And now ... it's all done. *lets out a breath of relief* Total time spent: I lost count somewhere after a full day of recording. The first part took three hours, perhaps because I was getting used to Audacity. By the time I recorded the last part (part VII), I'd gotten it down to one hour. With the exception of part IV, of course. That one was a killer--I still can't believe it took eight hours. I suppose in all, I spent about 20 hours or so.
Lesson learned: never read anything over 5000 words long. In fact, never read anything over 1000 words long, if possible. The recording process takes DAYS.
Narration notes (in case anyone actually cares):
Mp3 hosted on Mediafire and on space kindly donated by troisroyaumes. [ETA: I added a SoundCloud streaming option in August 2013. (I'm slow! I've been busy with grad school.)] Please let me know if links don't work. I used a program called Audacity, and also the microphone built into my laptop. I've actually saved the raw Audacity files and am considering uploading them somewhere for posterity. They'll probably just get archived somewhere on a DVD or something, really. It was too much work to delete, but I am not keeping it on my hard drive, as raw sound data takes up quite a rather large amount of space.
Part I - I started with this part, and recorded every single paragraph separately. Tracing the paragraphs using Audacity was a pain in the butt! The laughter at the end overlaps on purpose.
Part II - This one was easy enough to do. I presumed the narrator was Waya, or another insei close to Hikaru. The "kifu" you hear shuffling about are actually my bank statements. *grins*
Part III - My biggest difficulty was how to make it sound like there were two people talking, especially since I can't do character voices. In the end, I had one pompous person with a stronger British accent who was louder (TK), and the reporter (MH) was a little further away from the microphone, so s/he was softer (also spoke less forcefully). Again the overlapping laughter wasn't too difficult (now that I had practice moving soundclips). I don't mind admitting I had Kurata in mind for TK. ^_^
Part IV - This part is less than 5 minutes long. It took _eight_ hours to make. O_o First, I had to simulate the click of a tape recorder. I tried many things (clicking a ballpoint pen, bending plastic) but didn't have anything in the house that would make the required click. Then I tried my alarm clock's alarm button. Eureka! <3 The static in the background (petronia called it tape hiss) gave me a bit of a headache too, until I generated white noise, brought it down to -36 dB, and then lowered it in the equilizer as well. I copied and pasted the result for the entire track.
Much harder was this notation in the section calling for "Fast-forward: thirty seconds of compressed garble." I had originally fast-forwarded some white noise-embedded and sped-up speech for some "fast-forward" sections, though I have to admit. Not good enough--sounded like chipmunks. XD So I generated sawtooth and white noise in varying frequencies, and also threw in some popping sounds in a high frequency (they didn't show up very clearly). It still didn't sound very realistic ... until I interweaved a bit of silence in between. The result pleased me. ^_^ Finally, I cut that down to maybe 3 seconds (perhaps less) because I didn't want someone to listen to 30 seconds of it.
Part V - I thought it would be easy to do this one in one go. I sure learned my lesson. Even this clip took an hour of re-takes, because it was difficult to transition from one voice to another. In the end, I read all of Touya Akiko's lines in one go. Then I inserted the other words/text.
Part VI - Ashiwara got a nice, neutral, happy/pleasant sort of reading voice. I hope people liked him! I couldn't make him as gushing as he usually was, because Ashiwara's talking about a somewhat difficult subject. I took the liberty of replacing the blanked out year with "this year", but I'm figuring petronia will not kill me for it. ^_^;;;
Part VII - This part was the last to be recorded. I couldn't decide on how to do Akari, strangely enough. I ended up just being myself. ^_^;;;
Part VIII - Wow, this part was actually much easier. I did Hikaru's part a few times. I wanted to get the feeling of someone just sitting in front of a video camera doing a video letter, and just letting his mouth run without really thinking too much about it. At the same time, I didn't want to make it too annoyingly start-stop-start. So I ignored all the other text, did Hikaru's lines in one go, and then inserted the rest around it. (This seems to be a very successful way to record interwoven prose and speech.)