When it comes to how to achieve the best voice over, the key to success is to present it in a very natural sounding way. Anyone can read out loud, but few can effortlessly do it in a way
that sounds natural – it’s just simply not that easy. The following information will help you
learn what it takes to get the best voice over.
First, Find Your Voice
Todays standard voice over is far more casual and more conversational than in the old days.
You know what I’m talking about – the days when that rich, deep voice called someone down to
try for a prize on your favorite game show or introduced the runner’s up at some world famous
pageant. Gender doesnt matter these days either – good news for women hoping to get into the voice over genre. All of that said, you will need to speak clearly and determine if your
voice character fits into the narration spectrum.
It Begins With the Script
Voice over scripts vary greatly in length and styles, ranging from something as basic as
reading a few lines, maybe even sprinkled throughout the assignment, to a project consisting
of 10 pages of text. If possible, ask to have editing rights for clarity, not necessarily
changing the message – only to help the delivery sound more natural and move smoothing from
section to section. In addition, if there are any elements that you’re unsure of, like
technical terms, words of names you’re not sure of, ask for clarification. There’s nothing
more uncomfortable than mispronouncing a word or someone’s name during a voice over recording
and worse, having to go back and fix it.
The Right Tools
Creating a professional sounding voice over calls for a few tools including editing and
recording software. ProTools, Adobe Audition and Sony Sound Forge are a few popular options,
but there are a lot of them out there. Apple has a few options as well, including WavePad,
Logic Studio and Soundtrack Pro. You can also find more budget friendly choices like Audacity
and GarageBand which are worthy contenders as well. Pick the best (and most user friendly)
product that you can afford because you’re going to be spending a lot of time using it.
Next, you’ll need a good microphone. Ideally, a “good” microphone would be considered a
diaphragm studio condenser mic, however any high quality microphone will work. You’ll also
need an audio interface or adapter cable to use to plug the mic into your computer, along
with a mic stand. You’ll also want to invest in a good set of headphones which are essential
for tracking your recording. Using the headphones, you’ll be able to hear every little
detail, making it easier to make more effective performance decisions. Also, don’t forget the
recording environment. A sound booth/voice over studio type set up would be ideal, however
any quiet location with minimal sound reflections will work in a pinch.
Learn from the Pros
If you find yourself a bit stuck concerning how to deliver your script, take a quick break
and watch a few commercials. Pay attention to the inflections they use and the pacing, take
what you learn and work it into your project. This doesn’t mean you should out and out copy
what they did, just look for the best aspects and incorporate them.
Don’t Be Afraid to Push Your Voice
Try pushing your voice a bit harder than you typically do and record several takes with
inflection variations. Having access to additional options can come in hand during the
editing process. It’s also important to keep in mind that the voice over needs to catch the
viewer’s interest without causing a distraction from the visuals.
Prior to handing the finished voice over project to the client, be sure to test it out on an
assortment of playback systems. Besides listening to it on your computer, create a DVD and
play it in your living room and even in the car if you can. If you hear something that
doesn’t sound right, testing will give you the opportunity to fix it before your client hears
it. If your client wants to make changes, do it because there’s nothing better than a
satisfied client. If the voice over is for a project of yours, be your own best client and do
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