboard clicks, etc.).
- Modifying the pacing of the narration.
- Dividing the chapters into individual files, and preparing their heads and tails.
- Noting errors which may necessitate a re-record.
The QC involves:
- Listening through the entire audiobook again to confirm the quality of the narration and the completion of the content.
- Marking and verifying all errors identified as necessitating a re-record.
- Re-recording the phrases needing improvement and placing these new recordings into the edited audio.
Mastering is the final step of post-production and the glue that brings the entire audiobook together. All chapters/sections are brought up to matching levels, which provides a smooth listening experience. Mastering, like editing, is a key aspect of the perceived professionalism of your production. The boost of clarity and consistency your narration receives from a proper master cannot be ignored.
- Assessing all audio files to ensure no peaks or clipping exist in the audio.
- Equalization/filtering to remove all unnecessary low and high frequencies.
- Levelling to keep your peaks steady.
- Using a limiter to properly set output levels to achieve a loud, clear and consistent sound.
Verifying that the RMS is at industry levels between -18db and -23db RMS.
Encoding & Delivery
When encoding the final files we keep all files in either mono or stereo (we strongly recommend mono). Also, files are encoded at a bitrate of at least 192kbps and contain a sampling frequency of 44.1kHz.
We supplied Bull Publishing with a variety of file formats and sampling rates including wav, mp3 and m4b. All tracks were marked with meta-data/ISBN information. Also, we set up masters to CD/DVD, USB sticks, as well as, download cards.
Audiobooks are a very personal medium…just the reader and the listener. Because of this, audiobooks need to be produced, edited and mastered to a consistent, high quality, finished product.
We have done several complex audio book projects with Q’d Up. They are great partners and provide the best quality and service at the best price. Highly recommended! – Claire Cameron, Bull Publishing