Have you ever wondered what goes into giving your favorite animated characters their voices? Of course how they all look and move is extremely important, but they just would not be themselves without their voices. I had a chance to see just how the voices were captured for Disney’s ZOOTOPIA and I even had a chance to try a bit of voice acting myself!
A few weeks ago when I was in Los Angeles, I had a chance to visit a Disney recording studio and meet with Zootopia’s Dialogue Mixer Paul McGrath who gave us a demonstration of just how things go down in the recording booth.
The main thing that is different from voice acting vs. live action acting is that the actors often work by themselves without the other actors and the voices are then pieced together later. The actors are often given visual cues as to what is going on in the scene and a producer or other filmmaker may step in to read the lines of other characters in the scene, but a lot has to be imagined right in the actor’s head. Not easy!
As I mentioned, I had a chance to test my own skill in the recording booth. While I didn’t do any “original” acting, I did get to try to record a voice over. I was particularly excited to be voicing Fru Fru, the princess daughter of Mr. Big who is in the midst of celebrating her big wedding day.
Recording the voice over was tough! In the recording booth I stood at a stand holding my script. I then wore headphones so I could hear both the sound from the movie and directions from Paul the dialogue mixer. In front of me was the large screen that you see above. It played the scene and also displayed a red line that I would watch and when it hit just the right point it meant it was time for me to start talking.
As you can here from the clip below, the high squeaky sound of my voice was achieved by sound editing. While the voices of some characters are the actual tone/pitch of the actors voice, some are manipulated with engineering. It was so phone hearing my voice and the voices of my blogging friends all edited up to a squeak!
Check out my final product:
Have you gotten your copy of Disney’s ZOOTOPIA yet? It’s now available on Blu-ray and DVD!