With projects that include everything from e-learning courses to corporate videos, voice over narration is hot. What’s not so hot, however, is the lineup of mistakes some clients make when creating a voice over narration project. Voice over narration involves using an off-camera narrator to provide information or commentary on what’s happening on the screen. While the concept is fairly straightforward, there are a handful of ways it can go wrong. Check out the biggest voice over narration mistakes I’ve seen during my 22+ years in the industry.
Trying to DIY
Some clients may feel voice over narration can’t be all that difficult. After all, the person speaking doesn’t even have to appear on camera. All the narrator has to do is say a few words and it’s done, right?
While that could be the case if the company just so happens to have the proper production equipment and experience, it’s usually not. A DIY voice over narration project typically sounds, well, like a company tried to do it themselves. The audio settings and timing may be off. Editing may be choppy or nonexistent. The file may not even be in the proper format for use with the overall project.
Hiring a professional voice over talent comes with professional production assistance, a surefire way to end up with professional results.
Putting Low Cost ahead of High Quality
Trying to cut corners by using your own voice is another faux pas. Even if the receptionist sings in the choir or the CEO gets premium payments for speaking gigs, attempting to save money with an inexperienced narrator can end up costing you big time.
The voice in your project does more than just relay words. It becomes the voice of your company. Those that opt for anything less than a pro may not understand the importance of branding and the first impression using a professional voice over artist can make.
Choosing the Wrong Voice
Even when a client goes with a professional voice over talent, the voice can be totally wrong for the project. Not every professional voice will align with every single project. Annoying voices can be a turn-off for any project, while others may not be suitable for a particular topic or use.
You don’t want a loud, booming voice talking about a delicate or sensitive subject, for instance. A perky, high-pitched voice is probably the wrong choice for a project related to serious matters, while a monotone, flat voice is likely to put your e-learning audience to sleep.
Not Setting the Right Pace
The pace of the narration also needs to match the project at hand. Certain projects, such as medical narration or e-learning, typically require a slightly slower pace to give the audience time to absorb the information. Yet it still needs to be fast enough to retain interest. Pace is an integral component in voice over narration projects, and experienced actors tend to know how fast or slow to go for your target audience.
Using the Wrong Tone
Would you trust a happy, peppy voice that’s explaining a serious medical procedure? Feel like hopping on a plane to a travel destination if it’s being explained by a ho-hum voice? What about enjoying your e-learning experience that’s narrated by a haughty, snarky voice? All three are just a small sample of examples of using the wrong tone.
The tone of voice contributes to the overall mood of the project, and you don’t want one that turns off or offends your audience.
Failing to Ready the Script
Just because a voice over narration script is written doesn’t mean it’s ready for action. Before the script lands in the hands of the voice over artist, it needs a final review. This includes proofreading for copy errors, grammar and potential timing issues. It also includes specifying pronunciations of numbers, unusual proper names, words with more than one pronunciation, and unfamiliar or highly technical words.
Not Providing Proper Direction
While the most experienced professional voice over artists may be able to discern the ideal way to read a script, you still want to make sure her ideas align with your own. For best results, clients need to give proper voice direction as to style, target audience and usage.
A phone patch session can be extremely useful to allow clients to direct voice talent in real time and make 100% certain they get exactly what they want in the final recording. This avoids costly re-records which usually waste time and money for both the client and the voice talent.
To ensure your voice over narration project makes the greatest positive impact on your audience, it’s crucial to avoid the biggest mistakes. And avoiding those mistakes is certainly easier with a professional voice over artist by your side. Contact me for a quote or to request an audition today.