This document is designed to guide both new and existing volunteers in embarking on and maintaining their assignments, ensuring continuous adherence to our high standards. Your role is critical in making print content accessible for individuals who are blind or have low vision.
The journey starts with your application and audition, leading to your role an AINC Reader. Once you’ve successfully passed the audition, a member of the AINC team will provide you with your program details and schedule.
Refer to this handbook for guidance on your first episode, troubleshooting, and a refresher on our required expectations. Your dedication and compliance with these standards are essential to our mission. Thank you for your commitment to excellence in service.
Failure to meet these expectations may result in mandatory retraining or dismissal.
Active volunteers can use our professional studios in Boulder, CO, for free.
For detailed audio requirements, FAQs, and more, visit other tabs on this dashboard or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
1.Go to Audacity’s website to download the latest version.
2. It should begin installing right away. If it doesn’t, click the version you want to install. The download will save to your computer.
3. Run the installer, follow the prompts for setup.
Understanding basic file management is one of the biggest areas that can make or break your success as an AINC volunteer or a voiceover professional in general.
There are a variety of ways to manage your files, so find something that is logical to you that makes it easiest for your to track and find your audio files when you export. We’d recommend saving to a designated folder on your computer with a clear name (Ex: My AINC Files) and archiving your files in a separate folder.
This will make more sense to you as you begin doing voiceover work and working with many files over long periods of time.
Our listeners deserve quality, timely and accurate audio information, so our expectations of volunteers are high. Failure to abide by the following requirements may result in mandatory retraining or dismissal from your volunteer position.
Whether recording from your home or from our studios, we expect you to meet all of our audio requirements. Recording in studio removes many challenges to meet these expectations, but is not required.
Our studios are open during our business hours, and require a reservation. All studios are located at 1700 55th Street, Suite A, Boulder, CO 80301. Please review the videos below for an orientation on studio booking and use.
Artifacts are undesirable sounds around words, such as random, humming noises and metallic sounding breaths. Artifacts are usually created from excessive or incorrect noise reduction. To correct, ensure you have noise reduction turned off on your microphone and/or computer settings. In some cases, you may need higher quality recording equipment.
To ensure the highest quality audio recordings, volunteers must use the recording standard of -12dB peak. This guideline helps maintain consistency and clarity across all audio content produced.
To determine the dB levels of your audio recordings in Audacity, you can use the built-in metering tools. By default, the Meter Toolbar should be visible near the top of the Audacity window. If you can’t see it, go to “View” > “Toolbars” > “Meter Toolbar” to enable it. As the audio plays, you will see the meter levels on the Meter Toolbar moving up and down (The bouncing green bar). Take note of the highest peak dB level displayed on the meter. This represents the maximum level reached by your audio.
Why -12dB peak?
Tips for Achieving -12dB Peak:
Clipping is an undesirable, loud, distorted sound, and should always be avoided. To avoid clipping, you can try speaking further from the mic or decreasing your mic volume. Adjust your mic volume and place your mic so it is about 6″-10″ and slightly off camber (Slightly aimed to the right or left of the mic) and do a test recording to see if it’s resolved.
Room ambience and reverb is often caused by your microphone being too far away from your mic or your mic being to “hot” (loud). This will aso cause your voice to sound thin, “tinny”, and cause sharp “ess” sounds. Lower your mic volume to 50% and place your mic so it is about 6″-10″ and slightly off camber (Slightly aimed to the right or left of the mic) and do a test recording to see if it’s resolved.
Distortion is an audio garble, and should be avoided. It usually occurs when you are too close to the mic or the mix volume is too high.
Phasing is a phenomenon that creates an undesirable in-and-out effect. This is most commonly heard when forcing a stereo audio file into mono. You should be recording and exporting in mono, instead of recording stereo and exporting mono.
Background hum, noises, or echo are often caused by the space you are recording in. Ensure your recording space is free from things that cause ambient noise, such as a fan or a road outside. If you are experiencing echo, try to cover any hard spaces in the room with blankets and close the curtains on the windows.
You MUST use an external mic. You don’t need a fancy microphone unless you are setting up a permanent studio. A gaming mic or simple USB microphone will be adequate. Here are some microphones we have worked with or have been suggested. You can find these at your local Best Buy or on Amazon.
DO NOT USE a built-in laptop mic!
It is critical you export at a bitrate of 192kbps or higher. Not doing so can result in your episode not airing at all.
This can be done in the export settings of Audacity when you save your file.
We can’t support mobile. For audio quality issues, we prefer volunteers to use a Mac or PC.
We only support Audacity (PC/MAC). Audacity is free professional-level software, exceptional editing controls, great sound quality. Click here to see a video to begin using Audacity. We have instructional videos available in the volunteer portal, along with helpful tips.
If you already are a professional voice-over artist, have your own professional studio, equipment, and software you prefer, you may use your own software as long as you meet our audio requirements, but we will not be able to provide technical support if you run into issues.
