Do you know your ADR from your IVR? Do you worry you’ll get FLAC from a client if you aren’t on their WAV length? Then this blog is for you!
Ungh! Don’t you just hate jargon? Acronyms and abbreviations, technical language and endless new words and phrases that boggle your brain and make you feel stupid and alienated. What you need is a glossary for voiceover!
I know that when I first joined the industry I felt like I was tasked with learning a whole new language to do a good job. And that’s certainly got worse since so many of us now have our own home studios and have to manage the technology and kit. I’m not just a voiceover artist these days. I’m an audio engineer too!
So, I thought I’d help you out if you’re as confused as I was with a short glossary for voiceover artists of the most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations you’ll need to know.
Please drop me a line or make a comment if you think there are some obvious ones I’ve missed out.
An A-Z of Jargon
ADR – Automated Dialogue Replacement, sometimes also called Additional Dialogue Recording, Looping or Loopgroup work. This is a process in the film and TV industry where actors and voice artists supply all the additional dialogue required for the soundscape of a production. E.g. the other punters in a cafe where the lead actors are chatting, radio announcements in the distance, henchmen grunting and lots and lots of women screaming! Often dubbing is involved if the main dialogue sound wasn’t good enough on the day.
Cardioid – heart-shaped region where some microphones will be most sensitive to sound.
CODEC – a device (usually used if you have an ISDN line) or computer program for encoding or decoding a digital data stream or signal. Codec is a portmanteau of coder-decoder. A codec encodes a data stream or a signal for transmission and storage, possibly in encrypted form, and the decoder function reverses the encoding for playback or editing.
Compressor/decompressor – a piece of software that converts a raw stream of uncompressed data to a compressed form. The same piece of software can also play the compressed video on-screen.
Decibel– a measurement of sound. Abbreviated dB, it is one-tenth of a Bel (a unit of measurement named for Alexander Graham Bell).
EQ – is an abbreviation of an equalizer. In layman’s terms it’s a way of turning up or down the volume for different frequencies (bass, treble etc.)
FLAC – stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec,. It’s an audio format similar to MP3, but lossless, meaning that audio is compressed in FLAC without any loss in quality.
Frequency – cycles per second, expressed in Hertz (Hz) or the number of cycles in a given time period.
Gain – The amplification of the electronic signal created by your mic.
Gate – an audio processor that allows signals to pass only above a certain setting or threshold. Used if you want to eliminate a low room rumble for example.
You’re half way there! Keep going!
Hertz (Hz) – cycles per second of an electrical signal.
IP (internet protocol) – standard networking protocol, or method, which enables data to be sent from one computer or device to another over the Internet.
ipDTL – a web based alternative to an ISDN line. Find out more here.
ISDN – or Integrated Services Digital Network, is an international standard for end to end digital transmission of voice, data and signaling. You need to have a line installed into your studio and use a Codec.
IVR – Interactive voice response is a posh word for phone systems! It’s the technology that allows businesses to interact with clients through the use of voice and tones input via a keypad. It’s what you hear when you’re on hold and have press a million options to finally get frustrated and speak to an operator!
MP3 – an audio coding format that is compressed to make it easy to send and share.
Peak – the highest level of signal strength, determined by the height of the signal’s waveform.
Phantom power – a direct current (DC) power source available in various voltages.
VO – Voiceover – well, duh!
WAV – Waveform Audio File Format (WAVE, or more commonly known as WAV due to its filename extension)is a Microsoft and IBM audio file format standard for storing an audio.
XLR – is a 3-pin connector generally used to connect microphones to a console and other balanced audio feeds. Pin 2 is the (+) positive connection, Pin 3 is the (-) negative connection, and Pin 1 is the “ground” or “shield” connection of the balanced cable.
I found this amazing glossary of terms for Sound Engineers. Way too much for the average voiceover, but you may find what you’re looking for in there – http://www.testing1212.co.uk/a