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Hosted by Mike Russell

Adobe Audition Podcast – Naomi Mercer McKell

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Hey I’m Mike Russell from Music Radio Creative. And welcome to the Adobe Audition podcast. I’m interviewing power users of this awesome audio editing software. We’ll reminisce back to the Cool Edit Pro through to the introduction of multi-track editing and bring you right up to date with Adobe Audition CC and features like the essential sound panel to get the full transcript and episode back catalogue. Head over to MRC dot fm slash a a p that’s MRC dot fm slash a a p.

My guest on this show is Naomi Mercer McKell. Now Naomi has been working as a voiceover actor since 2004. She started her career in Los Angeles and some notable gigs include the voice of Facebook’s name pronunciation feature, Mass Effect 2, and a recent favorite for the female superhero Emara in the series of the same name. She’s now living in Seattle with her husband and new baby boy who seems right now at the moment to be the star of her Instagram. Naomi welcome to the show.

Thank you so much for having me.

Fantastic is great

At

To have you here. So give us an overview. Obviously fantastic voiceover rakta doing many notable gigs. But how exactly are you using Adobe Audition.

Oh gosh. I use it every single day whether it is to audition for jobs or whether I am doing a job and I am creating content for a client and then I also use it when I have live sessions. I will I was saying earlier that I you source connects to be able to do sort of like a it’s like the new ISDN where I can be recording my audio into their daw in real time but then I always back it up with a session in audition myself. I feel like how am I not using audition. It’s a real core part of my workflow.

As fantastic says superhigh. Yeah with sourcecode. That’s amazing. So like you say you know the person is recording their ends and they’re getting a good quality feed you’re recording your end. It’s amazing. So you started voiceover back in 2004. So when

Yes.

You when you got started is that is there anything you can isolate or over the years since you’ve been a voice actor. Some of the best audio or video production advice that you have received.

The best advice I received and the best that I put to use in order to be able to advance my career as a voiceover actor was to be savvy in my software in the door that I’m using which it just really gives you an edge because honestly being talented is it’s not that special. There’s so many people trying to do what I do. And there are so many unique approaches to a character that several of them will work. When you’re sitting on the casting side and if one of them is able to sort of be a part of the team on the production side where they can provide you with the files or if they need pickups you can just get them right back to them because you’ve got your own home studio and you are able to record your own clean audio yourself. And that just makes you so much more valuable to any kind of audio production that that kind of gave me an edge. So at first I got that advice. Then I started using that advice and I realized that was what was helping me advance my career more than other voice over actors who were just talent air quotes. You know they just stand there and need everybody else to do all of the production. Hell they they don’t know any of that side of it.

That’s also Yeva. I mean that’s really good advice definitely to get as many strings to you about as you possibly can. So you’re not just the telum but you doing other things so I mean how far do you go. I mean would you go ahead and produce the Oreo completely clean it up can’t say how far do you go with that kind of stuff.

It really depends on the job but sometimes yes I there’s been radio spots where I produce the entire thing from start to finish. If you’ve got the right plug ins you can make anything sound production quality or broadcast quality but then sometimes you know like for example with the the name pronunciation feature on Facebook they really had their own idea of exactly how they wanted things to sound. And so all they wanted from me was the very cleanest audio possible. So I just have to make sure that the files are precise and clean and turn them in as flawless as possible and then they would prefer to do the rest. So it’s kind of case

Wow

By case

That’s interesting. Tell me a little bit more about that face. Buton name pronunciation feature for those listening right now who are not aware of the feature. What is it. How does it work and how did that gig happen. Tell us more.

Oh goodness well it started as a research and development project. So it was like right after Facebook bought Oculus Rift they wanted there to be sort of a voice of Facebook

Wow.

Similar to Siri for the iPhone and all of the Apple products and then that never entirely came into fruition as far as a voice of Facebook or perhaps it it will eventually I have no idea. You know I just have to turn in the product and see what happens. But they did have the name pronunciation feature and so you don’t actually record the words that they end up using. I mean for this they took I believe it was the 1000 most common female first and last names in the 1000 most common male first and last names and then they take they break it down into the it’s the word genomes the pieces of the words and they put all of that into a database and then this. This is all rolled out to every county in the United States anyway so it’s a hundred and ninety six point two million accounts where if you look on your own Facebook page and you go into the about section of you you can scroll down to where it says your name and there’s three options of how to say your name and no one will be like Naomi Marquel Naomi McKeel or Naomi Makelele. And then you choose the one that sounds the most like you. And then people who have names that are you know they’re always everybody pronounces it wrong or it’s tough to pronounce. That way they can just have it play back where it’s like oh that’s how you say that person’s name. And so if you look underneath a lot of different Facebook pages they’ll have it. And there’s a play button and then when it presses play it draws from that database ties all those syllables together and pronounces that person’s name in the way that they wish for their name to be said

Wow wow that’s amazing. I mean that sounds like a super cool Roget’s not a feature. I was aware of so to try and check it out and see if it’s available in the UK as well. But the fact that you like you say you can get those thousand most common names male and female and then put together all the other sounds I guess to make out the sounds

Exactly

Of maybe a surname that’s phenomenal.

