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Published on November 13th, 2017 | by Alan Cross

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Guest Blog: How to Do Better Voiceovers and Narrations

[I do a lot of voiceover work: commercials, TV narration, corporate videos, tutorials–you name it, I’ll do it. Paul Schoff does, too. If you’ve ever wanted to get into that game–or if you’re already doing it–he offers these tips with this guest blog. – AC]

Having a killer video or an artwork alone is not enough. As a final touch, you need to add an excellent voiceover to your piece, before pushing it out of the walls.

People often overlook the voiceover aspect of their art. All the elements of your composition should be balanced and perfect to it stops you looking like an amateur.

Here are some of the excellent tips to make your voiceover recordings a hit!

 

1. Controlling your space

Before you start to record your voiceover you should set up your “stage” in order to avoid distractions.

Place your microphone, put your text onto a copy stand, set up your microphone and headphone levels before getting into the zone.

Now when you have found your sweet spot you are ready to give your best shot.

 

2. Marking up your script

This is easy yet effective technique. Often you will be given fairly big scripts in which is very easy to get lost. Imagine that you have to read a five-line sentence and right at the end of the sentence you make a mistake, so you have to go back from the top. A simple trick to prevent going back in circles and getting frustrated which can lead to distraction is to divide your sentences into small sections.

For example: “My friend bought / a new vintage guitar / and he invited me to see it /, but I have so much work to do /, so I’ll leave it for next occasion.”. As you can see, I divided this sentence into five small sections, so if I will make any mistake while reading I can always go back and repeat only that section. Later in post-production, that part will be put in its right place.

 

3. Start conversationally

First thing every beginner does when it gets a microphone starts to act strangely and loudly. You are not an announcer unless that’s what is requested from you. With this job, you should be calm and try to sound like you are talking to your friend or group of people.

Try to do it with most friendly and clear voice as possible. And yes, voice acting IS ACTING!

 

4. Lean into your read

This means, using your body as an instrument to emphasize the text.  If you are laid back you are just talking thing that is said with very little importance. The moment you lean on to the microphone you are starting to make a statement, to sound more serious.

Speaking close to the microphone is letting you draw the listeners’ attention. Experiment with this technique. You will find it very appealing.

 

5. Some Basic equipment for making your voiceovers sound professional 

Audio interface

An audio interface is a device which converts your microphone’s analogue signal into a digital signal.

In the market today, you can find quality audio interfaces for a reasonable price. There are several types of connectivity.

An interface with basic USB connection will do the job just fine. You should get one which has XLR input with an optional phantom power supply which can feed a condenser microphone if that is the type of microphone you are going for.

Microphone

The microphone is the device that will transmit your voice to the listener’s ears. There are several different types of microphones to choose from. Please try to avoid any type of computer or headset microphones if you are trying to get paid for doing voiceovers.

For starters, you can try using clip-on lavalier microphones–you know, the small ones you’ve seen most often being used on talk shows. If you want to go up a notch, you should get some type of large diaphragm dynamic (often referred as broadcasting mics) or a good voiceover microphone.

Headphones

Headphones are crucial piece of equipment that you should have for doing your voiceovers. Like with microphones, there are several types of headphones. They are in-ear, on-ear and over-ear kinds.

The on-ear and over-ear headphones can be open-backs and closed-backs. Open-back headphones aloud the sound to go out from the headphones which creates an airy feel while listening, but this can cause the sound escaping out to be caught by the microphone and cause phasing issues.

My advice is to go with a decent pair of over-ear, closed-back headphones.

Text stand

Text stand cause you don’t want to hold the scripts in your hands and recording all kinds of noises you don’t want to be found in your voiceovers.

Verdict

As I said previously voiceover acting is still acting. So, in order to accomplish a good job, you should be in the zone. Go thru the given scripts once before pressing that recording button.

It’s important to understand what the script is about so you could sound more convincing while recording it.

Hi, I’m Paul Schoff from SoundMaximum. An audiophile from Detroit. You can see me playing with my headphones in my closet. I’m a passionate audiophile and a fitness freak.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker.

In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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