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Building My Home Studio: Becoming Voice Over

THANK YOU FRANK VERDEROSA!


I love my booth. When I go into my booth, it makes me happy. When I send audio files to others, the sound I get in my studio makes them happy! The designer of my FANTASTIC booth was Frank!


Frank Verderosa is a Senior Mixer for Digital Arts in New York City, who mixes sound for tv, radio, and film projects across the globe. He also has a personal consulting business helping people create home studios. Frank and Paul Liberti co-teach a class through Actors Connection called "HOME STUDIO PRIMER 101: How Do I Set Up A Voice Over Studio At Home?" Frank also hosts "MEET A COACH!"events through his website and had Paul on as one of his featured coaches. Between the class and the event, I knew I had found the perfect person to help me build my home studio.





Under the HELP tab on Frank’s website are different consulting services he offers. I signed up for the Booth Consultation. Prior to the meeting Frank asked me to send him info about the equipment I already owned. For our appointment we met on Zoom and I literally walked my phone around my house showing Frank different spaces that might work for a booth, or studio, of some kind. We also talked through my equipment, what I still needed, and what I’d like to change. After checking out various spaces, we decided on a closet that I was willing to convert to a studio. He had me take various measurements of the space and said he would get back to me with a plan, a shopping list, and instructions for putting the studio together. God bless him!


Frank provided me with diagrams for each wall of the closet, the number of sound panels* and corner wedges I would need, where to order them, the expected cost, and instructions. He also gave me suggestions for replacing my interface with a Scarlett Solo interface (see my Interfaces blog entry), and microphone suggestions that would work well with the space and the way Frank designed it.

So, what all do I have in my studio?

  • The closet, sound treated with around 150 acoustic foam tiles or corner wedges.

  • Studio lighting: Govee LED Strip lights that change color via a remote, and a Vont color changing smart lightbulb I put in the ceiling fixture and can control with my phone. The strip lights are technically unnecessary, but they give my studio a “cool” factor I absolutely love!

  • A SENSYNE 10” Ring Light with Tripod Stand for direct lighting of my face for Zoom classes and other meetings.

  • My microphone, mic stand, interface, headphones, docking station, computer, and all required connecting cables are there, of course.

  • An ethernet cable that is long enough to run from my studio to my router.

  • A surge protector power strip with enough outlets to plug everything in and a cord long enough to reach an outlet, since my studio is in a former closet with no outlet.

  • A height adjustable laptop cart to hold my equipment. Frank suggested the Techni Mobili Sit-to-Stand laptop cart and I love it – it is small but has just the right amount of space.

  • A Realspace Adley Mesh/Fabric Low-back Task Chair* I found on sale at Office Depot, but when it comes time to replace it, I am going with a chair Paul recommends: the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair Stool, Half-Dome Stability Ball Adjustable 23-inch.

  • An Amazon Fire HD10 tablet. A lot of voice actors use their iPads for reading their scripts in their studio. I don’t have an iPad, so Frank suggested this tablet because it is a lot less expensive (under $100 on sale).

  • A height adjustable CAHAYA 5 in 1 Dual-use Sheet Music Stand & Desktop Book Stand I found on Amazon that is complete overkill, except that I really love the spring-loaded arms on the music stand that hold the script, or Fire tablet, in place.

  • An “On-Air” light. This is not technically “in” my studio. It is lit up on my kitchen counter when I am in my studio so my family knows where I am, and not to make so much noise that it leaks into my studio despite my acoustic tiles. I have the ON AIR Neon LED sign by Geewkooy and I seriously love it.

*TIP: Sound tiles must be 2 inches thick.


TIP: The instructions that come with the sound tiles say that if you get them out of the packaging and leave them out they will reshape and be 2” thick tiles. They won’t. Well, maybe after a decade or so they might, but I doubt it. It also says on the packaging that you can soak the tiles in water for a few minutes, wring them out, and put them in a dryer to get them back to the correct shape and thickness. Just skip right to soaking them and going through the wringing and drying hassle. It is a long and tedious task (it took me three days to get through all my tiles), but it is they only way to get those blasted things to expand the whole way and give you their full sound insulation.


TIP: If you have walls made of sheetrock, sewing pins work well to hang sound panels. I used Singer Dressmaker Pins that I found on Amazon. I chose these pins because they would not damage the walls, making only a tiny hole, yet I hoped they would have enough substance to them that they would not bend when I was tapping them in with a small hammer. They worked great, though I did throw away about a half dozen pins that did bend. For non-sheetrock surfaces (like the door) I used 3M Super 77 Multipurpose Spray Adhesive which, theoretically can be peeled back off and re-stuck. (I used a similar 3M product years ago to create giant sticky notes out of full sheets of paper when I was a management consultant – but that is another story.) The panels stuck great. I haven’t tried peeling them off, but I am hopeful that if the time comes to do it, they will peel off like my giant sticky notes.


TIP: Get a chair with no arms so it is easier to move your arms when you record. Most recording is done standing up, but a chair is good for classes, long narration, and book recording.

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