What really goes on behind the soundproof doors of my studio and how I ensure a quality voice recording every time – despite soaring temperatures, avian guests and police arrests
Delivering the best quality voice recording is essential to me, whether it’s a short session like a radio ad or a bigger project, such as narrating an audiobook. I’ve worked from my home studio now for over 20 years and during that time, I’ve found that I can pretty much control most things that happen within its soundproof walls, like keeping my equipment, including my voice, in peak working condition; making sure that I’m always fully prepared and on time to deliver the best recording possible; and successfully training my husband to stop using the loo next to my studio. However, over the years, I’ve discovered that there are certain things that I just can’t control.
“It was on one of those rare blistering hot days that I encountered a most unexpected interruption. In an attempt to get some air flowing, I left my back door open. Not only did this let in some much-needed fresh air, but also a magpie!”
An unwelcome studio guest
Living in Scotland, the weather is probably the most obvious challenge. I’ve had to speak between thunderclaps; postpone recording due to gale-force winds; and during the summer months, my little soundproof booth regularly morphs into a pizza oven. It was on one of those rare blistering hot days that I encountered a most unexpected interruption. In an attempt to get some air flowing, I left my back door open. Not only did this let in some much-needed fresh air, but also a magpie! Yes, a huge magpie, which flew into my office, making a horrendous noise whilst redecorating the place with its recently digested lunch. The experience was so terrifying, the poor producer that I was working with remotely at the time, not only had to talk me out of my studio, but also through the whole magpie evacuation, which involved a lot of screaming and a sieve!
Other dramatic happenings which have occurred mid-session include my house being burgled (evidence that my sound proofing is excellent), a multitude of helicopter rescues from nearby famous landmark Arthur’s Seat, and a police chase that came to a spectacular and successful conclusion in my back garden. Despite my best efforts, I did have to momentarily excuse myself from the session on that occasion, in order to allow the police officers to escort the arrested criminals from my garden, through my house, and into the waiting police car at my front door.
A quiet commotion
So, although I may sound cool, calm and collected, you never know what actually might be happening on the other side of the studio door. It is my job to deliver a quality voiceover regardless of the chaos, and I’m pleased to say I seem to be making a success of that – even the magpie-saving producer is still happy to work with me. Rather disappointingly, there have been no recent arrests in my garden.