Creating a promotional video is all about telling a story. Whether it's a corporate video or a TV commercial you need to get the desired message across to your audience. One of the best ways to do this and really compliment your visuals is to add a professional voice over. The idea sounds great, now how do you go about getting the perfect voice over?
1. The first step before you even try and hire a professional voice over is to create the script. The client may have a rough draft of what they are looking for. Go over this with them and work with them to see if any improvements can be made. Using a professional copywriter can often work miracles with boring, stale copy. Try and guide the client with a script that will work well with the video that you have in mind. It should be a collaborative procedure.
2. Once the script is approved everyone thinks they should hire the voice over now. Not so fast. Use somebody in-house to create a scratch track. This can be important to find “clunky” sentences and awkward phrasing. Sometimes reading a sentence makes sense in your mind, but when it is read aloud it can sound extremely awkward. Use this process to adjust the script as necessary.
3. Now you have your scratch track working well it is time to look into hiring a professional voice. This is where things can get really stressful. You’ve got a great video and you don’t want to ruin it with a mediocre voice track. Just as in video production, there are many avenues to hire a freelancer. These range from sites like Fiverr to professional Voice Talent agencies and everything in between. I have written a free E-Booklet called 5 tips for voice-seekers that explains all of the options available and is a good resource for all types of budgets for voice over.
4. Once you have hired your professional voice talent, make sure you are clear on the expectations of the quality of audio required. A basic guide is to use the standards required for ACX who provide the voiceovers for Amazon’s Audible. These are: The track should measure between -23dB and -18dB RMS and have -3dB peak values and a maximum -60dB noise floor. 192kbps or higher MP3, Constant Bit Rate (CBR) 16 Bit at 44.1 kHz It should be noted that 48kHz .WAV files may be required for video purposes.
5. Finally, you have the voice file and you lay it over your video with the music bed. You should present this to the client for approval. Be open to hearing that they need some of the phrasing changed or even some last-minute changes to the script. Most professional voice overs will provide minor pick-ups free of charge.
It is important to remember that everyone wants the project to be a success. I know that I am only happy with the voice over track, when the client is happy. I take an enormous amount of satisfaction when seeing the final product and the audio and visuals just blow me away! Now that makes it all worthwhile.
Craig Williams is a professional British Voice Over Actor who works with clients like Amazon, Barclay’s, Rolls Royce and more.