We all need a holiday don't we? Of course I hear you say and some say that it's not good to work when on holiday as you don't get enough down time to actually benefit from the holiday. That is true to some extent but as a dedicated voice over artist I think it is always a good idea to take along a few bits of equipment to record with just in case. In case of what I hear you say? Well, there might be an audition that is just right to submit for or a job might come your way that you could not afford to refuse. So I think it makes sense in my opinion to always be ready for being able to record a high quality audio file. Maybe in a few years time I might think differently but please read on to learn about my holiday set up and what I do to deliver great audio and have a happy holiday recording time.
The most important thing to consider when recording away from your studio is to find a quiet place to record in. I suppose that sounds obvious but it can be hard to find somewhere. No good if there is traffic noise outside or children playing (not that I don't dislike children playing it's just that their screams of delight can be picked up by the microphone and another take has to be made.) Also, you might find yourself working next to a refrigerator. Turn it off. It won't hurt for a few hours. Air conditioning? Switch it all off when you are ready to record.
Next, build a booth. A sound treated booth. Although it doesn't look great, it works brilliantly at soaking up sound reflections which you don't want going down the microphone.
Here's what I do:-
I place two chairs on their side and position in a V-shape on a table, then I find cushions ( a sun lounger cushion works great) and I place inside the chairs. I find a broom handle or something long and sturdy and place that over the v-shaped cushions and drape a duvet over the top. Inside the new V-shaped den I place my microphone inside my IsoCube Microphone Isolator, pop it on a table mic stand, plug into my Scarlet 2i2 audio interface and plug into my laptop. If it is very hot, I place the laptop on two chopping boards with an ice pack in the middle to cool the fan's so that they do not come on during the recording. This has worked brilliantly. Then, when I am ready to hit the record button I cocoon myself under another duvet behind and over me which is supported by the broom handle. Although it doesn't look great, ( this depends on how pretty your duvets are or course) it works brilliantly at soaking up sound reflections which you don't want going down the microphone.
Lastly, you need internet access which can be purchased online before you go away.
Bobs your Uncle and you're good to go. Just be careful not to move too much under the duvet and in between takes you can take the duvet down allowing for some fresh air! It's a little cosy under there but it works and your sound is amazing. No one will ever know!
If you're considering marketing your business, you've probably thought about branding and what your brand voice is? You would have thought about different adjectives to describe your business? And you might be considering how you'd like your business to come across? Have you thought about the core values of your business? And if you were to use a voice artist to voice your marketing adverts, or e-learning courses for example, have you thought about the type of voice you would use? It's something important to consider because choosing the right voice for your business is crucial when it comes to marketing because you would want to create the right impression and reach the right people with your marketing efforts and your voice artist will be the emotional connection between you and your customers.
The Tone - Formal vs Informal
As a trained voice actor (training with top professionals) and having studied different accents, dialects and characters I am versatile in producing reads in a variety of ways. So if the tone does not quite seem right then I would be able to offer alternatives. For example, your business may have the brand voice of quality and luxury and therefore I would deliver my lines using the warm deep tones in my voice by lowering my pitch and using my chest voice. I would speak with perfect diction using received pronunciation or RP and just a hint of a smile or two to colour each word.
However, you might want to appeal to a wider audience and create a more casual tone. The girl next door type appealing to a younger generation. For this I would liven my voice up and use the middle to upper register of my voice, perhaps a local dialect could be chosen and a less pronounced, more relaxed articulation of each word would be used to appeal to a younger generation. The varieties and ways to deliver lines are endless and I am always happy to produce alternative reads because I believe that people buy from people that they can relate to and therefore, it is important to get the tone of the read just right.
Behind the Lines
It is not just a question of speaking lines. A voice over artist is trained to communicate those lines to speak directly to the listener, evoking an emotion in the listener so that the message reaches the heart and arouses a response. They get behind the script, connect with the script and demand that the listener makes that response, goes out and buys your product for example, or pledges a monthly direct debit to a certain cause. Its the way they 'tell 'em' that is important here.
