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  • tiannaalley

Traveling As A VO

Traveling has never been a VO’s best friend, but it’s worth doing. I’ve already moved a couple of times while being a voiceover, and am glad I have that experience of picking up and figuring out acoustics in a new, random place...

...because I packed everything into a storage unit except for two suitcases and a backpack since I’ll be in the UK for six months renting six Airbnbs. I’ve already set up two studios, one in Northern Ireland and another close to Glasgow.

For my studio, I brought along three big bags of vacuum sealed acoustic foam, removable wall tape, mic arm, interface, mic cradle, pop filter, and of course my mic. Every place, I find a closet or a quiet corner of a room and figure out how to make it as noise canceling as possible. I almost brought a mic isolation shield, but am glad I made the call for the arm, since I have more room and I’ve noticed a boxier sound with the shield.

For setting up the first studio, I got lucky because the doors of the closet can come out on either side of my chair. My chair being a Victorian style, cushioned monstrosity, which made me feel royal! I put foam on all the walls of the closet and made the inside even by hanging a few coats on one side. I also found some padding from a baby’s crib that was perfect for some of the wall. I hung a comforter over the top of the two doors making it even more of a little booth. I then added a chair for the mic arm to be supported by and a little table for my computer. With my interface on the “arm chair,” cords artfully hung all over the place, I was ready to record… and then it started raining, because I was in Northern Ireland!

The rain and wind was the hardest part to work around. Luckily, there were consistently a lot of breaks in the rain where I could record for an hour, hear the tinkle on the metal roof, go to the living room to edit or do marketing, then get back to recording. That led to most of my site seeing being on the rainiest days during the week. I didn’t mind it though, because rain is my favorite weather and I enjoy visiting places that are perfectly suited to rain, such as book shops, museums, and cafes.

Everything I use has to be removable, since I’ll get charged if anything is ruined. Before the trip I had been trying different double sided tapes in my apartments in New York and have had some experiences with the end-of-lease inspection! So now, I know not to use the square double sided foam tape that you find recommended with sound foam panels on Amazon. Please, for the love of whatever deity you pray to, do not use them, unless you want it permanently on your wall (and note: even then I had to use some glue on the foam panel side of the tape to get the foam to stick to it, it sticks to the wall well, too well). I could not get the tape off the wall and spent hours trying to rub, peel and pray it off, including using Goo Gone and that stuff is not supposed to miss. I gave up at the end and asked how much they would take off our security deposit to just leave it up!

But to get back on topic, the tape that works as temporary and fairly secure is the round transparent double-sided adhesive dot tape. I know these names sound rather random, so I'll link them bellow and it’ll take you to the place I got them.

The foam I use that has held up for several moves is the JBER Acoustic foam panels. They are rated as one of the better acoustic foams on the cheaper end of the spectrum. They work for me and honestly, I think they look great!

I’ll be writing more blogs about traveling as a VO and whatever trouble I get into as I go. Please let me know if you have any questions about my setup or my business.

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