Voice-Over – 6 Tips for Producing and Recording the Perfect Voice-Over
Read Your Voice-Over Script Aloud
It can be a paradox that what often looks great on paper doesn’t always sound great when spoken aloud. That’s why it’s very important to read a script out loud, preferably to someone else. Reading the Voice-Over script will give you a much better indication of the way certain words and phrases will come across when read by your Voice-Over artist. Difficult and overly complicated words and sentences can be edited and simplified making the end message more clear and concise and providing a better chance for your to communicate more effectively with your target audience.
Have an Experienced Voice-Over Producer on Hand
Assuming that your recording engineer will ‘produce’ your session can be a big mistake. Typically, recording engineers won’t get overly involved in the correctness or delivery of your Voice-Over script. They might do a good job of setting up the recording equipment however their skills in the area of Voice-Over production may not be at a high level. They may also feel that production is not a part of their job. Even if you have a producer for the project or plan to produce it yourself, try to choose a studio where the recording engineers have Voice-Over production experience and can assist you to achieve the very best result for your project.
Don’t Skimp on the Voice-Over ‘Talent’
Attempting to save money by using a cheap Voice-Over artist will inevitably backfire. The first issue is that if the performance is below standard you may alienate, rather than captivate your audience leading to less sales or a less than convincing message. The second issue is that, as time essentially relates to dollars, you may lose on 2 levels – 1. You could lose the valuable studio time that you’re paying for as an inexperienced Voice-Over artist may take significantly longer to achieve a useable take. 2. You may lose the money spent on the Voice-Over artist as you may ultimately have to replace them and run another session.
Save yourself the time, money and frustration. When selecting your voice talent you might seek the advice of your studio as they are familiar with the style and ability of the various artists that frequent the studio.
Voice-Over Recording Equipment
It makes sense that your recording can only sound as good as the equipment and engineer used to capture it. Presence, clarity, tone, warmth, depth, resonance and loudness are all contributing factors to the Voice-Over sound. Without a great room, high quality large diaphragm condenser microphone and preamplifier it is unlikely you’ll achieve a good enough sound. Conversely, if the equipment is top notch you it can help your Voice-Over artist to sound amazing. When presented to your audience, the resultant sound can literally make or break the communication of your intended message. Always invest in a studio with the highest end equipment you can afford.
Not all Voice-Over Editors are the same. Achieving a seamless flow of spoken words is challenging. It takes an editor with an exceptional level of English literacy and fluency and a wealth of spoken work production experience to really ‘nail’ an edit. Selecting only the very best takes, de-breathing, de-essing, de-popping, fading correctly and placing the optimum length of pauses between words, sentences and phrases can also have a huge impact on your intended message. Don’t entrust your edit to a 16 year old recording engineer who failed English or worse still find that it has been outsourced to Bangladesh in order to save a few dollars for the studio.
Voice-Over Mixing and Mastering
Mixing and mastering are art forms in the world of sound that should never be dismissed of underrated. Achieving a great recording is half the battle won, mixing and mastering is where the results of the recording are put on turbo boost. High quality compressors can make the sound punchy and ‘in your face’ adding to the confidence of the delivery. Professional de-noisers strip away unwanted background noise providing a clean, polished finish to the sound which improves the professionalism of the result. Many studios can’t afford these high end ‘plug-ins’ and hardware and so some or all of these processes are often not even carried out.
Not many people are aware that so much process, effort and dedication can go into what appears at first glance to be a ‘simple’ Voice-Over recording however, like all things of quality upon closer inspection we can see that it is the application of significant knowledge, skill and equipment that delivers results that count.