For this synthetic voice. I mean we’ll see if it ever turns into anything but that one was even more interesting because they would just choose phrases that were supposedly random but oh my gosh they were so bizarre some of them were downright disturbing so you would have to say this phrase once in a quote normal voice once in a happy voice once in a bored voice and once in a hyper articulated voice and then some of the sentences were something like What the heck is this. It’s like they found the bodies lying face down hugging each other. I was like

Whoa.

Oh my goodness. But apparently they break it all down into just the syllables habit go into this database and then it can draw from me syllables and say anything you know it’s so completely synthetic voice that can say anything at all.

That’s amazing. Now your kind of immortal your voice is immortalized in the cloud somehow. That’s amazing. It’s interesting.

Well the

Yeah well absolutely and it’s amazing what you say about the way you have to deliver a different take so you have to do the normal the happy the board and it makes me wonder I didn’t know anything about how this technology works by do have an Alexa and I do have a Google home and I often ask Google to send me a timer and I don’t know if it’s just me or my mind playing tricks on me but sometimes it sounds like Google is happy and sometimes it sounds like she’s bored

Regrade

When she’s setting the time for me and I’m like this that is not the same way you told me he was having the time of yesterday. So I might have something to do with it but that’s

I

Fantastic.

Know

So did that tell you a long time to record all those phrases. How long was that project in total.

It was very long. It was you know they wanted it to be done as soon as possible as everybody always does and it was at least 40000 words. It was like 10 to 12 hour days for about four to five weeks. And sometimes I was doing six days a week.

Wow.

That was a really tough one.

My goodness

The

Me

Name pronunciation feature I did. Separately a few months later and that one was more just five to six extra hours at the end of my day. Four to five days a week. So that one

Wow.

Wasn’t nearly as intense. But

My

Yeah.

Goodness. So

Yeah those ones are a doozy.

That’s interesting. So that kind of leads me onto my next question and maybe that’s it. But what would you say is the most challenging project that you’ve you’ve worked on in the world of audio.

Technically challenging it would definitely have been that one. But I want to say the the Emara character that I played recently for the Emara series that takes place over in the United Emirates that one you know the character. I well I want to say that one was challenging but it actually was just so darn fun. And it came so naturally that it was more of just a breeze. Now that I’m thinking about it that. It was. The character sometimes. And also you know it was an amazing influence. It was very much so like sound effects and things like that. Were similar to when you do videogame jobs. And sometimes that could be really challenging you know Mass Effect 2 was really challenging the director. That was a session down in L.A. and that director Ginny McSwain. She’s she’s tough that you’ll be in a booth and she’ll be like again another choice. Give it to me a different way. OK move on. And it’s like rapid fire. You’re just sweating like crazy. And the first I think you go two hours then you take a teeny ten minute break and you go two hours to get teeny ten minute break. So that was just challenging in the way it felt like I was running a mental marathon. But it’s great. Don’t get me wrong I love it.

So you’ve already done so many amazing different projects both know that there’s something really cool that maybe you see in your future perhaps you haven’t even told anyone about yet. What would be that cool project you’d like to work on in the future.

Well I do love animation more than anything because I love the voices. And I also you know how I got into voiceover was because I have a background as a singer. And so I had the audio equipment lying around. I had moved to Los Angeles to become an actor. And then when someone told me I’d be good at voiceover work and I said well what even is that. And I started to see I thought well gosh I know how to do the recording side of it and this and that and put it all together and so things just kind of fell into place. But if I could do a project where I’m a character that gets to sing and has a challenging you know character as an actor that would be the bread and butter for sure. That would be a bucket list job

Wow. Amazing singing so you sing to

Yeah I sure do.

Wonderful

I had to. In 2012 I had a hip hop album that was slightly funny and

Wow.

Slightly good.

Can you name it. Can we find it.

Was under the name yeah I was under the name and Mercer. It’s all on Spotify. See when I got

Nice.

