The day Walter White made an appearance in my VO booth

I am extremely lucky to have my recording studio in the countryside which brings with it many benefits, not least of which – it’s quiet.

Mainly.

Apart from the odd sheep baaa’ing, or a car passing, I can usually get my recordings done with the minimum of fuss.

However, there’s a fly in the ointment, today. Well, to be specific, in my booth.

Despite their miniature size flies are not only annoying and quite unpleasant, but in an environment where the noise floor is low (about -66 db) their ‘high pitched buzzing’ really causes a problem.

Now, I won’t kill anything – I have strong views on that, unless the thing is going to injure me or my kids, or sometimes if it’s going to steal my food.

But, I work really hard to ensure my recordings are as clean as possible – perhaps a bit too obsessively, but I believe it’s in the clients’ interest.

For any of you not familiar with Breaking Bad, there’s an episode where a fly gets into Walter’s lab – and he ends up spending all day trying to eliminate the ‘contamination’. The irony being, he spends so long on attempting to swat the fly, that he ends up not doing any work.

Here’s a sample of his tribulation…

It was one of my favourite episodes.

Sometimes, I’m a little more ‘Samuel Jackson’  about it…

Substitute the words ‘flies’ and ‘booth’ for ‘snakes’ and ‘plane’ in this clip and you get the picture…

Of course, that was the TV edit, where they substituted a few choice words themselves in post – well we can’t have actual cursing on my website now can we?

Not wanting to kill it, and thinking swearing at it probably wasn’t gonna help, I decided to consider other options.

I did some research and it appears that a housefuly will beat its wings 200 times a second – which supposedly means it generates a buzz at 200 Hz:

http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2000/NancyLee.shtml

So, surely all I have to do is EQ down the 200Hz frequency and Bob’s your uncle?

HA!

Have a look at the actual frequency range it generates as it buzzes past the mic, see and hear for yourself…

WOW!

I achieved this by trapping the little feller in a glass, turning the gain right up, and then releasing it in the direction of the mic – the first sound is me removing the card from the glass, the second is his launch and subsequent flight. Obviously the sound is amplified, so you can see the waveform – but it’s the RANGE which surprised me.

Clearly, eliminating sound across almost the entire spectrum was gonna have a slight effect on the actual recording.

Now the other things which share our house are spiders, and I don’t mind spiders. We share a common goal, given that their primary focus is to remove the very problem I am faced with.

However, we house inefficient arachnids. We’ve got 5 in the bedroom alone – 5 poor quality, ineffective and generally lazy spiders.

So this morning, I decided to rally the eight leggedy team and have a pep talk:

“Good morning, so how was your evening yesterday?”

<silence>

“Ok – it’s gonna be like then is it? Well today Team-S we’re gonna set some targets, I am going to performance manage you – and if you don’t deliver against your quota then it’s CURTAINS for you – and NO that does not refer to a new place for you to hide!”

Sadly, they didn’t respond very positively:

  • Boris and Martin shambled off to a corner, muttering
  • Simba stared at me blankly
  • Dennis had dark glasses on, so I couldn’t even tell if he was awake to be honest
  • And I am sure I spotted Patrick flicking the ‘V’s

There was nothing for it, I just had to catch the fly in the glass again, and let him out of the room. It only took about an hour, and in the meantime there was a gang of ’em poised on the plum tree outside of the window – waiting for their opportunity to take his place.

The second part of this blog was going to be on the subject of time management and setting priorities, but the day is gone now so that will have to wait.

Have a great day

Steve

NB: No flies were harmed in the making of this blog. Some spiders were slightly humiliated – but that’s down to their own shoddy workmanship.

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “The day Walter White made an appearance in my VO booth

  1. David Sumeray

    That’s very funny! I slightly envy your country residence. Even a quiet road in London, which is where I currently reside, I have to shut the double glazing, close the curtains and even put sound proof tiles around my Porta-Booth and time recording between car passbyes. On a hot day it’s very hot and I have to spin a fan every now and then.

    I remember the fly episode of Breaking Bad! Great episode! Although, there was never an episode that wasn’t great!

    Reply
  2. DebbieGrattanVoiceovers

    Hey Steve – I had to read this after binge watching BB over the summer. Your blog is really funny! I will save spiders, but flies….if I can catch them or squash them, they’re gone. It’s funny how we can get distracted and off track so easily. Happens to me all the time. I re-posted this on my FB page. Thanks!!

    Reply
    1. steveoneillvoice Post author

      Tee hee, Debbie you’re an angel. Thank you ever so much for re-posting it.

      We do get distracted don’t we – combined with a touch of perfectionism and it’s a heady mix!

      Thank YOU

      Steve

      Reply
  3. nicredmanvoice

    Ha! I’ve never known anyone to blog about the frequency of a flies buzz. This VO nonsense leads us in some funny directions… Get out and get some of that country air fella!
    Nic

    Reply
  4. Pingback: The Top Voiceover Blog Posts Of 2014 | Derek Chappell's Voiceover Blog

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