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Voiceover and the Fricative


Fricatives can give a voice actor headaches. Those friction sounds are a lot like sibilance. In this video, Gabby talks about how you can minimize your fricatives so they aren't so fricken annoying.

What you can do if you're having problems. - 3:55

Hey guys, welcome to another edition of The Gift of Gab. So you've heard me talk about plosives, you've heard me talk about sibilance, but today we're gonna talk about fricatives. What the freak is a fricative?


So I got a comment a while back on my plosives video - you can check that out here - from a guy named Tom Ewing. And Tom wrote, "Great tips as usual, Gabby! Now what about those effin' fricatives? For me, at least, pronouncing my f's and v's." And I went, "Huh! What a great question, and one that so many people are completely unaware of." So if you are like Tom and you have found yourself with some over-pronounced f's or v's - some examples or words like fork and foreground, there's actually quite a few (and all I'm really doing is citing Wikipedia right now), the cool thing about what happens with a fricative is that it's basically very similar to sibilance. It's just a forced sound through closed or mostly closed teeth. So when you say fork, right? We're forcing that air from a small closure. It's the same way when you say snake, you're forcing air through your teeth. Very, very similar principle in this case. YouTube as a whole is a great resource. Take a look at YouTube and watch any of the videos that are done by speech pathologists; they're going to help you a ton in understanding more about what these things are and how to avoid them and how to minimize them. There's some great ones that I'm able to look at here super quickly."


So exactly like sibilance one of the keys is to open your mouth and your throat a little bit more, so instead of fork, that forced sound where you're kind of pulling your teeth, your upper palate above, almost like an overbite - you're wanting to open that up a little bit more. So you get fork and that's gonna lessen that friction with the microphone. The other thing is like a lot of vocal techniques, angling, right? Angle the mic or angle yourself or angle both. Makes a huge difference because it's keeping that sound, that rush of air, from bombarding the diaphragm of the mic and ultimately making that undesirable noise.


One other trick for you on this is that a lot of these sounds, both with fricatives and with sibilance, are very easily edited because they're, in essence, a very solid pattern in your waveform. They are an incredibly consistent sound. You can actually go in and very precisely do an edit of those sounds to minimize them, reduce them, make them smaller. It's not the ideal and certainly long-term. It is not a solution. Because, man, you could be there for hours just editing those f's and s's. It can help if you catch the occasional fricative after the fact in post-production that you didn't catch when you were on mic originally.


So if you want more information about this stuff, here's that video on sibilance. Take a look at it and I hope this helps, it's kind of a unique one. Tom, thanks for writing in on this. If you have a question for my YouTube channel, send me an email, shoot me a comment, I'd love to hear from you and we'll get you featured in a future video. Thank you so much for watching!



Gabrielle Nistico, Gabby Nistico, The Voiceover Vixen, The Business First VO Coach, #VoiceoverVixen #VoiceOnFire #BusinessFirstVOCoach Voiceover, Charlotte, North Carolina, Voiceover Demo, Voiceover Coaching Advice, Working Actors, Los Angeles, New York, How to Be a Better Voice Actor, voiceover coaching, YouTube Channel, Voice Acting Coach, audio editing, speech pathologists, speech patterns, mic technique, fricatives, plosives, sibilance, microphone techniques, viewer questions

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