A new Neumann TLM 49 large-diaphragm condenser microphone is used to record narrative voice-overs by Jason Lee (pictured), the star and a producer of NBC’s Emmy Award–winning prime-time series My Name Is Earl.
“It was great to find this particular microphone, both for the sound quality and for the price point,” says the show’s supervising sound editor, Dave Rawlinson. Rawlinson also co-owns the series’ audio production and post-production company, R/H Factor. “We found that the TLM 49 had the best response for Jason, mainly because he’s got such a gravelly voice,” Rawlinson says. “The dialog mixer can use the natural signal from it and not have to apply much EQ at all to get it to fit into the pocket. That saves us time in mixing.”
The narration is typically recorded at the soundstage in Van Nuys, Calif., where the series is filmed. “Since Jason can’t get away to an ADR stage at a remote facility because he’s in practically every scene, we have a booth—an old concrete storage vault—[that’s] big enough to fit him and a producer [inside],” Rawlinson adds. “We record him when he’s available.”
Lee initially records a guide voice-over track for the video editors. “We do an initial pass of voice-over before the show is starting to be edited that’s used as a first pass,” Rawlinson continues. “Then they’ll do an additional pick-up—or punch-up, as they call it—pass of additional VOs that Jason will record at a later date and [that] will be edited in for the final mix.”