Remember, recording is just 1 step of the process. It is critical you submit your completed file to us via the portal!
There are a few ways to do this:
This could be due to a variety of culprits. Here are some common causes:
Yes, but you must follow our strict guidelines.
If you don’t feel you can meet any of the above expectations, simply don’t add music. Don’t worry, you won’t be marked down or anything! Adding music can be a good bonus, but is most definitely not required by any means.
Supertone Clear is a paid plugin for Audacity, designed to eliminate background noise that can’t be resolved with traditional methods like soundproofing or using a higher quality microphone. It’s a valuable tool for ensuring high-quality audio in our productions. While it’s not a required tool for our volunteers, it’s available for those who wish to enhance their audio quality further. Purchasing the Clear plugin is entirely optional. Volunteers may choose to invest in this tool if they feel it will significantly improve their audio quality.
Download and Install:
Support: For any questions or assistance with the installation and activation process, please reach out to Evan@aincolorado.org
Our goal is to ensure that our content is presented clearly and authentically, respecting the original material while making it accessible and user friendly to our blind and low vision audience. This page aims to empowering you to produce engaging and high-quality audio content that meets the needs of our community.
Our goal is to respect both the integrity of the news and your comfort as a valued volunteer.
Upon program assignment, you were given the information to access content for your program. Please read any intros/closing that are required for your program at the beginning and end of your file.
Note:Because we read online content from 3RD PARTY COMPANIES – we have no control over their ads, pop-ups, or other problems with their website.
These are instructions for active volunteers submitting your regular program assignment. If you are submitting an audition, follow the instructions in the email.
Our Volunteer Portal is optimized to make uploading your audio file as fast as possible, but depending on your home environment (Such as your internet speed, Wi-Fi, or device capabilities) the upload speed can sometimes be inconveniently slow or time-out before the upload completes. If it is a known issue on our end, you will find a notice about it on the volunteer portal dashboard. If there is no notice, check your internet speed. You should have an upload speed of 10mbps minimum (Test internet here). You should expect uploads to take anywhere between 1 and 20 minutes. If uploading takes longer than that, here are some tips to increasing your upload speed:
Still not working?
If, for example, you are going out of town next week so you wish to submit 2 weeks worth of your program, you must name your files accordingly. The one you wish to play next will be your normal naming convention – that is, with no numbers.
The one you wish to play soonest will be went.mp3
The one you wish to play next week you will need to name went2.mp3
The one you wish to play the week after next week you will need to name went3.mp3.. etc.
If you submit or anticipate you will submit your file after the “first air” day and time, it is critical you contact email@example.com. Not doing so will likely result in your episode not airing at all.
It depends. If you do a weekly, you can turn it in up to 6 days early. However, if you do a daily, you cannot turn it in more than a day early because it will overwrite your fellow volunteers file that is meant to air on that day. If you are unsure if you are reading a weekly or daily, ask firstname.lastname@example.org.
That being said, we encourage volunteers to submit audio several hours before the due day/time of your program, and absolutely not later than 30 minutes before airtime.
Every volunteer has access to a shared folder called “ZZ Other Audio” – you will find it on the left side of your account when you log in to the volunteer portal. This folder is only to be used for things outside of your regular program assignment, such as special one-off assignments, test files, etc. Only use that folder if you have been instructed to do so by AINC staff (not common).
All of AINC’s publishing platforms (podcast, broadcast, stream, and telephone access) run on very specific weekly schedules. Each program has a “first air” day and then will repeat the same episode for a 7 day cycle. When you submit your program does not affect when it is published as long as it is before the “first air” day and time. Contact email@example.com to inquire about what this time is for your program. If you are still concerned that it is publishing the wrong episode, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Please double check the email sent from AINC to ensure you are entering your correct username. If you do this and it still doesn’t work, contact email@example.com.
Please double check the email sent from AINC to ensure you are entering your correct password. If you do this and it still doesn’t work, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use this checklist to ensure you are meeting our basic expectations. Note that this list is not comprehensive and more detailed requirements are outlined in other areas of this guide.
✔Read the intro and outro scripts.
✔ Bit rate 192 kbps or higher.
✔ Audio in .mp3 format.
✔ Audio is the correct duration.
✔ Submit your volunteer hours.
✔ Verbally credit the authors.
✔ Audio is high quality and free from disruptive noises.
✔ Name your file correctly.
✔ Audio is uploaded into the correct folder on your account.
✔ Submit your file by the deadline. Aim for earlier incase you run into any issues.
NOTE: Video data is from 2020 and may be outdated.
Being an AINC readers comes with perks! We offer a few different free learning opportunities to help you improve your voice-over skills for your reading for AINC and your own personal endeavors. We believe in supporting you to be the best you can be, even outside of your work with us.
Reach out to email@example.com for more details.