Tear Down the Pillow Fort Walls
ˈpilō • fôrt
1) What kids make on a rainy day
2) What a Voice Over Artist creates to simulate
a professional recording environment
No doubt, both are a lot of fun! As a kid, making forts out of pillows, large cardboard boxes or blankets over chairs was the beginning of a great day. Boxes were the best, allowing free decoration with thousands of stubby, stinky crayons. As a Voice Over Artist, it's a lot of fun as well... Scavenging hotel closets, bedding, couches, chairs and every now and then the maid's supply carts. It's fun to take a picture and post on facebook. “I'm working AND traveling at the same time!” The materials are as varied as the results they deliver. I receive “pillow fort” audio once a week. You guys move around a lot.
Please let me be as honest as possible. Pillow forts sound bad. They are uncomfortable. No room to breath, let alone allow for your very important body language to do it's job. And it's gross just thinking about the sofa cushions so close to your face. The fort is built to reduce room noise and room reflection. Here's more honesty. It doesn't remove noise. Ok, maybe 10% tops. What it does, is reduce the ambience but at a major cost to your sound.
The materials in a pillow, towel, blanket or cushion sound just like what they are. Soft, dull, void of life. Now you may say, “My clients never complain about my road sound”. Great!! Thank the professional audio engineer who spent time and knowledge processing this audio to match what you do at home. Your home audio sounds great! Your road audio, not so much.
While on the road, I have found it easier to find a quiet room with lousy acoustics then a nicely treated room that is actually quiet (a hotel copy center for example, or an empty banquet room that has a lot of air conditioning noise and nearby employee/guest chatter). Your hotel room is the location of choice for so many obvious reasons. When working on the road, you are trying to re-create “your sound”. Wait... “Your Sound”. That's the goal. Solution: Take your sound with you.
Try a Kaotica Eyeball in your home studio. Experiment with it for a few days to achieve optimum results. Like any new tool or instrument, practice and experimentation delivers the best results. Once you are comfortable in finding the sweet spots, keep it in your chain. After a few weeks and months this becomes your sound. And your Eyeball becomes... your Pillow Fort!
The Kaotica Eyeball, by now is pretty well know in the recording community. It has been met with open arms and slammed doors. I have been contacted a lot. This is not a review of the Eyeball, however here is my quick view:
It removes 15-20% of the room noise. Yes, it's still a live mic.
It GREATLY reduces room ambience and unwanted reflections. Really well!
Because of its “compression” design, wider in front and narrower at the back, the sound is amplified. This allows you to lower your mic pre gain a bit, which may lower room and line noise, not that you should have ANY line noise.
Like any tool, you need to learn how to best use it and it may or may not work for you. They have a 30 day money back guarantee.
Experiment with distance, angle, mic placement within the globe etc.
...and It looks very cool!
The moment I arrive at a hotel, I set up my rig and check for proper operation, which takes about 2 minutes. Then, I take a step back and admire how cool it looks. I don't have to arrange and re-arrange the highly thought out floor plan of a Homewood Suites. I'm ready for the pool, with my cell phone, of course! Tear down the walls of the fort! Start breathing again and be confident when traveling that you are able to deliver better quality audio files. Your engineers will appreciate it. And don't forget to tell all your clients that you're leaving town. That's when ALL the work comes in!