There are so many things that go into making a cartoon, not just animating. In fact, i think animating is the easy part. If you watch the credits of a popular cartoon such as Family Guy, Simpsons, or Spongebob you will notice that there are hundreds of names and jobs that it takes to make those cartoons. When i first started animating, i had absolutely no clue how to record decent voices for my cartoons. I mean i could go to a local recording studio, but like any other beginner animator i didn’t have the money for that. So, the only thing left to do was to record my own voices. But where to start? I went to Google. I started looking up “at home recording studios,” “cheap recording equipment,” and so on. I found a ton of information that didn’t mean anything to me. I didn’t have the money for professional grade equipment. Everything I saw basically told me i’d have to spend about $500 or $600 on decent gear. Ha, i gave up on looking.
I just happend to have a small mic sitting around the house. I have no idea where it came from, but it worked, somewhat. So i used it. It was a small stereo mic, i think it was made for online chat, but i’m not really sure. I don’t know if it really helps or not but i found a tube speaker box which was made for an 8 inch subwoofer and i lined it with foam. Then I placed the microphone inside the tube. Like i said, i’m not sure if that was necessary but i wanted to keep any echo out. I figured the foam would absorb any extra sound.
I know that most sound studios have some sort of sound insalation on the walls. I just wanted to slightly mimic that. I used this setup for the first several cartoons that i made. I used it for the first 3 DipDock Crows episodes, and the first 5 or 6 episodes of The Vegie-Tables.I simply plugged in this mic into my desktop (for some reason my laptop couldn’t handle recording sound) and i used a program called Audio Recorder for Free that i downloaded from a Google search. The program was a simple recording program. It wouldn’t allow me to edit my voices at all.For a few episodes i used a program called Adobe Soundbooth. I was able to cheat the system and use my 30 day trial for much longer. Soundbooth was an awesome program, once you figured it out. It allowed me to cut my voices, and edit them in crazy ways. I actually used Soundbooth to change my voice pitch, tone, and timing to create the voices for the family of grapes in Happy Grapes and Grape Juice. You can see this here:
All of the Above Episode of The Vegie-Tables was recorded with the mic above and using .
After several months, my 30 day trial of sound booth ran out and i was stuck using Audio Recorder for Free agian. The first episode i recorded with that program can be seen here: ( ). So i was still looking for a decent, cheap recording program, as well as better equipment. One of my good friends Jarred Lohr just so happens to co-own and operate a recording studio. I contacted him and asked him what would be a good, cheap set up for a at home voice recording studio for my cartoons. He told me to get something called an audio interface, and a dynamic microphone. He suggested an interface by a Microphone by and for editing. I looked into it. If I purchased these items new I would spend roughly 250 to $300. Money that i didn’t have. Then one day, i was walking around a local Goodwill and i spotted something that looked kindof familiar. It was an . I didn’t know what it was, but it was on $7 so i bought it. Turned out that it was exactly what i needed for recording audio through my computer. I took it home, found a USB cable to connect it to my laptop and tried to start recording. I couldn’t really figure it out. Originally the interface came with editing and recording software, but since i bought this one second hand I didn’t have a copy of ProTools. I looked online and if i wanted to spend about $100 i could buy ProTools by itself. But I didn’t want to. So I set it to the side for a while.
I started doing a little more research on mics, the interface that i bought and on recording software. First I decided to look around for a decent dynamic microphone. I wasn’t going to spend top dollar on a Shure mic, so I found a cheaper dynamic mic. I found a dynamic mic. It was about $15. It fit right into my budget. So i ordered it. The mic did’t come with a mic cable so i found a cheap for $5-10. Then I started looking around for a cheap recording program. I found something better than cheap. I found something for FREE!! I found some software called Audacity. I downloaded this program at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ . It worked great! To me, it seemed to have all of the benefits that had. I’m sure a professional sound person wouldn’t agree, but Audacity had everything i needed. Plus it recorded way better than Sound Recorder for Free. Sound Recorder for Free always skipped on me for some reason. It would cut out and my recording would sound terrible, so i had to record each line 100 more times than i should have to. Another, idea I found from searching online was to make and use a popping guard or a pop filter. A is used to prevent a popping sound in your recording when you pronounce the b or p sound or any other sudden forceful sound. Now you can by these pretty cheap, like $10. But i thought why go cheap when you can go free! So i made one. I took an old metal coat hanger and i bent in in a circle the size of the front of my speaker box. Then i stretched some panty hose over the hanger, and tied it off. BAM! Cheap, Free pop filter! So I had my program, my interface and when my mic and cable came in i was ready to start recording like a professional! Well, somewhat. I set everything up, ran my interface through my laptop (which i can now record sound on thanks to the interface) and started recording my voices. I really liked the differenct. The voices were much clearer, and much easier to record! Here’s the first cartoon I made using this setup: