If you want to learn the tips & tricks to do voice-over like a pro, then keep reading.
This blog is for you!
When you are making an explainer or training video, a voice over plays an important role in lifting the spirit of the video goal.
Voice over is an essential part of video-making to drive the audience through the video and speak the message loud and clear.
Voice recording is a challenge for people who think that their voice isn’t good enough to voice over a video which automatically eliminates the thought of becoming a professional voice-over artist.
But this is not an uncrossable hurdle.
You must be thinking how that’s even possible? And if this is possible, how can you record a magical voice that grabs your viewer’s attention and stick them to the video till the end?
Continue reading to find out all the answers!
What is a Voice Over?
A voice that is narrating (can be or cannot be), describing, explaining, guiding, and highlighting the content & context of the video is known as a voice over.
Usually, a voice over artist records his/her voice for the video or movie but cannot be seen on the screen. Voice over is more like “a voice behind the video.”
Is Narration a Voice Over?
There are so many types of voice overs and have a slight difference between each other. One of them is narration.
Well, narration can be or cannot be a voice over.
Narration tells a story or describes the scenario of the scene or screen. If it’s just storytelling, then it falls into voice over, but if it narrates the whole ongoing action on the screen, then it’s not a voice over.
A non-narrating voice over is primarily used in informative, educational, explainer, and training videos, and narrating voice or narration used in movies or entertaining videos.
The simplest way to describe the relation between voice over and narration is – all narrations are voice over, but all voice overs are not narration.
Why is a good voice over vital for your video?
Those who think that video only depends on visuals and audio plays no role in it, then this is where the mistake is.
Audio is equally important as visuals.
Fact: most of the viewers stop watching the video due to bad audio or voice quality.
This is true that visual elements on the screen make a video, but audio helps the audience understand what those visual elements are doing, what concept the video is delivering, and what is happening on the screen.
Unclear audio or voice makes the context & content hard to understand, which results – a frustrated audience.
Voice overs are important for blind or partially blind people and help them sail through the whole video smoothly.
If you have spectacular visual content with poor-quality audio – the video is a total failure.
Voice over or audio is very necessary for the video to engage and attract the audience towards it and ensure that they learn the information the video is meant to provide.
Is a professional voice talent necessary for a great voice over?
Good quality voice over can lead the video to success, but that doesn’t require extraordinary voice talent.
Most people think that you should have one of those deep, based, and a snazzy voice like James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, or Hank Azaria to record a great voice over. Not true!
If you have a budget for professional videography, so you can hire a voice over artist for the video, but if you are tight on budget, even a simple regular voice with some practice can do what your video needs.
P.S: at the start, none of the famous voice over artists knew that they could be Darth Vader’s voice or the narrating voice at The Smurfs, but with practice, they did it. So, no one knows what a voice practice can bring you in the future.
You really don’t need a professional voice talent for a great voice over. All you need is to do some voice practice.
So, how can you record your voice over for a video?
Don’t worry, this guide will teach you some tips & tricks for your first voice over.
Key Elements for an Excellent Voice Over
When we think about the excellent voice overs, we think of the voices we have heard in Star Wars, Siri, Alexa, and Angry Birds. Indeed, the artists who gave life to these characters have legendary voices, but anyone can have a good enough voice to voice over a video or maybe a movie.
Remember: If they can do it, so do you! Just do practice and believe in yourself.
All you need is to do some voice practice to achieve the texture of a great voice.
While practicing, keep the following key points in your mind. These points will help you make your voice favorable for all the voice over videos.
- Clarity and volume in audio/voice.
- Pacing in sentences.
- Pitch and tone of the voice.
- Correct and clear pronunciation.
1. Clarity and volume in audio/voice
An audible voice with sufficient volume is the essential part of a voice over. If your recording is difficult to understand or low in volume, it will cause frustration and confusion amongst the audience.
A clear voice over helps the audience to absorb the information correctly, and the audible volume keeps ears at ease.
If you have a muddy voice with extreme volume (either high or low), the audience might get confused or annoyed and miss the information your video provides. It will cause a total loss.
2. Pacing in sentences
You must have talked or met people who tell a story in rush excitement, and once they are done, nobody knows what they were telling because no one understood the sentences they were speaking.
A teacher with a sloth or bullet train speed causes sleep (a real-life example that has happened to us all).
Why didn’t we understand? They were speaking the same language as we do, then why was it so hard to understand or stand to stay awake?
The answer is pacing!
It is common sense and general science that it will be hard for your audience to understand the information you are sharing if you speak too fast or too slow. The sentences lose their weight due to the extreme speed of speaking.
Follow the tips to excel in the pacing:
- Read a book or script with punctuation.
- Maintain the spaces between words and sentences.
- Speak the sentence at an average speed.
- Give pause while speaking, take a breath, and then continue.
- For reference, watch news channels and observe how the newscasters talk and deliver the information.