Free Script Read
So when it comes to choosing a voice for your brand, you would want to hear a sample of what your voice artist could do for you so that you are sure they can deliver in the style most suitable to represent the brand of your company. I am all for voicing your script for you for free so that you can really take your time to decide if my voice exceeds all expectations and is the right one to represent your brand. With your free audio sample, you would then be able to take your time to discuss with your colleagues if my voice is right for you.
Your business brand and the way that you present your company is just as important to me as it is to you and therefore if my voice is not suitable and does not suit your brand and its core values, I would be more than happy to suggest and recommend another excellent voice artist. Everyone has a voice that is unique, a voice 'stamp' as it were. I hope you will be very happy choosing my voice and the many colours and timbres it can present and I will be delighted to record for you from my fully equipped, top notch home studio where I spend my days with my dog by my feet. He is very quiet, I have trained him well!
Do you have an e-learning project and are looking to hire a voice artist? Need to know how much to budget for this? Are you wondering if the cost of having a voice over artist for your e-learning would be worth the added costs? And can a voice over make your e-learning more effective anyway?
Reasons for Hiring a Voice Over Artist
If you are wondering if a voice can be more effective for your e-learning course then consider the following. Studies have proved that including voice over in your training materials reduces the cognitive load on your learners allowing them to focus more of their attention on the message itself. Producing an e-learning course with a professional voice over artist is extremely beneficial. Let’s be honest, nobody really wants to sit and scroll through 2,000 words of health and safety training on a mobile device. It's no fun! The text is tiny and it’s hard to read. Using voice over will make for a far more comfortable experience, especially for learners on the go.
Do you have drivers or staff who travel a lot? This could be the ideal way to deliver your internal communications to staff who aren’t office based. Adding voice over to your explainers makes the content far more accessible to your audience who might struggle with text and it provides another channel for them to absorb all of that crucial info. One only has to look at the use of radio and podcasting to know how popular and easy this way of taking in information and retaining it has become.
Also another reason to use a voice over artist in your e- learning project is that it provides your learners with that human connection and might help the learning feel more genuine. In today’s struggle to keep learners engaged you should be employing every tool to help them stay focused. You could even help deliver your next learning module by Podcast? There would be no need to be sat at a computer and it would give your learners the freedom to choose a comfortable and convenient time to take part.
So here are the top 5 reasons you should use a professional voice over artist in your e-learning course:-
What goes into the finished audio
So now that I have persuaded you into saying yes to the use of a voice, what would you expect to pay for one? And what goes into creating your finished audio file?
When asking for a price for your project, most voice artist will quote by the finished word, per finished minute or per finished hour. By finished means that the audio will have been cleaned from extraneous mouth noises and background noise. Extraneous mouth clicks are picked up by the microphone when recording and these have to be edited away which is time consuming. If you have an hours worth of script then editing that script would typically take another 2 hours to clean. It really is very time consuming.
Another aspect of work which goes into finishing your script is compressing and normalizing the audio. This ensures that the volume and quality of the voice is maximised and it takes skill and patience to achieve this from RAW audio. A compressed file lessons the dynamic range between the loudest and quietest parts of the audio signal. The quieter audio troughs are boosted and the louder signals are lessened. Then when it is normalized the squashed audio file is made louder. This is an important step in producing finished audio. It is a process which takes time but is crucial to creating a professional sound to the voice.
Lastly another facet of finishing the audio would be to edit the breaths. Some engineers would take out the breaths completely and some would soften them. I personally like to soften the breaths so that the audio sounds as natural as possible without the breaths being prominent. However, editing each breath takes time and a certain amount of skill and patience is involved in this but the end result is worth it and creates a professional audio file that anyone would be proud of.
