This is designed to give you some easy to follow steps to think about in ascertaining the type of voice you need to fit your target market if you are considering adding a voice over to your video. This is irrespective of whether you are intending to use a professional voice over artist, or your own company representative…
1 . Keep your audio message simple
The trick with your corporate video is to keep your audio message simple; 3 main points should do it. People are more likely to remember them. Nothing new there, but always worth mentioning, as the easiest thing to do is to try and cram everything we possibly want to achieve in the one session – if this has happened to you, don’t worry, it’s completely normal! Think of it just as you would a presentation that you’ve written to lecture/present and then realise you’ve only got 10 minutes and not the 20 minutes you were expecting – we’ve all been there!
2. Make your text sound right
When writing your script, remember that this will be voiced, not read. How will it sound? Read it through aloud first. Try to avoid too many plosives ‘p’ ‘b’ sounds in one clump as this can be clumsy for the voiceover or whoever is speaking it, and jarring to the listener. Whilst most voice overs are trained and experienced to overcome these, they can still sound clumsy if there are too many in a row! If you are doing the voice over yourselves, then just give this some thought.
Keep the sentences reasonably short. Basically, use good grammar. This makes the piece flow more readily. If you’re uncomfortable about this, either your video producer or voice over artist can help you edit it.
3. Match the text to the video in the right order!
You’ll be surprised the number of pieces I’ve been given to voice at the outset that don’t match the visual and have to go back to the drawing board! Sometimes this is because the person putting the video together is not writing the script and never the Twain shall meet – so do ensure communication between the two to enable both visual and audio content matches.
Checking this beforehand can save you time and money, particularly if using the services of a voice over artist; they are likely to charge for a re-take if it relates to a script change. Aside from this, I personally offer re-takes/tweaks to my own completed voice over work completely free of charge to make sure you are totally happy, within reason of course!
Make sure that there is enough time to voice the text in relation to the video. This also depends on the pace/speed at which you would like the voice over read.
4. How to select the voice for your project
In my article How to improve voice production in your company’s internet video we acknowledged that the sound and tone of the voice is greater than the actual content of the words used – 38% sound compared to 7% words. The greatest impact of course is the visual aspect of your video! Even so, at 38% we cannot underestimate the power of using the right voice. If you can get the right sound as well as the visual, this gives you a whopping great 93% impact, even without factoring in the content of the words you use!
One of my clients, Jay Blake of Ichthus Video , in his blog post Project Planning – Who is going to be watching that video? looked at establishing your target audience when creating your corporate or website video.
Once you’ve decided on your target audience, try to find a voice who has the type of vocal qualities you think will convey your message that will appeal to them. It can work really well if they have not only the vocal skills to carry it through, but have the right type of voice for the piece.
Think about this..who or what are you trying to appeal to?:
- Age group?
- Personality types?
- Corporate or domestic?
- Independent, singles?
- To engender trust?
- To enhance credibility?
Then there’s vocal style to consider. Are you aiming for:
Conversational/real/down to earth?
Full of testosterone alpha male?
It can of course be a combination of any of these!
Is there an urgency to the message – is it time-limited -a sale or promotion for instance? – do you want to up the energy to get people’s attention, or the complete opposite – is it a service or product that is designed to induce relaxation/de-stress which might perhaps warrant a smooth, relaxing, chilled out tone to it? If it has an extreme of pace then remember to check this fits with your video!
5. Consider post-production at the outset
Who will be adding the voice over to the video? This can either be your video production company or, if you are doing this in-house, it is invariably your IT specialist. Alternatively for example, as a voice over artist with my own studio, I have been known to save either party a bit of time by matching the voice over to the client’s video if required and the video is available, although not all voice over artists offer this service.
Do you want music added in the background? If so, what style? Your video producer should be able to advise you and give you some options. This can improve the flow of the piece. Royalty free music can be acquired through either your video production company, or your voice over artist, no problem.
Your video producer should check with you as to the kind of quality of sound you are looking to achieve on your video. The visual of course makes the greatest impact; however, audio comes a reasonable second behind it and so this is important too. For example, are you looking for a bright, clean sound, or something warmer, richer? These effects can generally be achieved, just ask them! Don’t under-estimate the importance of getting the sound mix right – it adds professional polish to the rest of your video, and particularly for auditory learning folk, as they in particular will notice this.
- Keep your message simple
- Make your text sound right
- Match the text to the video and in the right order!
- Selecting the right voice for your target market
- Consider post-production details to add that final professional polish