Monday, 17 January 2022

Why Animators Should Record Audio First

Voice actors come first - then animation
One of the rules of animation film-making is that the audio comes first, plus sound effects (and music) - then you do the animation. 

The voice recording for the actors is done first, cut into the edit, and then the animators create their performance to match the dialogue.

Sometimes film-makers will try doing it the other way around, animating the characters first and then adding the voice-over, but this is almost always a mistake. The reason for this is that it is very hard to post-sync the dialogue.

The rule of animation film-making is always this: record your dialogue first, then do the animation.

Storyboard process
Part of the process of doing storyboards is to figure out the puzzle of film-making. What is the story you want to tell? Does it have voices, or is it silent? Is there a narrator? These are all creative choices that need to be made long before the process of animation begins.  Animation film-makers create the storyboard to solve these problems and then, once the edit is working, shots are handed over to the 3D Layout Dept (sometimes called Previs, DLO, or Ruff Layout) and then finally to the animation dept.

Recording Voices in a Sound Booth
Temporary Dialogue
Sometimes on a feature film, studios will record temporary, "temp", or "scratch" audio, as a placeholder until the big star is recorded. The reason for this is simple: big stars are expensive and, since the script is always subject to revisions, you don't want to waste money on recording changes to the dialogue.

Add Sound Effects
You also want to add any necessary sound effects to the shot before animation. Don't wait to the end to add the sound design - you want this done up front, because you will need to make your animation match the sound. 

How to record voice-overs
If you need to record voice-overs for your film, you will need to get yourself a microphone (though your laptop's built-in mike may be good enough these days) and do some recordings. To see how to record voice actors professionally, follow this link.

Audio and Sound Resources for Animators
For more on the use of sound effects and sound design in animation, follow these links:

For more on the experience of studying at Bucks New Universitycome and visit us at one of our Open Days, take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK.

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