Blog May 2016

Recording voice-overs: Sit or Stand?

Posted On: May 23, 2016

To sit; or, not to sit- that is the question.  Whether it is noble for one to sit or stand during a voice-over session depends on the project you're recording; and thus has been the subject of on-going chatter in the voice-over social media platforms.  Most would agree that standing is the best; but if you consider the nature of the recording (the subject matter), and/or the length of time you'll be at the mic or how long the project is, some say sitting would serve best. 

Standing at the microphone has its advantages...

  • You're able to use 'body language'; oddly enough, you can hear 'body language' in a voice-over recording. 
  • The use of hand-gestures is also easier when you're standing
  • Breathing is always easier. 

...and some disadvantages:

  • When you're doing a 'long-form' narration and you're going to be at the mic for an extended period of time (like for an audiobook) you tend to tire more easily; you can hear that, too.
  • You have a medical condition that prevents you from standing (even if for a short period of time).

Sitting at the mic has some advantages too:

  • Although 'body language' is possible, there are limitations.
  • The same applies to hand-gestures.
  • You can be at the mic for longer periods of time.
  • You're comfortable.

Keep in mind that when I refer to 'sitting' at the mic, I don't mean in a chair (like in the graphic to the right).  I'm referring to a bar-stool type of seat where you can have your knees slightly bent (as opposed to parallel to the floor).

Try doing a video search for 'voice-over recording session'; you'll see that most of the videos show the person standing while recording.  Use your common sense, if the script is energetic and/or emotional your best option would be to stand; whereas, non-dramatic or (dare I say) boring scripts you could sit down, because they typically don't require much emotion or energy.   

For the most part when I record voice-overs, I stand; however, I sometimes let the script decide (barring any direction I've gotten) as to whether I sit or stand at the microphone. 

Your results may vary.

by Rich Brennan