My voice over career started and I lived in Santa Monica four blocks from the beach my rent was really expensive and I had like 13 starving actor jobs and so I only had a couple of hours in the day to really be going through voiceover work. But then I started booking and booking and booking and I thought you know I think I can really do this but I can’t. If I am up against the wall every month for this high price of rent at this place and I have to work all these jobs to pay that. And I was dating a guy at the time who is now my husband today and he lived in South Central Los Angeles which when I first moved to L.A. nobody even went south of the 10 freeway I sure didn’t. I didn’t even know what was down there but it was a whole other world a whole entire other world that felt like completely separate from the rest of the city. And when I moved there my rent was like 300 dollars a month. It was ridiculous. And you know what I credit that to the beginning of my voice over career. Absolutely. Because I if there was ever a month where I was going for everything that maybe wasn’t booking anything yet I still had my bills paid and I could really take risks and go for things and that was where I booked my first big national commercial that was where that was where I really started cooking and getting along client list to keep things sustained.

In the meantime and so then I moved to South Central Los Angeles and it was a huge eye opener that this there was this entire other world. On the other side of a freeway from all of Los Angeles that I saw in pop culture. And so I decided to write about it. And also I was surrounded by rappers really good ones like my husband used to be a ghostwriter for easy and all the people that he was in rap groups when they were so talented you just sit there and they’d all freestyle around the living room at night and I would be in awe with my mouth jaw on the floor not understanding how they could just keep going after they still can’t think of what to say. And so I started singing hooks in the background of everything they were doing and also just observing the food desert that I was living in and the way that these people had to live around me that I just felt like everyone was such good people. I lived in L.A. for seven years. At that point and I had never known any of my neighbors. Despite my own best efforts I would try to have all kinds of gatherings but people are often keep to themselves in the city. But then as soon as I moved to South Central I knew every single neighbor on my block and

Different place.

Everyone

Wow.

Looked out for each other and everyone was kind. And so I just started writing stories about it and they all turned into songs and then I released an album and that was the Mercer album yeah.

As really cool so we’ve we’ve already looked a little bit back towards the past. It was 2004 and was you starting up your voice over Korea moving to a different part of Los Angeles you’ve never been to before. And you were singing Korea. Let’s go back even further for a moment Naomi. Let’s go back to you or maybe your childhood

Sure.

And give me that one memory around Oradea. That makes me smile. Perhaps the thing that started you along this whole path what would that be.

Well I was always in place all the way back to being Probably eight years old. I was in community theater plays with my mom as early as 4 years old. But I mean when I was my own character and plays that started around 8 or 9 years old and the audio part of it memorizing lines and repeating them and doing them in a way where I could do the voices and things like that. I remember one time when my dad said to me because also it was this way for me in school and everything that I learned that is my channel. That is how I learned that is how I process and that is how I communicate is audio. I am an audio learner and just person. And I remember that my dad said that Naomi you need to know that this is your way of comprehension. This is your way of this is how you communicate and get your communication from this world in this life and how crazy that that’s. And here I am today

Been

And

True

That

To

Is

This

What

Day.

My career is. But he was so right. I mean

It’s

Even

Very perceptive

In college if it was reading if it was any other way of me to learn things if I recorded the lecture then it was a test. I was going to ace everything. If I hear it is just going to I just process it so much better and can recreate things and regurgitate things and mimic things. That’s just my way. So I knew that at a really young age. And then yeah. Once my father reinforced it I sort of felt that it was my gift that I could move forward with.

Wow. Now you’re in this world so what would you say today you very much an audiobook and podcast listening kind of person to

Yes yes. Well audio books I do love especially if I’m exercising because music when you try to sing along and you’re jogging it’s just a mess. But I love it if it’s a book. Audio books as far as jobs go. I have a special respect for audio book. Voice over actors those take a lot of those take an amazing attention span and somehow I just never got into that part of the genre or that

Show.

That genre in voiceover but otherwise podcasts. I love podcasts I listen to Many I know every day have to get out. That’s one of the things

Yeah.

When you’re a voiceover actor you have to figure out how you’re going to get out of the house every day. And so I have a line up of podcasts in the queue for when I take my baby for a walk.

Nice.

And then you know got my headphones on and tune in

Away you go that’s fantastic. OK. So we’ve got a really good background on you then. I mean let’s get into Adobe Audition obviously. You said at the start is the audio it is are you using every day you love it you use it to deliver voiceover To edit to produce sometimes even make promos. So let’s look at the features there are so many of them but if you had to say you had to go down to one and say that’s your favorite feature. What would that be inside Adobe edition.