While practicing, once you are a master of the above, then move toward effects. Try to speak a sentence in different manners to add emotions and expressions.
P.S: try all the emotions in one sentence. It will help you understand how better you can deliver a sentence in different emotions.
3. Pitch and tone of the voice
Pitch and tone can help the audience understand the meaning of the sentence and the emotion of the speakers.
To Note: Like extreme volume and speed, extreme pitches can cause irritation for the audience.
Different content requires different pitches and tones. You cannot deliver sad information in an exciting tone or high pitch or fun facts in a dull tone or low pitch.
Make sure you adopt the right pitch and tone of voice according to the content and context of the video.
P.S: keep in mind that a voice impression can change the context of the content easily.
4. Correct and clear pronunciation
Whenever you speak a new language, people easily distinguish you from the people who come from the origin of that language. How?
Your accent and pronunciation!
One of the great tips of voice over is correct and precise pronunciation. While recording a voice, try to speak clearly and pronounce the words correctly.
Fact: some people around the world find the wrong pronunciation offensive for their language. Speak carefully.
Every location and country has its regional accent, and people prefer voice over in the language they are familiar with to clearly understand the video’s concept.
If you are doing a voice over for a region and you don’t belong or are familiar with the language, then try using the universal language (that is English, obviously) or a language you and the people of the region are familiar with, in a normal, understandable pronunciation and accent.
Just try to speak naturally, clearly, and with the correct pronunciation.
How to make the voice sound better on voice over recording?
A legit issue that voice over artists usually come up with is how to make their voice sound better on the recording.
Most people don’t like the sound of their own voice.
The world is full of the people like you. Sometimes the voice sounds perfectly great on recording, but the voice over artist doesn’t like it. Always remember your recorded voice will be heard by others, and there is a chance they might like it.
P.S: before you accept the above statement, record your voice and make people around you hear it, and if you get positive compliments, then trust your voice you are good to go, but if you get negative comments, don’t worry; all you need is to do some more practice to make it perfect.
Don’t feel embarrassed due to your voice. The sound of your recorded voice is how you sound to the people when they hear you.
It is absolutely fine!
When people first start recording voice overs, they have to get over to this embarrassment. Do frequent voice recordings and start listening to them. With the passage of time, you will get used to it, and the recordings will sound more familiar, like the sound you hear while you speak.
How to record a Voice Over?
After practice, the next step is voice over recording. You will need a few arrangements for the recording to give a professional sound to your voice.
1. Preparation for recording
Every video has its own genre. Some videos require voice over, some don’t. But if your video requires voice over, then you should do some essential preparation for recording.
· Look for a quiet place for recording
Find a place, room, or studio with a quiet environment to record without any distortion—the professional artist records voice over in a soundproof environment and with a high-quality microphone to avoid disturbance or cancel noises.
Don’t go that far! Just look for a room that has minimal sound distraction. Buy a good quality microphone (not very expensive, even excellent-quality microphones come at a budget-friendly price.).
If you are recording voice over at home, try to be somewhere at the house where you cannot hear the noises or record at night. And if you have to record at your workplace, try to avoid the place where your coworkers are chatting.
Make your recording place soundproof, shut down the air conditioner or fan to avoid the sound the motion of the air makes.
Note: don’t suffocate the place! Shut down AC or fan while recording only. If the recording is too long, pause for some time, go out, take fresh air, and resume recording.
Keep the windows shut, even the sound of animals and traffic can distract you from the recording mindset.
In short, no place is perfect for silence, so try to find a new place or add some creativity to the current location to make it ideal for recording.
· Choose a microphone
Try to buy or borrow a microphone that records the quality voice for your project.
Built-in microphones in phones and laptops are good enough for video and audio calling but are not good enough for professional voice over recording.
You don’t need to spend money on the expensive micro, many affordable microphones can give a studio-quality sound.
Even Apple and Samsung EarPods/buds provide good sound quality. You can give it a try and record some sample audio clips.
If the audio quality matches your video quality level, then you are good to go!
One microphone can cost you almost $100 – $150, which is pretty much expensive for one or two videos, but if you want to make a one-time investment for the long run, you should spend money on a good quality and company’s microphones.
· Choose an audio software
After essential equipment, the next vital thing is audio software for better sound quality. Sometimes, you might need audio software to filtrate the noise or cancel irrelevant sounds when you don’t have a good microphone.
There are many software for audio clearing available in the market that you can use in your voice over project. You can record, edit, and transcribe the audio with some of the handy and easy-to-use software.
The script helps like a guardian angel who guides you the way when you get lost. The script tells you what to say and has complete detail about your voice over project.
When artists voice over characters in animation cartoons or translate any movie, they follow the script that tells them what to speak and how to speak.
Generally, when people talk, they hmm, haw, or even umm, which makes the audio long and unenjoyable. This gives the sign to the listener that the voice over artist:
- is not fully prepared.
- Does not know the appropriate word.
