How can one learn to say "In a world..." like a pro?
September 24, 2014 7:04 PM   Subscribe

What has been written about radio, tv and movie trailer announcers' voices? I'm writing an article about a particular radio announcer, including a discussion of the sound of his voice.

I'm interested both in academic sources and high-quality journalism, as well as textbooks, training manuals and/or video lessons with practical tips for aspiring broadcasters.

I'd like to learn more about the use of the voice in sales techniques (radio and tv ads, for example) and also about radio djs and tv announcers more generally.
posted by umbĂș to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
The original "In a world..." guy was the legendary Don LaFontaine; you might start by looking at some of the coverage of him in particular.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:22 PM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Check out Sound Recording, by Jonathan Kern. It's basically an NPR manual.
posted by tooloudinhere at 9:08 PM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: A lot of the distinctive sound is made using close mic placement to pick up and boost the lowest frequencies while the speaker vocalizes at the lowest possible pitch range, which is a limit largely determined by biology but techniques such as laryngeal lowering and phonating with partially abducted vocal folds help the speaker to reach this limit. These techniques do not result in very loud speech, however, and the necessary boosting of the amplitude together with electronic processing add to the effect. The incomplete vocal fold closure may produce the slightly granular texture to the sound as well.
posted by slkinsey at 5:37 AM on September 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

I just watched a video on Netflix about voice actors called "I know that voice!" Surprisingly full of information and anecdotes. They didn't talk about radio, but they did talk a lot about the craft of creating voices.
posted by rebent at 7:45 AM on September 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, I've been playing around with different microphones for square dance calling, and the difference between mics is amazing and can totally change your voice. I haven't played with studio mics yet, just performance mics, but...

I'm currently using a Pyle wireless mic partially because it pops the mid-range. Of the mics I've tried so far (which isn't many), if I wanted the movie trailer sound, I'd grab an ElectroVoice N/D967 and hold it touching my lower lip, a little bit off of pointing straight down my mouth.

Mics are hard, because most shops treat them like a mouth instrument and won't let you try them out, but if you can start hanging out with people who have a collection you can learn a hell of a lot about augmenting your natural voice with mic selection.

Not to undermine the notion that practice and exercise makes your voice a much more versatile instrument, just to point out that hardware also has a huge impact.
posted by straw at 8:01 AM on September 25, 2014

I'm not sure whether the answer to your question is in here or not, but I do know that Crispin Freeman, very talented voice actor, does a podcast specifically about voice acting. He has a lot of industry guests on his podcast, some of whom I'm sure have done broadcasting voices at some point. Crispin's very passionate about voice acting and has often talked about the specifics of finding different voices in various parts of your throat and body in his panels that I've attended. You might find some interesting info by checking out his website, and I bet he'd be more than happy to actually to respond to email about this exact topic and give you a good answer or good direction. He's a cool guy like that.

Here's his podcast website:
posted by KinoAndHermes at 10:04 AM on September 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

I can't vouch for its accuracy, but Lake Bell's In a World includes characters' practice and techniques for voiceover work.
posted by casualinference at 12:56 PM on September 25, 2014

Low band pass filter. It lets low frequencies through and filters higher frequencies. A little tweaking and it can make anyone sound like the IN A WORLD guy.
posted by klangklangston at 1:03 PM on September 25, 2014

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