You know I this might be dorky or boring as far as an answer goes But when I have jobs that require many many many individual files so I can read it all off in one recording. So for example I have one client where I do phone prompts. You know you’ve reached Dr. Mackeys office. That kind of thing. I have to turn in these certain very low resolution files because they have to be able to play over the telephone. So there are like a K. There are there are 16 bit aka files sometimes that you love format which many doors can’t do it’s so old it’s like not even on the menu anymore. But auditions still has it which I love. They’ve got all the stuff of the highest resolution but they haven’t dropped off the lowest stuff in case you still need it. But what I love is the way that the workflow can make me bounce out all the individual files from one long recording that I have. It’s faster and easier than better than any other da out there. No comparison. And since that is some of my like daily bread and butter clients in between the big jobs I really appreciate it.

That’s

I really

Right.

Appreciate it

Absolutely. The ability to sort of go through and just isolate out bits of one file and create individual files really really quickly without. Just imagine if you had to go through selecting

Yeah.

Each piece and doing it manually be terrible.

Yeah well

Most

That’s.

Of your day

No it is terrible and I’ve had to do that when I have when I’ve used other software in the past and then when I discovered how easy it is with Adobe where I just you know it’s control all say you and then I can just highlight it and it will just create an individual file for every single one of those. It’s literally like 100 times faster.

Save selection as a lover. So aside from that would you have any other amazing work flows or maybe shortcuts that you use in addition

I’ve completely redone my keyboard for my keyboard shortcuts you know. And I love that. With Adobe where I don’t even. Honestly it’s like it’s the keys are connected to my brain and I can’t even repeat them back. You know what I’m saying. It’s hard to tell you what I even do because I don’t say it out loud. It’s just my fingers in my mind. But

What she’ll most

There’s

Used

Plug ins

Hulky what do you push the most don’t you. Keeble what do you find yourself pushing most when you are editing

Oh my probably Ivery rowdy. I’ve redone a keyboard shortcuts to pull up a plug in where I polish everything at the end. And you know the plug ins actually the plug in menu on audition is it’s good enough I could just use that. I just happened to have somebody give me some isotope plug ins which also were really good with audition and so I pull up an isotope plug in with the F key. I think it is

And

The

Brings

Ascii

It straight up. That’s awesome. Wow.

And I just automatically adds What I need onto it at the very end. And it’s a voice so a specific voice over dialogue preset. I have a dialogue one I have one that’s like well one Mitz for a radio commercial spot. So it’s superhigh on the compression that’s

Yes

When I said that I’ve done a couple of radio spots for people where I just but those are like regional radio spots that I you know it’s anything above that they would insist on doing it themselves of course. But yeah. I would say that’s the key. And then also the control save

Controls

Save as

Absolutely yes. So

In

You literally just hit the f key on you you select or don’t even maybe select you just hit that F.K. and it goes straight through your session and applies the effect and it’s done literally like that.

Right rather

Wow.

Than having to go into the menu and then down to vs T’s and then two

Click the Settings.

And then the eyes open then yes yes. This is like so

Many the menu on the menu on the menu on the menu. But I just hit the key and it has it on there automatically which

That’s

Is great.

Wow. And do you know the name of the isotope plugin you’re using.

The one that I was just I have been using for a long time but it’s old is nectar elements.

Oh Nektar Yeah.

But but no I. What is it. They just came out with seven I believe are X standard

All right. C.F.

Or X rather. There’s several levels. Their standard and then there’s the zip pro that one is the great one. Yeah. Oh you know what I should also mention the way that in Adobe you can select spectral view so that

Yes

When you hear a pop or a click or something. No other software that I’ve ever used. Am I able to take out clicks and ticks in my mouth that are in the middle of a word. Sure you can take it out if the click happens in-between words because you see there’s silence there and you just delete the noise that’s made and replace it with no noise. But with that bandaid tool how you can be looking at spectral view and then you can see where the actual click is in the middle of the word and you can scrub it out. It’s freaking amazing. I don’t have to go back in and rerecord things which you know that’s not a big deal to do. I’m right here in the booth. But when you are in a long session and you can just scrub out a noise and use the recording that you have you know I would say that’s my favorite feature. I

That’s

Don’t

Perfect.

