Punch And Roll – What is it?

Cue Lights for Punch and Roll recording

Punch And Roll Recording – What is It?

At Landen Park Studio, we record spoken word (audiobooks, voiceover etc.) using a technique called Punch And Roll recording – often just called Punch-In.

Punch-in is a familiar technique for musicians, who’ve been working this way since the dawn of the multitrack tape era.  But if you haven’t worked in a studio before, you might wonder what it’s all about.

What’s Punch-In?

Punch-in is one of those things that’s a lot harder to describe than to do!  Essentially, it’s just the process of jumping from playback to record without stopping.

Imagine narrating the following:

Since my first introduction to recording studios, I’ve been an admirer of punch-and-roll.  It makes things so much quicker and easier.

Now, suppose you read the first sentence perfectly, but fluff the second one.  The engineer will ‘roll back’ to the beginning of the previous sentence – “Since…” – play the sentence back to you, and then instantaneously switch to recording just after the word “roll“.  You then re-read the second sentence… and on we go.

Experienced narrators are so used to this that we can work this way without even talking about it.  We both just instinctively know where we’re going to drop in.  Also, some narrators are so good they can ‘drop in’ mid-sentence – after the word “studios” in the example above.

Punch-In with DAWs

Now, here’s where the magic comes in – and this is something even experienced narrators often fail to grasp.  Back in the days of tape, the punch-in point had to be perfect.  With tape, you are destroying whatever was recorded beforehand.

But with a DAW such as Pro Tools (the software we use at Landen Park Studio), nothing is ever deleted.  So, if we punch a little too early in the example above and just ‘nick’ the end of the word “roll“, it doesn’t matter.  We simply ‘drag out’ the clipped-off bit during editing.

Also, since the original take of the second sentence is still there, we can ‘drag out’ parts of it – even individual consonants – and combine that with the second take.  Again, we do this during editing.

The really mind-blowing thing about punching in with Pro Tools is that it’s actually always recording.  This means that if you start to speak just before the punch in point, even that audio is available just by dragging.

Discipline is Key

Of course, all this doesn’t mean you should just throw caution to the wind and start talking whenever you feel like it!  At the very least, this makes the editing job much more time-consuming (and it’s annoying!).  Also, the director will want to hear a ‘clean take’ as it goes along – to know if something is right, or needs re-doing.

To help you time your punch-in, there are cue lights in the studio, positioned to be in your peripheral vision while you’re working,  The amber light goes on when playback starts, switching to a red light as we drop in to record.  These lights are automatic, controlled by the Pro Tools software itself.

Amanda Bedzrah’s Leah: Unnoticed, Unwanted, Unloved now available on Audible

Leah - Unnoticed Unwanted Unloved by Amanda Bedzrah

Leah: Unnoticed, Unwanted, Unloved by Amanda Bedzrah is now available on Audible.

Produced here at Landen Park Studio, Leah… is a fictional retelling of one of the greatest Bible stories of all time. It is a story of love, deception, betrayal, competition, heartbreak, and forgiveness.

Recorded here at Landen Park Studio by Lucy Scott and directed and post-produced by Justin Hill, Leah: Unnoticed, Unwanted, Unloved is now available on Audible and all your favourite audiobook platforms.

The second Amanda Bedzrah work we’ve produced here, Leah... was actually Amanda’s first novel – we produced Becoming Queen Bathsheba, her second novel, earlier this year.

Tiny Thunder now available on Audible

Tiny Thunder by Sue Rice

Tiny Thunder by Sue Rice, produced here at Landen Park Studio, is a fascinating journey through marketing using metaphoric storytelling.  The book explains, with copious examples, how to turbo-charge your marketing efforts through a “magical mash-up” of metaphor and story.

Recorded here at Landen Park Studio by the author and directed and post-produced by Justin Hill, Tiny Thunder is now available on Audible and all your favourite audiobook platforms.

The Listening Coach now available on Audible

The Listening Coach, read by author Jane Adshead-Grant and directed by Justin Hill, is now available on Audible.

The Listening Coach will help you coach yourself through the elements of listening that are critical in life, in business and in your community.  It is easy to read and digest, with practical ideas so you can convert its insights into deeper ways of listening. Peppered with conversations and real-world case studies, you will discover the transformational impact of deep and generative listening.

Genelle Aldred’s Communicate For Change now on Audible

Communicate For Change, recorded here at the end of 2021, is now available on Audible.   Genelle’s recording was directed by Justin Hill.

In Communicate for Change, journalist and communication consultant Genelle Aldred offers suggestions and guidance to help us be better listeners, readers, watchers and talkers. With insight drawn from years of experience, she breaks down the barriers to effective conversation so we can communicate in a more nuanced, thoughtful way and understand our part in bringing about a more just society.

Bob Skeens’ Champion Building now on Audible

Champion Building, a best-selling book by Bob Skeens, is now available on all your favourite platforms as an audiobook.  Narrated by Bob himself and produced here at the The Other Operation, Champion Building is that rare thing – a book on selling which actually sheds new light and introduces genuinely new ideas for enterprise selling.  You can check it out here:

 

(Yet) Another little private job…

Pip Burley has been back in the studio with another song…  This time, the vocalist was Aoife Kenny.

Pip and I built up the arrangement during April, and brought in the truly wonderful Emma McPhilemy to perform a sax part.  Subsequently, our rough bass line was replaced for us by towering bass talent Phil Mulford.

A good time was had by all, and Pip was very pleased with the resulting mix.