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Pillow forts and recording on the go


It’s summer, which means going away on holiday. As a freelance voiceover artist I can always guarantee that the minute I step foot out of the house to begin my hols, a juicy job will come in! I generally travel with a microphone just in case, and if I’m driving, I’ll pack my trusty Vocal Booth to Go, which is a portable recording booth that folds flat. It’s still quite bulky though, so if I’m flying or I’m short on space I might need to resort to building a makeshift recording space if the job of my dreams lands in my in-box.

Did you know that you can make a recording studio with a pillow? Well you need several pillows really, but a great way to record if you don’t have access to a studio, is to build a ‘pillow fort’ and place the microphone in the middle of it. The pillows will absorb unwanted sound reflections and you can get a pretty decent recording – as long as the rest of the environment is quiet of course.

It’s even better if you can get something sound absorbing behind you as well – perhaps a duvet over your head. This only works for short recordings though as it can get a bit hot and claustrophobic!

If you’re in a hotel room that has an ironing board, then you’re really in business as you can drape a duvet over it and build yourself a booth. Sometimes a wardrobe can work, though they tend to sound a bit ‘boxy’.

A car is actually quite a good recording space as it’s fairly ‘dead’ acoustically speaking. All the upholstery absorbs the sound. The problem with recording in a car in the summer is it gets rather hot – and of course you can’t have the windows open because then you introduce noise from outside!

I’ve already had my holiday this year (the Outer Hebrides in May) and I let all my clients know that I would be unavailable for a fortnight. Even so I still took my recording equipment with me. I had to take the minimum as there were four of us and two dogs in the car, so when I got a desperate email from a client requiring an urgent pick up for a long-term project we’d been working on, I had to put my pillow fort building skills into action.

I’m pleased to say that everyone else was able to wait for me to return so I only had to do this once, but the client was pleased with the results.

The next time you need to record something even if it’s just on your phone, try putting a few pillows around it – it will make a big difference to the sound quality.

Let me know if you try out my tip!