by Helen Lloyd
When the prep is done it’s time to start recording. Each hour of finished audio will generally take more than an hour of studio time to record. Most pro studios estimate that it takes two hours of recording to produce an hour of finished audio – and expect a narrator to complete around three to three and a half hours of finished audio per working day (normally a working studio day is eight hours, with a break mid-morning and mid-afternoon as well as a lunch break).
This takes discipline, concentration and stamina. Of course the schedule can be more flexible when a narrator is recording in their own studio, but the concentration and need for consistency still applies and it will likely take more time to complete each hour of finished audio.
All of the narrators at Raconteurs work in both personal studios and mainstream studios – and there are pros and cons to both ways of working.
Recording in a pro studio
The advantage of working in a pro studio (or in a personal studio with a director connected ‘down the line’) is that there is someone else listening to the read from the other side of the glass or on Zoom or a similar application. The director or producer has a copy of the script that they follow as they listen, so any error is picked up immediately.
The amount of input a narrator gets from the person on the other side of the glass will vary from studio to studio. Sometimes that person is an engineer and is listening from a technical point of view, and in some studios there may be a different person in the control room each day and a minimum of ‘direction’ will be given. The best option is when a producer or director has also read the book in advance, discusses fully with the narrator prior to recording, and then guides and directs them during the recording itself.
Remote recording in a personal studio
It is obvious why narrators enjoy working with an engineer or director. However, there are many wonderful audiobooks produced in high-quality personal studios and there are many Earphones and Audie award winners and nominees who record major titles for major publishers from home, self-directing from their personal studios.
The huge advantage to working in a personal studio is the flexibility it affords. Audiobook narration is a major commitment under any circumstances, but when working at home, narrators can more easily juggle childcare and family commitments.
Narration demands stamina and commitment as well as talent and imagination. Maintaining consistency of performance quality and ensuring that your audio quality is up to the required standard demands investment, knowledge and good ears – it is not for the faint hearted. There are often deadlines to meet which can sometimes be very tight.
Audiobook narration is not something that can easily be fitted in after doing a day job and it is difficult to do successfully as a hobby. You need stamina as well as talent and imagination to record for hours on end and to maintain consistency of performance and audio quality day after day for perhaps a twenty hour book – or even more challenging , for a series of books.
The rewards of audiobook narration are certainly not financial, but when the planets align and a narrator is ‘in the zone,’ narrating a beautifully written book that really resonates with them, then there is nothing better!
If you are an author who would like to bring your work to audio – whether to expand your audience, connect with new readers / listeners, or enhance your brand, get in touch with Raconteurs Audio today – and find out more about how we can help you publish your audiobook!
About Helen Lloyd
Helen has been blogging for many years – about acting, audiobooks and other related stuff. She is a founder member of Raconteurs Audio, and as well as being an award winning audiobook narrator and producer, she is a narrator coach and mentor helping numerous narrators to hone their skills and advance their narration journey.