So this is what is meant when the audio is describe as being finished. It will have been processed so that it is ready to be used directly into your programme and can be delivered either as a WAV or mp3 file. Or any format that the client may wish.
Pricing for E-Learning
So how much would a finished audio cost for an e-learning project? There are a few resources that voice over artists refer to, in order to give you an accurate quote for your project. “Gravy for the Brain” (a world class resource for voice over artists) is one of them and offers a rate guide that is considered to be industry standard. You will find that a lot of voice actors will refer to it in order to give a price that is fair. You could expect to pay anywhere between 15p per word to about 60p per word with the higher end being for more complex medical narration. This is due to the words in medical narration being far more complex and more challenging to pronounce and therefore it would be charged at a higher rate.
E-Learning scripts that are usually charged per-scripted-word may often have a minimum fee that is included (e.g £150 to make small jobs worthwhile) Some voice artists use a sliding scale, e.g. 0- 1000 words = £0.60 per word, 1001-2000 words = £0.40 per word, so this is something to bear in mind.
I hope this article gives you an idea of what to expect to pay for your e-learning scripts so that you can budget accordingly. Having a professional voice actor for your e-learning project really is a solid investment. It is quite possibly one of the best insurance policies that you can have for your e-learning because you want to make sure your audience is listening and you want to make sure that they are engaging in your course. Hiring a professional voice over artist is the best path to follow. Cutting corners at this stage by using Eric from your accounts team recording into his phone would leave your listeners bored to tears and throwing paper aeroplanes around because it didn't sound great and nobody wanted to listen to it. Your hard work creating the course would be futile if you didn't invest properly at this stage. So be confident about hiring a professional.
If you would like me to record your next e-learning project for you I would be delighted as it is an area that I specialize in. Please reach out to me and I will be happy to give you a quote based on the rate guide quoted above. If there are more than one e-learning scripts then I am always happy to offer a discount and offer a buy three get one free offer! I can also send you a sample of your script for free so that you can be confident my voice is right for your project. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I promise there will be no paper aeroplanes flying over you!
Look at how engaged this young girl is here in her work. She is likely listening to a professional voice over artist delivering a great e-learning module. No paper aeroplanes there!
You may be wondering why you should use a Voice Over for your business and if you need a real voice and not a computer voice? Isn’t a computer AI voice just as good? Well I don't think so and here is why...
It would be vital that you would want your customers to relate to your service, product or training video and also quickly recognize that it is you or your company's brand. So whether it’s a radio commercial, TV commercial, eLearning or Explainer video, a professional human Voice Over can...
* deliver your message quickly and clearly.
* communicate emotion and feeling. It can touch the heart of the listener.
* reach millions of listeners and move them to take action.
* persuade your listeners to take action quicker.
* inform your listeners quickly without the use of video.
* Connect with the audience on a subliminal level.
A real Voice Over is great to listen to. It can have a calming effect, a stirring effect, a soothing effect. Since it’s from a human, its message reaches the heart. A computer voice (although pretty sophisticated these days) can not relate emotion. Its voice is soul-less. Cold and clinical. There is something about it that leaves its listeners feeling cold.
It is also important when it comes to marketing your business therefore, to have a human voice and also the same human Voice Over for all of your videos or commercials. The same voice used throughout becomes the voice that is easily recognized to represent your brand and it will help to drive up your sales and increase productivity. Recent studies have proven that people are able to remember words better when they are spoken by a voice that is familiar to them. So choosing the right voice over artist is crucial and you would want to use one that has been professionally trained to deliver your message the way you want it delivered. A trained voice over artist can do this. They have spent time and money perfecting their art.
Male vs Female?
So which voice would you choose? A male or a female? and does it really matter which?
