Master Voice Actor Rodney Saulsberry Considers the 'Real Person Read' and the Sennheiser MKH 416 Microphone Indispensable Elements in his Craft
The MKH 416 Shotgun Mic Helps Navigate Saulsberry Through a Sea of Diverse Work, Ranging from Television Promos, to Motion Picture Work, to Political Ads
In addition to his trailer narration work on Red Tails, Friday, The Best Man, Diary of a Mad Black Woman and many others, Saulsberry is also known for his work on Twix and Zatarain’s commercials and is the author of two published books on voice acting. As an on-screen actor, he has appeared in Beginners, The Philadelphia Experiment, Tango and Cash and has been nominated twice for his role as Anthony on CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful — for which he was nominated for two Best Actor NAACP Image Awards.
Currently, in addition to his recurring work as the Zatarain’s man and The Bold and the Beautiful, Saulsberry’s voice can be heard around the world doing English promos for the international television network Telemundo. Saulsberry says that his vast experience as an actor has helped him remain top of mind among voiceover agents in an industry that is constantly changing.
“What makes me get the call is my ability to deliver the ‘real person read’,” he says. “Today, the challenge is to get rid of the ‘announcer style’ and make the copy more conversational. This is when the actor inside me comes out and why it is so important to know that voice over is really voice acting. You also need to hone your improvisation skills. When I improvise, I am not changing the script or rewriting, but I am making it my own.”
Sennheiser MKH 416: The ‘Instrument that Captures the Voice’
No matter what kind of voice acting he is doing, the Sennheiser MKH 416 remains Saulsberry’s standard ‘go-to’ microphone. He began using the MKH 416 during the 1990’s, especially doing movie trailer work: “When I would go to the major trailer houses around town, this was the microphone that I would be speaking into most of the time,” he recalls. Currently, he uses an MKH 416 at home in his soundproof isolation booth, which can connect to studios around the world by using a Telos Zephyr Express ISDN codec.
“I don’t even have a preamp — I plug my MKH 416 right into the back of the Telos Zephyr and it sounds great,” he says. “I work for a company in London and with my Sennheiser mic and the Telos unit, it makes me sound like I am in England, 3,000 miles away. Engineers notice and appreciate this.” Saulsberry says that he often does singing parts as well as spoken word, and that the MKH 416 is versatile enough to handle both tasks without any trouble.
Saulsberry appreciates the incredibly accurate response of the MKH 416, yet considers the mic extremely accommodating to whatever signal is being presented: “It sounds contradictory, but the microphone is very detailed but also very forgiving. It is almost saying, ‘I am out to get the best of you and will make amends so it sounds right.’ As far as my own technique is concerned, I move closer on the mic if I want to accentuate the low frequencies, or back up if I want to shout. The mic just adapts.”
No matter what kind of session Saulsberry is working on, he knows his Sennheiser MKH 416 will be there to capture ‘the real person read,’ “It captures every detail where other microphones might miss, including the ‘air’ at the end of phrases,” he observes. “It brings the presence out of my voice and I love that.”
For more information on Rodney Saulsberry, please visit www.rodneysaulsberry.com.