I am not even close to the first person to write about this and wont be the last but as new people dive into the industry I LOVE (Radio Imaging) it’s good to bring this up every once in a while as an intro lesson for some or just a reminder for others. Tempo. When you can give your promos or imaging pieces rhythm, you make the ears a little happier. I like to stay on tempo in my imaging production when ever possible. What I mean is – If you start a promo with a bed at 100BPM then try and keep everything in the promo at that BPM. OR give the listener the impression that the same BPM is used throughout. So if you change music in the middle line up Down-beats – then going from 120 to 100 BPM isn’t so harsh and wont make the listeners ear get upset.
Vocal Delay Effects
Here is one way to incorporate TEMPO EFFECTS, and maybe the easiest, to get an OBVIOUS and QUICK result. You always want to make the Vocal track sound “interesting.” The COPY should be first priority. Write the best copy you possibly can. But lets assume you already did that or there is no time to write more than “WIN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS …ON NEW COUNTRY 99-5 THE HIPPO”. When producing for a fast paced, NO attention-span-having audience you want to do things to make the key points stand out. Example: if the promo is a cash contest perhaps the fact that you are giving away $1000 should stand out most. Thus you do something extra to that phrase. Tons of phasing, flanging, reverb and filters are always fun but more and more they can “date” your sound. So while I wont go into all the fun ways we can make phrases stand out, one thing you can do is make sure THAT phrase lines up with the tempO of the track behind it. You can also cut out your music under the phrase and then delay the VO “on tempo” with the music as it kicks back in. In COUNTRY IMAGING you can’t get too crazy with these types of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) effects but on occasion, for Important phrases, they will be even more effective. “But I don’t know the tempo of my tracks and I don’t have time to figure them out!” No problem and yes you do.
…In that Image you see the SuperTap plugin, set to auto and applied to one of my VO tracks. I use this one because it has a manual tap built in. Meaning I can simply listen to the bed on the fly and tap out the BPM right there. YOU DONT NEED TO GET IT PERFECTLY RIGHT. Just tap for about 10 seconds and you will have a very close reading of the track tempo. In this case its 130. I then set the SESSION to 130BPM and set the delay plug back to AUTO. Now as long as I place the Vocal PHRASE on any down beat, when the delay is applied it will be right in sync with the backing track tempo. It will feel like the promo is more CUSTOM made, more professional and most importantly – give that PHRASE some extra ooomph to hit the listener’s ear.
BTW, now that we have quickly, manually, found the tempo we can use multiple delays in the session. SO what I like to do is take a piece of the music, slice it up and delay that too. It will accentuate what is on top of it AND it will make the whole darn imaging piece sound more pleasing to the ear. AND more professional. The H-delay is sweet and crazy and I have that on the bottom stereo track. Just sliced out a bit of the Pitbull song and copy it down…
…Also, (and I will go into this in another post) you can start creating other TEMPO EFFECTS to make transitions cleaner and take two totally unrelated pieces of music and/or other audio and let them flow together better.
So to conclude this post about tempo don’t be worried it will take a long time to get a cool TEMPO EFFECT. As long as you can tap out a beat, you can get some quick and fancy vocal enhancements. Start trying to use this effect when you want something to sound fancy and NOT dated. Let’s face it, when they create music they do EVERYTHING on tempo. When you get your hands on that music, doing the same will make your work sound just as cool and MUCH more custom.