This review of the book “Voice Actors Guide to Recording at Home and On the Road” by Harlan Hogan and Jeffery P Fisher is based on the 2008 (2nd) edition.
I purchased the first edition of this book when I was working in TV as a news cameraman. As I was on the road a lot with journalists who needed to record their voice for news story voice overs, it seemed like a natural fit for me based on the title of the book.
The book is written for people with very little tech knowledge, who might be afraid of computers and don’t know anything about recording their voice.
The authors start with the very basics and then build on them.
Although some of the technology, websites, and other information are slightly dated now, for example, the book covers the topic of burning your production to CD or DVD for delivery and backing up production files to a CD library. Technology moves on, and you can’t expect a book to keep up to date when it was published in 2008.
The principles are still the same, and although many of the high-end microphones mentioned are now “standards.”
If you buy a copy, remember that this is an American book full of American idioms and American style humour and references.
It also contains links and refers to many organizations and things that are particular to the USA. The chapters on how to work as a voiceover artist are also American and focus on how to survive in the US market.
On the minus side for some people may be the very strong zany US humour in the book. It could be considered vegemite or Marmite to some people – it will either annoy the hell out of you or you will love it.
The authors and editor try to be funny, and I found that some of the jokes and asides got in the way of the information they are trying to impart.
However, the information and techniques given were keepers, useful and quite honestly – brilliantly broken down to the point that even a journalist could understand them.
Perhaps the biggest and best nugget of information I got was: “How to build a portable voice booth” that you can set up anywhere. I have made these several times when I worked in TV and in radio using acoustic foam. They work as advertised and I made several recordings with them while out on the road with great results.
For a book that was published in 2008, it’s a good read for someone not familiar with the basics of voice recording. Yes, it is slightly out of date with the technology details, but let’s be honest – it’s what you would expect from then. It is very good at covering the basics and getting your feet wet in the industry.
However, I’m not sure that (even at the time) there were many people looking to try to do this.
I love the work that Harlan Hogan does – I am a very big fan of his – which is why I bought the book in the first place. But I just feel that it may have missed the mark back in 2008, and right now there is very little to make people want to re-read it – unless you were just starting out in radio and wanted to know the very basics.
Overall, 3 out of 5 stars – and that’s probably being generous given the delay between the release of the book and now.