- Or maybe forgot the lines.
You can skip all those errors by just writing down all the voice over content in the form of a script.
A Script gives you a proper flow and helps your keep all ideas, jokes, and fun fact on a piece of paper for the time of recording.
A good script includes everything you want to record in your audio, so spend sufficient time writing a script.
- First, write down the idea, topic, or concept you want to cover in your audio, then start writing the script around the subject of voice over.
- Second, give it a read for twice or thrice.
- Third, try different emotions and tones for variation.
- Forth, once you have selected the tone, start practicing it.
Memorize your script so, while recording, you don’t forget the lines.
Note: keep the script with you for a quick glance.
3. Test Recording
Before recording the final audio, record some test clips or voice notes to ensure that your recording tools are working correctly and you are getting the quality you are looking for.
If it’s your first time recording a voice over, you should test the audio clip multiple times for better voice over recording and audio quality.
Note: don’t record the whole script. Just record a small chunk of text or writing in a small audio clip. After the recording, listen to your audio clip and test it through high dimension earphones for keen observation.
Even professional voice over artists record twice or thrice to get perfect audio for video or movie. Re-doing is not a bad thing; for better sound quality and error-free results, you must test your voice.
Once you have a final recording clip, you can add your voice over to your video project.
While recording test audio, you need to keep a few things in mind:
· Microphone placement
Microphone placement is very important for audio recording. You should know where to place it to catch the quality voice over clear while recording.
Placing it too close and too far from the artist can add distortion to the recording.
- If you place the microphone too close, even breathing sounds will be recorded.
- And if you place the microphone too far, the audio will get lost in the air and make a distant voice impression.
Place the microphone according to the script!
You must be thinking, what does a script have to do with microphone placing?
Yes! Script has a deep connection with voice over and microphone placing.
While recording a voice over for an animated movie, the voice over artist has to implant some impression through mic placing.
- If the scene portrays a conversation between two friends standing away from each other, then the mic should be placed away from one artist to showcase distance.
- If the scene is about whispering, then the mic should be placed near the artist’s mouth.
The placement of the microphone can literally change the atmosphere of the scene.
Other than impression, if it’s a simple explainer video, you should place the mic about seven to eight inches away from the voice over artist’s mouth.
· Check the volume level
The volume of the audio matters the most.
A correct level can make your content audible through voice over. But if you hit the extreme volume, that might create distortion, inaudibility, or irritation.
- Too low volume will make it hard for the audience to hear what the artist is saying.
- Too high a volume can irritate the ears of the listeners and might cause damage.
You can adjust your volume while recording. Ready the scene and script, and adjust your volume accordingly.
Some scenes require high volume, like fighting or shouting scene, and some require low volume like a normal conversation between characters.
You can also adjust the level of the volume in the editing phase and shape it according to the scene. You can keep some key points in your head while setting the volume:
- Audio volume or level are measured in a scientific term called Decibels (dB.).
- 0db means the maximum volume in an audio recording, and make sure you don’t cross 0db. If you go higher, it will distort the audio clip.
- The range you should keep for audio recording must be in between -10db to -20db.
If you are using audio software, it must have some volume indicator that indicates your audio level.
4. Record voice over
After a satisfactory microphone placement and tested audio, it’s time to record the final voice over.
Yes! After all the above, you are good to go to record your voice over.
While recording the script, remember a few tips for an excellent voice over:
- Speak with the pause and keep your accent right.
- Don’t mumble the words in your mouth. Try to speak clearly.
- Keep your tone and pitch moderate to avoid distortion.
- Keep the script in front of you while recording to prevent mistakes.
- If some mispronunciation happens in the middle of the recording, try to fix it while editing but don’t stop recording.
- If you feel frustrated while recording, don’t keep going. Take a break, have a glass of water or a mug of coffee to energize your mood.
- For perfection, do record voice overs several times.
5. Edit the voice over recording
Voice over recording and editing are equally challenging tasks. Even the best voice overs need some editing to make the audio flawless.
You can achieve professional-quality voice over work through audio editing. You can add audio transitions, sound effects, and background music.
Before you start editing, listen to the audio carefully from the start to the end, then mark things you want to edit. Listen to the edited audio once again and check the changes.
While editing the audio, try to remove the long pause part. It creates an abnormal silence and breaks the flow of the audio.
6. Import your audio to the video editor
Finally, the time has come you have been waiting for.
Once you are done with the editing, you can incorporate the voice over recorded audio with the video.
You are now ready to record a voice over in real-time.
We have gathered all the information related to voice over in this guide, and we hope that this guide must have cleared all your doubts and fears about being a pro-voice over artist.
But if you are running out of time and need a voice over artist for your video project, contact BuzzFlick – a top animated video company expert in video editing services, whiteboard animation, explainer videos, and more.
Hire professional voice over artists from BuzzFlick to record voice overs in your videos. You can contact them 24/7, and they will facilitate your queries.