VoiceBox, Part of Wolfestone Group

Providing detailed instructions to both the voice over artist and sound engineer of exactly what you want from your voice over agency is the secret to getting it recorded ‘right first time’.

It’s important that certain elements are specified so that your agency is able to give direction to the voice over artist and that your vision turns out exactly how you want it to.

We’ve compiled a list of the 5 top instructions required by the studio engineer and voice over artist to guarantee that the voice over recorded meets your project requirements.

  1. What do you want the pace of your recording to be?

We need to know the pace of the recording so that it’s in line with the style and mood of the video, and creates the right atmosphere. For example, a fast recording will allow you to have more information in less time and will suit a fast based editing style. A slower pace may create a more relaxed feel. The pace of the voice over also may be crucial if your video is being localised for multilingual output, in which case text expansion/contraction may be a contributing factor for the pace of the recording.

  1. What style and tone of voice do you want?

The style and tone of voice can affect the message of your video.  Usually the type of voice can be one of the following descriptors; confident, authoritative, loud, soft sell, warm, sexy, happy, dry, sophisticated, trendy. All can create a different feel to the video, and it also depends on your audience. If you’re selling a luxury product, you may want the voice to be sophisticated, if you’re trying to build trust from your clients, you may want the voice to be warm. The style and tone of voice can have a huge impact on the emotive effect on the viewer.

  1. Is it ‘timed to picture’?

If the voice over is intended to be multilingual and the original voice over is in English, you may need the new foreign language voice over to be the same duration so that they match a fixed timeline. We call this ‘timed to picture’.The voice over artist will watch the original video and time each sequence of the script to match the English or source version. This approach allows our clients’ editors to use the same visuals of the source language video version and save costs during the post-production phase. ‘Timed to picture’ is normally a cost driven solution as ideally the pace of the recording should match the original video.

There are times when ‘timed to picture’ project will not be a suitable option as the translated script may have expanded outside the limits of being acceptable for use. In these circumstances the VoiceBox translators will need to ‘transcreate’ the scripts to provide a shortened version which will not lose the accuracy of the content or overall message. German, Russian and Italian technical scripts will normally require highly experienced translators/linguists for the transcreation process.

Voice Over: A picture of a man worrying about work

  1. What technical formats do you require?

Make sure your voice over agency is aware of what technical formats you require so they correspond with what you are expecting to output as the finished product. Our Industry standard voice overs are recorded in professional sound proofed studios as uncompressed .wav files, normally sampled at 48 KHz for broadcast video or 41.1Khz for digital quality audio at 24 bit.

  • We can supply our clients with these .wav files or encode to an ever growing number of codecs used for multi-platform distribution including MP3, AIF, WMA, AAC.
  • The same technical formats and options are available for our client’s video requirements and we can receive or supply all popular formats including   DVD, MP4, MOV, AVI, WMV.
  1. Are there any specific pronunciation requirements for the recording? 

Getting the pronunciation of your brand, trademarks, places, people names and acronyms correct is essential for a client’s project requirements.  We like to receive specific guidance on how to correctly pronounce the brand names and any other pronunciation which need to be communicated to the voice over artist prior to recording.

An example when recording multilingual projects would be an English brand name such as ‘VoiceBox’ would need to sound exactly the same in all languages for consistency.  We have in-house linguists who can advise you on how to ensure global and marketing campaigns are consistent for your client’s communication needs.

Another important aspect is how to voice acronyms.  An example would be the BBC, do you want it pronounced ‘BBC’ or the ‘British Broadcasting Company’.  Trademarks and processes are often voiced in English on all foreign language videos, especially if the client is an English or American company.

Don’t forget! If the client decides the pronunciation is incorrect after the recording has been produced, extra charges will be required to cover the re-recording costs.

We hope you have found these top 5 essential instructions useful and if you have any questions regarding the voice-over process and recording, you can always contact us.

Over to you, have you ever seen a ‘brand blunder’ on a multilingual voice over?