When it comes to creating a video, there are lots of steps that need to be followed in detail. What’s more, they all have to be original, creative and tailored to the video – from the script, which has to present all the relevant information as engagingly as possible, to the storyboard and illustrations, which have to be brimming with ideas, all the way to the final animation, which simply has to be perfect. There are many other steps contained within the whole process, such as the initial choice of the graphic style or that final “touch” in the form of the choice of music and professional sound design. However, there is one more step that must not be neglected – the selection of the voice actor. The illustrations may be elaborate and the animation flawless, but if the video is disrupted by an unsuitable voice, the whole project loses its emotion and, in short, cannot work.
But how do you go about choosing the right voice for the video? How do you wade through the vast array of options? How do you avoid crossing that thin imaginary line between professionalism and monotonicity? How can you emphasise the emotion of the video and highlight its message?
Here, you can find 6 tips on how to ensure you always select the right option when choosing your voiceover.
1. Consider the brand identity
There are lots of voices on the market. In fact, there’s an infinite number of options. Before you dive headfirst into voice samples, try writing down a few criteria that an ideal voice should meet. What feelings should it evoke in the viewer? Who is the target audience? Should it be a strong, deep masculine voice that oozes respect and wisdom or a soft feminine voice that intoxicates with love and tenderness? Or could it be a young voice that is inherently cheerful, humorous and feels natural. The feeling you want to evoke comes directly from the nature and identity of your brand – just take a moment to think about it and you will be able to significantly narrow down the range of possibilities.
The budget can’t be overlooked. Even if it doesn’t exactly define what type of voice to choose, it’s a very important item that can shuffle the cards considerably. Why? Because voice actors’ rates are directly related to their expertise and years of experience. And don’t forget the licences and rights that are added to the rates of voiceovers. In short, a voiceover for TV will be noticeably more expensive than a voiceover used on social media, and a recording from a novice voiceover artist will have a lower price tag than a recording from an actor with a lot of projects in their portfolio.
While this category may also fall under the first point, it deserves a little more independent thought. Whether a voiceover is recorded by a man or a woman is a pretty fundamental decision, closely tied to the brand, or at least with the product or service that is the subject of the video. Sometimes the decision is simple. A promotional video for a women’s makeup store won’t be dubbed with a strong male voice, and conversely, a promotional video for men’s aftershave cosmetics won’t be accompanied by a soft female one. But the choice is not always clear. There are industries like finance or healthcare that are neutral and the choice of voice is a matter for a longer discussion.
Sometimes it’s very pronounced, sometimes it’s difficult to understand and other times it’s neutral. Accents can vary in a hundred different ways. A strong one will be very useful if the video is only aimed at a local group of people. This voiceover can resonate beautifully with them and generate more understanding and support, which will be a guaranteed benefit. However, if you’re aiming at a national or even international market, that unique accent from a local probably won’t be of much benefit and you will need to keep it neutral.
5. Speed and tone
After considering all the previous points, you should already have a select few on your shortlist. The speed and tone at which you want the video to be recorded is largely up to you. If the voice actor is really experienced, he or she will be able to advise you very easily. However, you most likely already have your own vision and idea. This means you can translate your expectations into instructions that will help the voice actor record a flawless voiceover.
6. Voice samples
You can listen to as many voice samples as possible at any stage of the process. However, some of the steps above will help you narrow down the range of where to look. Imagine facing those endless minutes of recordings – it will be much easier to at least set some criteria and then get listening. Not to mention that you’ll often find a compilation of different recordings in each sample, so you’ll hear the voice in all sorts of different positions. Ah, that’s even more possibilities. I guess it’s time to dig in and track down the right voice.