Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Is that really me?

I've started doing my first voiceovers for software demonstrations using Adobe Captivate, and there's another huge wave still to come.  I class myself as a veteran of these kinds of software demonstrations, in fact in a 6 month period this year I recorded over 100 of these!  However, I've always been able to get by with silent demonstrations.  Why do I sound like I count myself lucky?

Because I hate hearing the sound of my own voice.

Whenever I hear a playback of my voice, I feel like I'm hearing a complete stranger talking.  Now there is such a thing as an acoustic reflex, which contracts the muscles in our ear when we speak, and hence affects the way we hear our own voices, which can acount for this, so I have made a conscious effort to get over my dislike.  Nevertheless, it was with some trepidation that I donned the headset to record my voiceover, dreading to hear that strange voice getting steadily worse as my recording session progressed.

I was determined to make my voice sound a little better (at least to my ears) so I played around with some ideas that I hoped might work, such as saying jokes out loud, if only to put myself at ease. However, I found the best solution came from my favourite place - outside the box. I hit on the idea of recording my voiceovers for the slides in reverse order, this way I should sound better as I went along. I'm not sure how well the voiceovers will really go down with users, in fact Rosen (2011) notes that audio is a very passive medium and can actually cause learners to disengage from a visual task. But at least I felt more confident in recording, and hopefully that will come across in my voice...

Rosen, A., 2011. An Argument Against Voice-Over PowerPoint for e-Learning.  In Allen, M. (ed.) Michael Allen's e-Learning Annual 2012. Pfeiffer