Know why mention that first

Yeah it’s really good. It’s just yeah. Like you say the rubber band icon on the spot hailing brush and then just you just painted over where that is and it’s gone. It’s yeah

Hand

Amazing. So OK we’ve we’ve looked to Adobe Audition we’ve looked at many fuel shortcuts workflows your favorite features. How about the resources you go to in creating audio and by that I mean maybe the gear you have any studio. We’ve already talked a little bit about plug ins but let’s look at the game you’ve got so microphone audio interface and anything that you will really

Sure.

Excited about.

I have a no human TLM 113 I have had it for ever. And have you ever heard of people saying that a microphone kind of tunes to a person’s voice or it’ll get like they’ll get to know each other.

The ones chooses the wizard.

It might be a complete wives tale. I don’t know but I have had this so long and I tell you what it is still as good as the very day that I bought it. In like 2002

Wow

I had this thing like 16 years and I have it on a shark mount with you know all the necessaries and then right now my audio interface is a complete audio six and it’s actually great too. I love Native Instruments. I have no complaints about that either. I used to use. God. What was that thing the old Audiovox. I think that was made by persona’s. That thing was a piece of garbage. So I think maybe that’s why I just appreciate this the complete audio sic so much. And then. Those are my two most trusted and true that you know that Mike. With that that’s my best combination.

Printing

I have

Comba.

Other mikes that are May and I have other backup audio interfaces too like I was saying the audio box I have some others as well but I don’t really think any of them are worth naming. This is my my money Kombo

That’s good. I like that. Yeah. No I mean the complete audio box to actually get that microphone into you can be a really solid combo. So that’s that’s really fantastic. Really good lineup of gear there. And of course using auditions to do all your editing and recording. So

Yes

Then just to wrap up Naomi what would you tell someone listening to the show right now. Maybe they’re an aspiring Auria produce maybe they want a fuller apartment. They want to start doing some musical they want to get into voiceover They just want to get into the industry what would your advice to them. Person listening right now.

I would say to start making things as soon as possible and just create. And have you know YouTube search windows and google search windows be your best friend. And also inside Adobe Audition. Any time I have a question. First I go to either Google search window or YouTube. Lots of people think that this stuff is so super complicated that really it’s just like driving a car when you think about how we drive a car there are a lot of steps that you need to take. You have to

It’s

Be pressing pedals with your feet and turning a wheel with your hands and moving a gear shift and blinkers and everything. But we all just know it. And we all just do it automatically. And all of this stuff is exactly the same. And any time you don’t know how to do something if you typed in How do I do X in X in this way there’s going to be several options to do it. Usually that come up showing you step by step ways to do it. A lot of times in a video and then if there isn’t and there’s Facebook groups like inside Adobe Audition where people are so helpful and you can get your questions answered and then each time you do that you know more and more and more and it builds on itself. So I would say you just have to start by creating some material and then you can go from there. So with voice voiceover work really you have to start by making demos for yourself. And then if you’re trying to become a producer of any kind what is the content you produce are you trying to be a composer. What kind of music get started creating you know just make stuff. And then. As you make stuff questions arise and as you get those questions answered you learn more and more and more and then once you get to a level where you start to feel like you know a little bit more about what you’re doing that’s when it’s time to start beating the pavement and you

Yeah.

Know network and market and find jobs and things like that.

Definitely. That’s nice. Great advice and I like it. You’re so right that you can easily you know open up a tab. Go to youtube and search information I think is more accessible than it ever has been before.

Ever.

So yeah

Yes.

It’s a great time to be getting into this. Well Naomi thank you so much for joining me and for anyone listening now who would like to find out more about you and your work. Where’s the best place to go.

My Web site which I’m doing a complete rebranding of that I’m so excited for my new website to come out next month. Right now it is Naomi Mercer dot com. But since I got married and did took on adultery by storm. My name is now Naomi Mercer Mackell. So my Web site will still have a catchall so if you just go to Neomi Mercer dot com. Even next month when it changes to Naomi Murthy’s or McPaul dot com it will work. So I’ll just give you that one. Naomi Mercer dot com we’ll take you to anything you need to know about the

Straight there. And what about that Instagram where we can find the cute baby pics.

Oh that’s at Naomi Mercer Mackell. Yeah

Oh fantastic fantastic

But you know what my Instagram feed is at the bottom of my web site. And so

Oh he’s

You can

A

Just see down there

Just go

And

To the

You

Web

Can

Site

Click on it from there. It’s all there.

Awesome. Naomi thank you so much for joining me on the show.

Oh it was my pleasure. Mike thanks so much for having me.

That concludes this episode. Subscribe and review this podcast to help others discover the power of a double dish and if you’d like a full transcript to the show. Head over to MLSE dot fm slash a p. Thanks for listening.

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