According to a recent study by Harris International a female voice is more likely to come across as being more trustworthy, soothing and calming than a male voice and therefore is the more preferred choice to have as a voice over. The female voice is perceived as more emotional and intimate. Studies have shown that the human brain has evolved to trust high-pitched voices more than lower-pitched ones. That is not to say that you should not choose a male voice. A male voice comes across as being more authoritative. So it is an important point to consider when you are thinking of choosing the right voice.
One of the most important points to remember about using a professional voice over is that the trained voice artist will instinctively know how to target your audience with their voice. Adapting and using different tones in their voice they are able to engage your listener, giving your video a personality that is relatable and keeps listeners interested. Interestingly the most crucial aspect of your e-learning video or explainer video is the voiceover. It is the part that cements the whole presentation together and adds an air of professionalism with a human touch.
Voice in Social Media
Businesses are using video now more than ever in their marketing strategies to reach their target audience. With the increasing number of sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Tik tok, Instagram, You Tube, etc., it is now the norm now to advertise on these platforms. It is easy to upload video to them and they are accessible and affordable. But not everyone has the time to watch these videos which is why adding a voice to the video is all the more important because your message can be communicated while your listener is actively doing something else.
Passion in Communication
Also hearing a voice that is engaging and emotive touches the heart of the listener far more effectively than the use of visuals. For example listening to the radio, the listener does not have to be actively watching the screen to understand the message and identify your business brand. One of the reasons why Radio has been so successful is that the listener just has to listen and upon hearing a human voice the message immediately transports directly to the heart of the listener. It's the human touch here which is important. So hire a human!
If you have a story to tell or a product to sell and you need a voice then I would be delighted to send you a free demo of your script. Having spent 11 years working as an actress after training at Drama Studio London and continually training with Gravy for the Brain I am well placed to bring your story to life the way you want it.
Do get in touch today to order a free voice sample to see how your story will sound. It's more affordable than you think.
This article was respectfully submitted by Sarah Jackson and her team!
In this article you'll learn about what a voice over artist needs from a client.
From the very start of your job as a producer, it is important to plan everything before jumping straight into action. This includes finding a skilled and reliable voice over artist for your videos or commercials. You may want to hear samples of work that they have previously done and also look at the training that they have undertaken to know that you are getting a quality voice over service. The following section will help you understand what the artist needs in order to get started.
A vast amount of work is underdone by the voice artist, so let us determine what information they require to get started.
The following information would be useful for the voice artist to have.
It's important that the voice over artist has a script from which to work with. If you already have one, great! If you don't, please do get in touch and I will be happy to help you. Alternatively there are many online free script writing tools to assist you.
Include in the script the pitch and pace of the read. This is very useful for the voice over artist to know. The pitch of your voice over depends on how high or low you'd like it to be. The higher pitches are very clear and also a bit faster. This could work if you're selling something very fast paced. The lower pitches are slower, and they are great for narrating something very serious or romantic.
You can send the pitch to your voice over artist when you send them the script, but it's ok if you don't know what pitch to set just yet!
It might be a good idea to record a video of yourself reading the script and then pitching it up or down until you find a sound that fits your brand. You can then send this video to the voice over artist along with the script.
You may wish for your voice over to have background music. Music has a significant impact on the tone of an audio clip and therefore it is important to have the right kind of music and important for the voice artist to know what sort of music you intend to use as they will be able to match the pace and tone of their delivery to the music. If you have an idea of what sort of music to use, do let your voice artist know and if you do not have music, talk to your voice over artist as they would be happy to source the music for you to create the right atmosphere and tonal background for your voice over.
Script length in minutes and seconds...
The next thing that you should do is state how long your script is. Find out how many words there are in total and what their average length should be. It would be a good idea to time yourself reading your script and also have a good idea how long you intend the script to be. be. Let your voice over artist know how long they have to read the copy in terms of minutes and seconds. Once your voice over artist has these details, they can start to work on it right away.
Describe the type of delivery.
