6 Tips for Recording and Producing a Winning Voiceover

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Creating a professional voiceover for your project can be extremely challenging. We’ve put together these 6 Tips to assist with navigating the many issues you may encounter when attempting to get a great voiceover result.

 

1. Read the Script Aloud Before You Record

Assuming you now have a professional script that communicates your message, it’s time to test it prior to recording. 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 script will give you a much better indication of the way certain words and phrases will come across when read by your voiceover artist. Difficult and overly- complicated words and sentences can then be edited and simplified making the end message clear and concise and providing a better chance to communicate more effectively with your target audience.

2. Use an Experienced Producer

Assuming that your recording engineer will ‘produce’ the session can be a big mistake. Typically, recording engineers won’t get overly involved in the correctness or delivery of your script. They might do a good job of setting up recording equipment and capturing a sound however their skills in the area of voiceover production may not be at a high level. The engineer 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 voiceover production experience and are willing to assist you to achieve the very best result for your project.

3. Don’t Skimp on ‘the Talent’

Attempting to save money by using a cheap voiceover artist can often backfire costing you both time and money. The first issue is that if the performance is below standard you may end up alienating, (rather than captivating) your audience leading to less sales or a less than convincing message. The second issue is, as time essentially relates to money, you may lose on 2 levels – 1. valuable studio time, as an inexperienced voiceover artist may take significantly longer to achieve a useable take and will cost more in editing time. 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, seek the advice of your studio as they are often familiar with the style and ability of the various artists who frequent the studio.

4. Access Great 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 effectiveness of your voiceover sound. Without a great room, high quality large diaphragm condenser microphone, and a quality preamplifier it is unlikely you’ll achieve a great sound. Conversely, if the equipment is top notch it can help your voiceover artist 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.

5. Choose a Good Editor

Not all voiceover editors are the same. Achieving a seamless flow for your voiceover is challenging. It takes an editor with a high level of English literacy/ fluency and a wealth of voiceover 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 with poor English or worse still, find that it’s been outsourced to a developing country where English is a second language in order to save a few dollars for the studio.

6. Make Mixing & Mastering a Priority

Mixing and mastering are art forms in the world of sound that should never be dismissed of underrated. That’s why engineers receive Grammy’s and Oscars for these skills. 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 and improving the professionalism of the result. Many studios can’t afford these high end software plug-ins and hardware so some or all of these processes are often not even carried out. Make sure that your chosen studio offers the very best at every step of the recording chain.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. We hope it provided some insight and benefit. Not many people are aware of the effort and dedication that goes into what appears at first glance to be a simple voiceover recording.

Like all things of quality, upon closer inspection we can see that it’s the application of specialist knowledge, skill and equipment that delivers results that count.

Author: Matt McGowen – Producer/Composer/Engineer

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