For The Walking Dead Voice Actors Dave Fennoy and Cissy Jones, Neumann TLM 103 and U 87 Microphones Help Keep it Real
Critically Acclaimed Game Enables Voice Actors Opportunity for Character Development, While Neumann Captures Realism and Emotional Nuance
Neumann microphones for their voice work, much more latitude to develop their characters.Dave Fennoy and Cissy Jones are both experienced voice actors with several successful gaming titles under their belts. A typical voice session for any other gaming title might involve recording a few greeting lines, some attack lines, taunting lines as well as various grunts and groans. But The Walking Dead — an episodic adventure series based on the successful comic book series of the same name — is based more on character relationships and dialog. This allowed Fennoy and Jones, both of whom use
Fennoy did the voice work for lead character Lee Everett. Jones, meanwhile, did the voice work for no less than five characters including Katjaa (who appeared in episodes one through three), Jolene (episode two), and Brie (episode 4). Both Fennoy and Jones were thrilled at the amount of dialog in the game, as well as the deep interaction among the characters.
Fennoy, who relies on his Neumann TLM 103 large diaphragm condenser microphone in the studio, says he was immediately taken by the script of The Walking Dead: “On my first day in the studio looking at the script, I realized this was like no other game that I voiced before,” he recalls. “I have played two headed dragons, creatures that drop bombs from the sky, warriors, wizards and every other kind of creature. But Lee Everett was just an average, normal guy and very close to me. I didn’t have to come up with any crazy voices.”
Fennoy uses the Neumann TLM 103 mic inside his Whisper Room isolation booth at home, recording to his iMac running Pro Tools in conjunction with a Digidesign Digi 002 interface. “For accuracy and sound, you can’t beat Neumann,” he says. “This is the microphone that everything else is compared to.”
Cissy Jones: Raising the Level of Performance with Neumann
Cissy Jones also appreciated the deep characters within the script of The Walking Dead: “I am so happy to have had an opportunity to be part of this amazing game because it involved real people,” she says. “It is unlike anything I’ve ever done before and there was so much character development involved.”
During the production of The Walking Dead, Jones also gravitated towards Neumann — in this case, to the classic U87 large diaphragm condenser. “I have a deeper voice and all of that richness gets picked up accurately with the U87,” she says. “For animiation and video games, this is the best microphone to use if you want to capture all the detail and nuances in the recording.” Jones uses her U87 with a MacBook Pro running Adobe Audition, in conjunction with a Cakewalk two channel USB interface.
Jones agrees with Fennoy that the script afforded much more emotional breadth in the studio: “It’s conversation,” she observes. “You actually get a chance to know the characters and it’s not just battle cries. I’ve been in sessions where it is four hours of screaming, different ways of dying, or being the buxom blonde. That just wasn’t the case here and there was so much more depth.”
For Jones, audio occupies a foundational role in any gaming production, providing an irreplaceable emotional connection: “People play games to escape or experience another character in a different world,” she says. “If the audio is poor, you are taken out of that world, and it’s like watching a movie that is badly dubbed. Having audio that is spot on, on the other hand, provides the realism that people crave. Neumann helps me deliver this.”
With Season Two already in production, and with this summer’s recent release of ‘400 Days,’ an episode that featured all new characters and helped bridged the gap between Season One and Season Two, The Walking Dead has already won more than 80 ‘Game of the Year’ awards around the world, and has been recognized in top industry and entertainment publications.