To give your voice over artist an idea of what you want to convey with your video or commercial, you can choose a few adjectives to describe it. It's very important that you choose the right adjectives because they will help your voice over artists immeasurably. Is it upbeat or relaxed and casual, serious or conversational and witty?
For example, a commercial about coffee could contain words like "bold", "direct", and "strong". A commercial about chocolate could contain words like, "smooth", "soft", "gentle". Try to give your voice actor some direction but just enough otherwise it can be confusing for the voice artist and if you are unsure about what you would like, try a few different ways and the voice over artist would be able to deliver the lines differently so you can choose what you like best.
Accurate pronunciation of names, places, technical words & brand names.
Additionally the voice over artist would appreciate the correct pronunciation of names and places, technical words and brand names. It is a simple message but it will help you and your voice over artist work together to get the perfect product. Creative video projects often feature a lot of new, fancy or technical words that make the viewer think "Wow, I'm going to remember this!" And in most cases, they do. So when your voice over artist reads these words out loud, it needs to sound natural and not forced. This is important because it will make the video more dynamic for your target audience to watch. Giving the voice over artist an accurate read of any technical words, names or places would be most helpful.
Characters for animation.
When I work on creating a character for an animation, for example, I find out as much information as possible about the character. Their age, profession and build. (Heavy, thin, strong, weak or feeble). Their class status and dialect or accent. Any information you can give to your voice over artist is invaluable. For example, I voiced a "grandma" character for an animation. One of the descriptions about the character included the fact that grandma wore dentures! This was a valuable piece of information and allowed me to bring that character to life the way the client wanted. It also enabled me to voice in a way I had never done so before. You could give it a go and try voicing with pretend dentures to see the effect! Give your voice-over artist as much information as you can so he or she may bring your character to life.
It also might be a great idea to ring your voice over artist and talk to them on the phone about your project. This will allow you to form a connection with them and it is easier to explain what kind of voice or tone you need for your product if you can actually hear the person's voice.
A directed recording session.
It is possible nowadays to be present in the recording session via audio platforms such as zoom or skype, cleanfeed of source connect. Let your voice over artist know that you would like to direct them live and dial into their studio and most would be happy to arrange this for you. There might possibly be an extra charge for this but it would be worth the extra cost as it might save you a lot of time since you will receive exactly what you want during one session.
How will the audio be used?
The voiceover artist needs to know how the audio will be used in order to price the job correctly. A corporate video that only internal employees may see will be charged differently to that of a TV commercial that will be seen by millions of individuals. Make sure you include as much information as possible, such as which platforms a video will be played on, how long you want the audio to run for and how large you intend the audience to be. The voice over artist will ensure that the price for your voice over is correct from the start in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises regarding usage of the audio you didn't disclose up front.
Once the voice artist has recorded your script and sent it to you, it would be most helpful for you to give them feedback on their first draft as soon as possible, otherwise it might take a little longer until they can submit a finished product. They will also value your opinion a lot!You could say for example: "I think you captured the mood of the commercial perfectly! I'm really happy with your voice over and can't wait for the final version. Thank you!"
Or if you're not satisfied, then do say so and the voice over artist would be happy to give you an alternative read. You could say for example, "I honestly think that the casual tone of the commercial is too slow for a coffee commercial that's meant to be energetic and modern. Please can you give me an alternative read with more energy?." And the voice over artist would be happy to do this. They will only be happy when you are completely happy with your finished audio.
You can add the deliverables to the script. Deliverables are the file type you would like your voice over artist to deliver back to you.
Most audio is delivered as an mp3 file or a WAV file, however, you may want a smaller file such as an aiff. file. You may want the files RAW or compressed and normalised. If you are not sure what type of file you need then have a chat with your voice over artist who would be happy to help explain the differences. Your voice over artist may be extremely good at editing audio and would be happy to deliver your voice over in your chosen format, however, you may have your own sound engineer to do this for you so it would be best to let your voice over artist know what sort of files you would like delivered. Almost always all audio is cleaned and corrected of any mistakes before it is sent out.
