Let’s say you want to record a voice over through the DIY route, because of either budget or company policies. A DIY voice over means you likely aren’t hiring a professional but using an internal voice over from a team member instead, probably someone who has no experience recording a voice over.
The problem is they don’t know what to do. And you, their teammate, don’t know either, potentially compromising the quality of your voice over.
To direct your internal voice over talent toward a successful project, you need to give your inexperienced actors precise instructions to connect emotionally with your listeners while also making them comfortable in this new role.
Prepare the recording details
Ideally, you’ll be able to direct your internal voice over talent in a recording studio together, but that might not be possible for a number of reasons. Whether you’re preparing your colleague via email, providing live stream moral support, or standing next to them in the recording booth there are several factors to consider.
If you can’t control the recording environment in person, you’ll need to make sure your voice actor has a decent microphone, a quiet recording space, and proper microphone placement.
Here’s an internal Vyond video we share with our employees before they record a voice over on their own.
Ensure your colleague understands your target audience
To record lines in a tone and style of voice that attracts your target audience, it’s crucial to study your future listener. Otherwise, you risk recording a voice over your listeners can’t relate to or won’t enjoy.
First, determine what your colleague already knows about the audience and then share more information with them, like the reasons why prospects reach out to your brand or how employees feel about your current training videos.
After your colleague understands the viewers’ emotions, they can incorporate them into the project, making it more relatable. For example, instead of reading a line in their regular voice style, your new voice over talent can make their voice sound frustrated during a scene they know would stress your customers.
Help them prepare their voice
Your internal voice over artist may be uncomfortable recording a voice over because they’re not a professional. Their initial instinct when recording may be stiff or formal and they’re unlikely to know how to prepare their voice ahead of time.
Warm-ups are one way to help them feel more at ease while recording. Before your recording day, gather challenging tongue twisters. Then, tell your colleague to practice them. When you rehearse tricky sentences like tongue twisters, says voice actor Rio Rocket, the sentences from your script will be a cakewalk.
Instructing your colleague to drink water and get enough sleep will also improve their sound. Here are some simple tips to improve voice over skills without formal voice training.
Share tricks to nail the right tone
You probably have a clear idea of the right tone for your video’s voice over, but describing that tone to others is challenging since emotions are abstract. Instead of giving vague instructions—think, “can you sound happier?”—try these tricks to help your colleague express the tone you want.
Tell them to imagine they are talking to a friend
Susan Glow, Manager of the Award-Winning Voice Over Talent known as the Glow Girls, recommends having your colleague envision talking to a friend so the recording sounds conversational.
When focusing on an audience as we speak, we can sound unnatural because the “audience” is not a person you know. As a result, it’s common to incorporate voice traits we think these people like, such as sounding posh or like a millennial. But since you are forcing these traits into your speech, your voice ends up sounding unappealing.
In contrast, our voice tone sounds more natural when we focus on a friend. Consequently, the voice over sounds like a conversation, which she says is usually better received in today’s world.
Share examples of other voice actors expressing different emotions
People define emotions differently. For example, your colleague might define a lazy voice as informal and fast, but you might define a lazy voice as one that’s slow. To ensure your colleagues perform the line how you want, share examples of voice actors conveying these emotions.
Examples remove the subjectiveness from vague directives like “act like a veteran lawyer” or “sound like an unusually intelligent ten-year-old,” allowing your colleague to listen to the voice tone and style they need to follow during the recording. So instead of saying “sound lazy,” tell them to speak slowly as a way of sounding lazy while showing your colleague examples of voice actors displaying laziness.
To find what you need, it might be best to search through popular animated TV shows or act the lines yourself. The Vyond template library and this post with 7 industry-leading voice over examples will also help you find useful examples.
Direct your internal voice over talent to smile while recording
Speaking with a smile can add warmth to your voice.
For example, say, “there’s a snake in my boot,” in two ways. First, while slightly opening your mouth, like if you were experiencing extreme boredom. Then, with a complete smile, like when greeting your dog. You’ll find the smile-full version will sound warmer, while the “bored” version tends to sound lifeless.
Besides adding warmth to your colleague’s voice, smiles also modify how your audience perceives your character. For instance, if you are recording for a young audience, says voice over coach Marc Cashman, you’ll need to smile more than if you were recording for an older audience.
Make their first recording a one-take
Your colleagues are likely the most anxious during the first take. Help them get the jitters out by recording a rough first take of the entire script.
When you let your colleagues record without pauses, you allow the entire team, says Glow, to understand the timing between lines and sections that might need rephrasing or changes in the pace. You might get lucky, and this first take might end up being the best. But if there’s room for improvement, she says, go back to each section or line and record each several times until you get the best one.
Regardless of the first take’s quality, praise your colleague’s bravery for recording in one take without previous voice over experience, alongside any particular line you found great. These compliments motivate them to give their best during the rest of the session.
Pay attention to their diction
Listeners won’t understand your colleague’s voice over if the diction is unclear, prompting them to leave before the end or falsely interpret your video’s messaging. Direct your internal voice over talent with enunciation tips to avoid this scenario.
Give your colleague a copy of your script so they can rehearse it before recording. Besides getting used to your stories’ pacing, they may spot words they don’t know how to pronounce, which you can later clarify.
Additionally, tell your colleague to slow down and articulate each word clearly. Because of the slow pace, it’s harder to skip words than if they spoke at their regular speed. Once they grasp each word, resume the project by telling them to record based on the script’s guidelines.
Highlight what they are doing right
Because your colleague isn’t a professional, they may feel overwhelmed or discouraged recording their first voice over. These feelings are likely to lead to stress, affecting their performance.
Therefore, to ensure they enjoy the project, give your colleague positive feedback throughout the recording. Highlight what they are doing right, for example, by praising an emotion-driven line they just performed, so they enjoy performing instead of constantly wishing to go back to their regular tasks.
Direct your internal voice over talent for the best results
Share these tips with your internal voice actors before and during your next voice over session. This expert-backed advice will help them improve their skills and give you a high-quality end result.
In Vyond, an intuitive cloud-based animation software, anyone can create stories aligned with their brand or ideas. Our platform also lets you add voice overs to communicate with your viewer at a pace, tone, and style you like. See where your creativity can take you with a free 14-day trial of Vyond.
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