What makes a Good Voiceover Narration?Posted on September 12th, 2012 - Comments Off
Narrations are the type of voiceover work that take time, the right voice actor, and a patient producer. They can range in length from 5 minutes to over an hour and require recording, voice techniques, and editing. Customers can spend a fair amount of money having a project like this commission. Here are the main essentials of creating a great narration.
Find The Tone of The Piece
A “great” voiceover artist has the ability to find the character within the copy. Having a great “radio” voice is not the only thing that an artist needs to bring a narration piece to life. A good narrator has to create the voice of a character within the piece. They then use this character to create emotion that draw the audience into the project.
A character’s “voice” should be used with consistency throughout the piece. The artist should carry the same emotion, tone, with proper pacing. The pauses and emphasize certain lines for for dramatic effect. Varying up speech patterns can keep the narrations interesting and the audience more engaged.
Voices that are monotone do have there place within the voiceover world. Certain pieces like automated phone system voiceovers require absolute clarity. Character creation and emotion don’t necessarily fit within this type of voiceover.
Audio Recording Tips for Narrations
No matter how amazing an v.o. artist is, poor recording quality will ruin the outcome of any project. There are a few essential techniques that all voiceover artists need to know to make sure their recordings top-notch.
Microphone position – Maintaining the correct distance between your microphone and the artists mouth is important to keep the voiceover consistent. If an artist is too close to the mic the low end frequencies are picked up and more problems like hiss and plosives are more audible.
Script Flow – When a script is presented to a voiceover company it may not have been written with by a person who is familiar with the voiceover process. The script needs to flow naturally and certain phrases may need to be removed or added. Doing minor rewrites to ensure proper pacing and consulting with the client before the script is “voiced” can reduce the need for edits and revisions. Making the script correct will make the process easier on the production company and the client.
Pop Filters – A pop filter is a wind screen that help reduce the sounds made by an artists breath on the microphone. They are important to reduce “hiss” and “plosives”. Without a filter, recordings exhibit harsh S’s and P’s. They can often be fixed with EQ and a de-esser, but getting it right the first time is the quickest route.
Pop filters can even be created with a wire hanger and panty hose. But, they are fairly inexpensive so visit your local music store and pick one up for about $15-$20.
Sound Dampening – isolating your recording using a vocal booth or padded foam box can keep a recording free from echo’s and phase problems. An untrained ear may not be able to notice these echo’s, but they will notice overall improved quality in the final product.
Take a Time Out – if you’ve been working on a project for a long period of time, your ears can get fatigued and you may need some time away from the project. “Ear Fatigue” also happens when producing voiceovers and music.
Listening to a piece over and over can make it difficult determine the quality. At times, you may need to set the work aside and take a break or work on another project. Try coming back in a day or two to give it a second listen. Hearing the piece with fresh ears will allow you to more accurately judge your work.
Sound Effects – Using sound effects can make a voiceover sound interesting and different. Most projects will require the customers input in this respect, but for smaller pieces, the extra attention can really go a long way. Make sure and bounce the piece down with and without the sound effects, so the customer can choose which they like the best.
Who’s the right Artist for the Project?
Finding the right artist for your project will depend on the type of narration you are having commissioned. If you have a large character driven piece such as an audiobook, you will want to choose an artist that will be reliable (as audio books take a while to finish) and one that can create a good character.
Try listening alot of demos, so you know what to expect and what to look for. Not all voiceover artists have the ability to speak with emotion or create characters.
Ask for An Audition – If you like the style of a particular artist, but aren’t quite sure if they are the right one, ask for a sample. A short clip will help you determine whether the artist you like has the ability to create the type character and tone you are looking for.
Tricks of The Trade – Experienced narrators that have been in the business a long time know the subtle nuances that can bring a voiceover to life. Tactics such as pacing, dramatic pause for effect, and visualization skills help artists create make a character that is more believable.