Mouth clicks in voice over
As a voice actor, you may be facing this issue. Indeed, your takes are easily spoiled by « clicks », unwanted mouth sounds. How to cut these noises? Know that they can be suppressed or reduced thanks to techniques before, during and after the recording.
What are mouth clicks ?
These are noises you will find in many voice overs. Most of time they are due to saliva and sound like « click » or « plock ». We make some all the time without knowing when we speak or breath.
If you need to hear what we are talking about, here is a short audio as example, listen carefully.
Mouth clicks are some voice actors’ pet peeve. Others never cared about it for two possible reasons.
- Either because they have the chance to make few mouth clicks.
- Or because they don’t even notice the make some!
Just like with music, your ear is to be taught and trained. The more you listen to voice overs, the more you spot mouth clicks and other imperfections.
You also need to have the right equipment to be able to notice these noises, including good headphones such as a DT770 Beyerdynamic.
Then it becomes obvious that the majority of novice voice actors make a lot of mouth clicks and that they are not always removed during post-production.
How to remove these noises?
First of all we need to understand why we make these mouth clicks. If we know this, we can guess more easily how to avoid them.
Most of time, it is the sound of saliva when the oral mucosa makes a contact or a split.
But the problem is not salivating. This process is perfectly normal. What really causes the mouth clicks is the consistency of saliva.
Indeed, a saliva with thick consistency will generate more mouth clicks.
So, how to deal with this issue? Don’t worry, we have tried quite a lot of techniques to tell you the best!
1) Oral hydration
Keep hydrated by small shots. There is no point drinking 1 L of water before recording.
The idea is that your body doesn’t lack water during the day. So simply keep a bottle of water always with you or tea if you prefer, but you should definitely avoid sodas or coffee.
2) Avoid sugar before recording
Avoid eating or drinking something sweet just before a take. You will often be offered a chocolate or a coffe in studio. Drink only water or apple juice.
3) Few magic ingredients…
- Apples and apple juice
This one is a pretty common trick among voice actors. The natural acidity of the fruit will make you salivate, a way to clean up your mouth and make the flow smooth in your oral system.
- Coarse salt
Just as apple juice. Take some coarse salt and suck on it like you would hard candy.
- Anise candy
Try for yourself and make your own experiments to find out if one ingredient works better for you than the others. Some may not suit you or may not be that effective on you in particular.
4) Chew a gum
This will stimulate your oral muscles and liquefy your saliva.
5) No Smoking.
Here is one more good reason to stop smoking. Tobacco dehydrates and thickens your saliva. If you are planning to get seriously into voice over, you shout stop smoking sooner or later.
6) Train your mouth
When you speak in everyday life, your mouth is actually a bit lazy. It doesn’t make a real effort to avoid mouth click. And that is normal, since these noises are almost inaudible from a distance of 1 meter.
It is the precision of the mic that brings them to light indeed. By getting experience in voice over, you will learn to know better your voice, your mic, your respiratory organs and your mouth! You will know which words, which syllable combinations make you generally generate clicks. Without noticing, you will reduce through weeks, months of training.
Wile still sounding natural, you will have taught your mouth that will make of an effort. It is a long introspection and self-listening process, good luck!
7) Audio post production
Let the truth be told, even with all of these tricks, you won’t remove 100% of mouth clicks. So here is your back up solution :
You can delete noises through audio post-production. When a mouth click is between tow words, piece of cake, you can just cut this part. But when a click is within a word, it becomes a bit more complicated.
We will provide you another tutorial on this topic that you can use to remove noises by yourself during post-production.
If you only start with these few tips, you should already make voice over takes free of most unwanted mouth sounds.