WikiFur:Project Spoken WikiFur/Recording guidelines

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Production notes[edit]

  • Ogg Vorbis audio is the format to use. We recommend that you use the following settings: 48 kbit/s, 44.1 kHz mono. (see talk for how to achieve this).
  • The resulting filename should consist of the article title in canonicalized form plus the ogg extension.
  • Treat links like text when reading. Any vocal indication of every link would disrupt the flow. However, you are free to pick out the most relevant links and mention them at the end.
  • Speak more slowly than normal, by about 25%. You should have about 150–160 words per minute so people can comfortably hear an article. Most conversational speech is at 200 words per minute or more. [1]
  • Tell people where it's from. Begin your recordings with:
    "Article name, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, at E N dot wikipedia dot org." and end each one with "This sound file and all text in the article are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, available at" (GNU is pronounced "g'noo" or can be spelled out).
  • As you come to them, read out all headings like this "Section one: History", "Section two: Modern uses" etc.

Production tips[edit]

  • Speak across the microphone or to the side of it, rather than directly into it, to avoid pops and breath noise. A distance of several centimetres away from the microphone is recommended.
    Another method of reducing pops and breath noises is to make a homemade screen. Form a circle with a coat hanger, cover it with an old pair of tights/pantyhose, and speak through it into the microphone.
  • Mess up a take? — Instead of stopping the recording, just stop speaking, then speak out "three, two, one" and then start reading again. You can easily edit out the "flub" since the countdown gives you a cue on where to make the edit, and gives you some "silence" to edit in.
  • Stay relaxed. Whenever you realize that your voice is becoming tenser than normal, or you're having more and more trouble speaking fluently, take a break, and resume when you feel muscular tension going away. Keep some fresh (not cold) water in reach, and drink some whenever you feel your mouth drying out. Also, speak outward, with your chin up. Posture and facial expressions can affect voice recordings.
  • Try standing up. If you think your voice sounds a little thin or lacking in expression, standing while recording might help. Radio announcers and actors regularly stand while speaking to lend additional depth and confidence to their performance.
  • Volume levels — make sure your audio levels are high but not clipping and, if you can, compress and normalize your audio.
    For those unfamiliar with "audio" terminology, a brief description of these terms:
    • Compression is a dynamic levelling of audio, making loud parts quieter, and the quiet parts louder, so that a consistent sound level is achieved (on professional audio gear where 0 dB is maximum, −12 dB is a good place to level the average RMS for speech). Beware of excessive compression, as it will make noise stand out (even after noise reduction) and could exaggerate some sounds of speech.
    • Normalization is a calculated adjusting of audio so that the loudest peak is set to maximum potential volume, generally it is close to 0 dB (on professional audio gear where 0 dB is maximum, −10 dB is a good place to normalize the average RMS for speech).
    • RMS — see Audio power

Removing noise[edit]

You should remove background noise from all your recordings. Here is a guide to doing this in Audacity.

  1. Make your recording.
  2. Select a chunk of the recording where you were not speaking. You should see a slight bumpiness on the line, representing the background noise.
  3. Select Effect → Noise Removal → Step 1 → Get Noise Profile.
  4. Select the entire recording (Ctrl+a).
  5. Go to Effect → Noise Removal → Step 2.
  6. Drag the slider a little to the left, towards Less.
  7. Select Remove Noise.

The reason for moving the slider is that the default setting is rather powerful, and is likely to affect the sound quality by removing too much noise. When in doubt, remove too little rather than (irreversibly) removing too much. A clue that you might have removed too much noise is hearing "bubbles" ("speaking in a glass"-like sounds) in the recording.

Even at the lowest setting, this tool should remove all audible background buzz. If it is not able to deal with the background noise, then you probably need to record it again, this time without buses and motorbikes going by your window!

If all this seems like a lot of hassle, then send a message to a fellow contributor (such as User:JaeSharp) and they'll do it for you.

Sound levels[edit]

You should be adjusting the recording volume so that the peaks you see on the screen do not touch the top and bottom when you speak. If they do, then "clipping" will occur (part of the sound information will be lost) and you'll just get a blaring noise. On the other hand, the volume should be set fairly high.

Once you have finished the recording, you should boost its volume. If you perform normalization as described above, the volume will increase. Normalization will amplify the signal as much as possible without causing "clipping". If normalization does nothing, then the software can't boost your voice without clipping. In this case, the chances are that you set the recording volume too high. It is also possible that there is a peak at some point in the recording because you made a loud noise (common culprits are: shouting the first few words of a sentence; coughing; clicking the tongue; choking on food; scraping your chairlegs on the ground...). You should try to edit that out, or perhaps just have another try.

It is also possible to select individual parts of your recording and boost them separately. However, compression (part of the "Dynamics Processing" effect in Adobe Audition) does this automatically and dynamically on a far finer scale. Compression is preferable.

Recommended tools[edit]

Use audio recording software that can record section by section, like: