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What is Punch and Roll in VO? Why do you need it?


It seems like the VO industry is just making up terms now to confuse new talent. What is punch and roll exactly? Do you need to know how to do it? Let's take a look and de-mystify the whole thing.

What is Punch and Roll in VO? - 7:11

Hello, my voiceover friends. Thank you so much for joining me. It's Gabby, and today on The Gift of Gab, we are going to talk about something that sounds really, really cool. It's called punch and roll. Martial arts technique, karate move. What is this? None of those. Stick around to find out.


Punch and Roll. It sounds amazing, right? Or like, you know, something really tasty at a sushi restaurant. I don't know. I can't find the punch and roll. It's taught by a lot of voiceover coaches, and it's sometimes, I hear it talked about like it's this, I don't know, like magical post-production fix that's just incredible and makes this tremendous difference in everybody's life.


I kind of want to debunk it a little bit, maybe. I don't know. This might be a tiny bit controversial. Some people might not like this video because here's the thing. I just don't feel like it's all that essential a technique. And I'm gonna tell you why.


So first of all, let's define it. Let's talk about what it is. So a punch and roll is a tool that you use while you are recording a piece of voiceover, usually something long-form where you're in the booth for a significant period of time, typically like an audiobook or a long-form narration. And what's happening is you make a mistake, and you identify the area in which you made the mistake, and you know you need to re-record a segment of audio. So you highlight the segment, and you go ahead, and you take that segment, and you set the DAW to re-record that area, that piece where the mistake was, thereby punching in the new audio live. Right? So again, it's called a punch in or a punch and roll.


Yeah, people talk about it like it's God's gift, and I don't really understand why. I mean, guys, I've been doing this for a super, super long time, and I'm gonna be honest with you. I don't see a practical application for this hardly ever. Like, I never use this. And so it's slightly complicated to set up. You need one of the better DAWs to be able to do it, like Adobe Audition or Pro Tools. I think some of the other ones have plugins that might make it possible, like Audacity may have a plugin for it, but it's really just not essential.


And I hear a lot of beginners talk about it and go, "Oh, man, I've got to learn how to do this," and, you know, I'm kind of struggling with punch and roll, and I'm like, "Well, why? Why are you challenging yourself to learn this thing that you may not ever even need? Good old copy-paste works great. I see no issue with using it in lieu of punch and roll every day, any day."


So when I have a mistake and a piece of audio that needs to be recorded, I will just go ahead, arm a new track, record the segment or the thing that I need re-recorded, and cut and paste or copy and paste it into the original piece. Easy peasy. Yes, I'll play the piece to myself a few times so I know what I sounded like so I can match myself in tone, and that's part of the charm of the punch and roll, is that you can hear yourself and sort of match yourself as you go. But I mean, for a lot of what we do, that's no more difficult than, again, playing the piece once or twice so you familiarize yourself with the performance that you were in in the moment.


And other than that, it's just not that complex. It's not that necessary. And really, when I do my copy-paste or cut and paste, all I'm doing is utilizing another tool called a marker, which is super handy, and identifying the region in which the mistake exists so that I know I'm able to identify exactly where it starts and ends. And if you don't know about marker tools, oh my gosh, make sure that you know where those exist and how to use them because markers are awesome. Like in Adobe Audition, it's a shortcut. You just hit the M key, and holy crap, it will change your life because it's an amazing, amazing tool, and it drops a marker right onto your track that you can not only see but then use to help find and locate that placement. It's kind of like a stud finder for a piece of audio. It's amazing.


But that's it. Anyway, the point of this video is to kind of try to find the path of least resistance, right? It's the shortest line from A to B. And with a lot of post-production, that's the thing that I think people miss out on. They overcomplicate sometimes, or they don't always find the easiest route or the simplest alternative. And there are a lot of those when it comes to audio production. So look for that, seek that out because most of what we do is not as complex as what takes place in the musical world or in bigger audio productions. It's pretty simple. It's pretty base. So knowing that, find the simpler, easier path. And, you know, most importantly, find what works for you.


If you're really, really struggling with something, if something like a punch and roll technique is not working for you, then don't use it. Find an alternative. Okay, because there always is one. If this video was helpful and you want more tricks, tips like this on editing and on post-production, check out this video here. You might find this really helpful. Or there's this one here. This could be helpful too. Thanks so much, guys, for watching. I'll see you soon. Bye.



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, audio, video, voiceover coaching, audio editing, punch and roll

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Absolutely agree Gabby, I never use it. Recording studio engineers that I've worked with like it, and in that case they do the work (playback etc.) I just match tempo and tone and continue on. "Markers" are my best friend when I'm engineering/editing my own stuff.

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