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Punch and Roll Recording

I admit it, I resisted learning punch and roll recording for a long time, (I also resisted taking on audiobooks for a long time but that is another story) but about a year to year and a half ago, I literally forced myself to learn the technique. I did have to be a little strict with myself for a bit but it was OK - this is such a short and shallow learning curve that you, too, may find it a good short practice for self-discipline.

I use ProTools for my DAW (digital audio workstation) and love it (yeah I know, I think I'm a bit of a weirdo there, but it was also an awesome investment) and it was just a little investment of time to figure out how it supported punch and roll.

Then it was a little investment of time to play with the thing to figure out what length of time I was most comfortable with for the pre-roll (turned out to be 0.5 seconds), then figure out where best to insert the cursor, and then it was just practicing on the job to become fluent. I would guess that by well within a month, and possibly, well within two weeks, I was completely in the habit of punch and roll for all my jobs.  Occasionally I don't use it for the super short jobs, but even so, I often find myself berating myself for leaving the garbage in there.

As a recovering software company employee (from a small, struggling company, which is another story in the horror genre), I know what it means to destroy data, which is essentially what punch and roll can do. It can destroy the original take and that gave me a little pause at first, because, WHAT IF, that first take was actually the perfect take? Well, honestly, it almost never was,  and if there was an obvious flub, why would you waste time/memory on that anyway?

Just about the only time where I wish I saved takes was when I have a set of funny goofs, but that's not that common either, sigh...

There are ways to save all your takes, especially with a powerful DAW like ProTools, but again, generally it's not worth it.

What I've also found is that when I am in the flow for long narrations, my instinct for bad takes with punch and roll is typically more reliable. Because I'm recording and editing faster, I keep track of where I am in the narration and have a more natural inflection.

Free your mind and your files from clinging to that possibly perfect take and give yourself the gift of punch and roll - it will pay dividends!

#voiceover #voiceactor #audiobook #narration #elearning #videoproduction