Voice overs are a great way of educating, explaining and highlight elements of video to your audience. With viewers looking for good quality audio as well as a top-notch voice over, it’s time to learn how to record voice overs at home. We’ve got you covered with everything from preparing beforehand to recording and editing your voice overs. Here we go!
What Are Voice Overs?
A voice over recording (frequently called a voice over) is a recording of a person speaking layered over visuals. Voice over recordings (often just called “voice over”) describe, explain, spotlight or provide additional information to what the audience sees.
So, how are voice overs different to narration? Well, narration is a type of voice over that describes all the on-screen action. Voice overs, however, are mostly used for educational or informational videos rather than for entertainment.
Why Should I Use Voice Overs?
You may be thinking ‘why should I use voice overs? Aren’t the visuals enough on their own?’
Yes, you may have fantastic footage and incredible video editing skills, but don’t overlook the importance of audio. Voice overs help your viewers to understand exactly what’s being shown, plus it benefits those who are visually impaired but can benefit from the information in your video.
Voice overs help to engage your audience even further, provide clarity and when done right, can make your video come across as more professional.
What Makes Great Audio For Voice Overs?
Clarity & Volume
The most essential parts of recording great audio are clarity and volume. Muddy or fuzzy audio will instantly put your audience off and make it hard to understand. Ensure that your volume is high enough to be heard, but not too loud that it is overwhelming or distorted.
When you’re with your friends, you may talk at a million miles an hour – but don’t forget that you’re relaying information to somebody who hasn’t heard it before. On the flip side, audiences will quickly be turned off if your pace is slow and dull. Your voice overs should have a natural pace which can be practiced by reading your script and finding the right pace. Don’t forget to pause occasionally, take breaths and not rush through. Your listeners need time to process information!
Tone & Inflection
Sometimes, it’s easy to forget the impact that tone and inflection can have on a voice over. It can be tricky to sound engaging without being over the top, or being professional without sounding boring. Try to inject some life into your voice whilst ensuring that it sounds natural and intriguing. Listeners should feel that they’re being spoken to rather than at.
Pronunciation & Enunciation
Nobody wants to listen to a voice over that’s mumbled through, so be as clear as possible. Be aware of your pronunciations to make sure that people worldwide can understand what you’re saying, and that your phrases make sense. Try to speak clearly and naturally.
How To Record Voice Overs Like A Pro: Top Tips
Write A Script
This is super important to make your voice over sound professional, and eliminates the use of the dreaded ‘umm’! Practice the script out loud beforehand (but not so much that you become robotic!). Make any necessary changes to make it sound as natural as possible.
Get your hands on a decent quality microphone. You don’t have to break the bank, but quality is important to listeners – so check out our handy guide to microphones. Don’t forget to also find and try out audio software that works for you. You can also check out our guide to cleaning and editing audio for further tips.
Find a quiet place to record. Microphones can pick up even small disturbances, so put your phone in silent, stay away from rooms that face traffic and avoid times when others may be moving around in your home.
Try a couple of different microphone places to avoid air puffs or distracting mouth sounds. A good idea is to place the microphone around six to eight inches from your mouth, slightly below the chin. Be careful what surface you place your mic on, also. Some are susceptible to picking up noises from the surface, so check this in your test recording (see our next point!)
Try out a few paragraphs of your script to ensure that everything is set up and working properly. It’s tempting to jump straight in, but you don’t want to do the perfect take just to find out that something isn’t working properly, or that your AC is humming away in the recording! During this, you can also check your volume levels and adjust as necessary. Ideally, your audio level should be between -10db to -20db and peak around -6db.
The Actual Recording
Now you’re ready to record! Remember to consider your pace, tone, remember to enunciate and don’t forget that you can edit out small mistakes or stumbles. Just go back a couple of sentences if you misspeak, and start again! If you hit a block or the words aren’t coming out right, take a break. If certain parts are proving difficult, adjust your script as you go.
Editing Your Voice Over
When recording is finished, it’s time to start editing. You’ll need to trim the beginning and end of the recording, remove any dead space or long silences and edit any mistakes. Start by listening to the entire recording and focus on the tone and pacing first. Listen a second time and make any notes of what you want to edit or change.
If there are some background interferences that you didn’t realize beforehand, don’t panic! Take a look at our guide to cleaning audio to help.
Captions & Audio Transcription
Tons of people watch videos without sound – whether they’re in public, scrolling on social media or are hard of hearing, captions are a great tool to use. This can be a time-consuming process if you’re unsure – but luckily, we’ve broken down creating subtitles and captions for you.
Now your voice over is polished like a pro, you can import it into your video editor and put the elements together!
We hope that you found our guide to recording voice overs helpful, and good luck!
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