tutorial: voice transformation
Mad in Pursuit: Living the art life
No-budget productions require imagination. Sometimes your only resource is yourself. I needed a youthful voiceover for a short video promoting the local zoo. Lucy to the rescue. Here's how I created her.
Tutorial Level: Basic
Goal: Transform my voice from an adult woman to a teenage girl and enhance the results to use as a voiceover narration.
Tool: Sound editing software with pitch, volume, compression, and graphic equalization capability. Sony Soundforge is used here.
Step 1. Record a sound file. Record voice. Save sound file to computer and open. A clip from my original recording can be heard in the player above: SusanOriginal.
Step 2. Effects > Pitch > Shift. Change your voice by changing the pitch, but keeping the duration. Lucy needed to be a real person, not a chipmunk. Every voice is different, so experiment. To transform from Susan to Lucy, I used +3 semitones -20 cents. ("Cents" are small fractions of semitones, for fine adjustments.) In the dialogue, I checked Preserve Duration and chose a Speech Mode preset. Results in player above: LucyTransform01.
I then edited my two "takes" into the final version: LucyTransform02 above.
Sound enhancements depend on the quality of the audio you begin with, so use these as ideas to stimulate your own exploration. Be sure to keep an eye on the output meter to make sure you aren't creating unwanted distortions as your volume peaks increase.
Step 3. Process > Volume > Boost. Since Lucy's voice was soft, I selected the whole track and boosted the volume by 200%. You can hear what the volume boost does in LucyTransform03.
Step 4. Effects > Wave Hammer. I wanted to make sure Lucy's narration stands out over background music and the natural zoo sounds, so I applied compression, using Sony's Wave Hammer effect. Based on a "voice" preset, this sets the Threshold = -10dB and Ratio = 5:1. I bypassed the Volume Maximizer.
Step 5. Process > EQ > Graphics.
I rolled off the lower frequencies as unnecessary (you should here any difference). And I gave a little boost between 100 Hz and 250 Hz for warmth; and a boost between around 1200 Hz and 2500 Hz to help bring the voice forward over other audio I might add to the soundtrack. I increased the Output Gain for a small volume increase.
The final result is LucyTransform04, which you can hear in the player above.