And Lastly - Have fun!
After all, you have hired a voice over artist because they have the exact skills that you need for your project. So have a little chat with them and share some laughs. Allow your voice over artist to give you a friendly, professional service and by giving your voice over artist the correct information to begin with will allow him or her to deliver exactly what you need for your project. And then you can just sit back and enjoy it!
If you would like to know how I can deliver your voice over, let me record your script for free. Call me today on 07967 662886. Grandma voices with dentures are a speciality!!
The phone rings... what do you do? Answer it of course, but what if you are not there? Do you leave it to transfer to your answer phone message? And what if you don't have an answer phone message? Well, if you have a business, with no voice messaging system, you could loose your customers if you're not there to pick up the phone. And if you were the client ringing, could you imagine the frustration of having no one to answer your call? You would be certain never to ring that business again!
Whatever line of work you are in, your business cannot afford not to have a professional voice mail service on your phone system. A friendly voice message that answers promptly and professionally, directs the caller to the right department, or informs your client of the latest deals or offers and changes to opening hours is key to your business success and plays crucial role. The voice you choose for your phone system becomes part of your company's brand. A trustworthy calming voice that takes your client on a journey of positivity and understanding.
So.. is it necessary to have a professional voice message?
It's the first impression that potential customers will receive of your business. Callers instantly form an opinion of your business based on the voice that they hear. What message about your brand will they hear? The way the message is delivered to your client is important. Is your greeting informative, professional sounding and consistent with your brand? If not, you could be sending potential clients to your competition.
Maintain your Brand.
The sound of your brand is equally as important as its look. You work hard on your brand colours and logos, etc. and they reveal to your clients how you want them to feel when considering your products or services. So, of course, is the voice and music on your phone system. You can continue to project your brand identity directly where customers experience it – in their ear!
Increase sales with an on-hold message.
According to a national study published by The North American Telecommunications Association 90% of callers hang-up in less than one minute with silence while they are kept on hold and the survey found that when callers were presented with On Hold Messaging verses silence or a radio commercial they would stay on hold longer and were more likely to exhibit interest in the product advertised. They were also more likely to retain information and were less agitated. Callers stayed on the line up to 25% longer when provided with on hold messages verses silence or even background music. When you consider that a single recorded message could drum up more business for you, it just doesn’t make sense to not leverage this quality time with your customer.
Professional recordings vs your secretary or office temp?
It is tempting to record yourself, or ask your office temp who has a nice voice. But would you have the right recording space in which to record in? Without the right recording space your audio would have lots of reverb. It would of course be cheaper, right? but remember you are presenting your business to potential customers. A professional voice over artist would not only sound better, have the perfect recording space and the right tone of voice to advertise your business, they would also be contactable at any time should you need the message updating. Your office temp on the other hand would have moved on and you would have to record a different voice thus breaking up the continuity of your brand. Using a professional voice artist means knowing that you’ll have access to the same talent for future needs.
Who has legal rights to the recording?
For example, say the employee who created the voice recordings later quits or is terminated. Who has the legal rights to those recordings? The ex-employee could cause legal issues for the company without some kind of concrete contract. You may have to remove them. Such legal issues could be avoided with professional voice recordings done by a third party.
Make your phone message leave a lasting impression.
Callers have noted that a high-quality telephone greeting shows that the business they’re calling is reputable, stable and professional. This sets the right tone for customer interactions, adding credibility and hopefully increase sales. You don’t have the advantage of a personal, face-to-face interaction, so it’s even more important to deliver a super-efficient, brand-consistent, customer-oriented brand image.
So what tone should your Phone Message convey?
Let’s not overlook the personality that your phone system conveys. The business messaging program draws prospects in, builds trust, and participates in the sales conversion process. Your branding, including your phone message, should convey the same professional quality and attention to detail.
A professional voice over recording cannot be overstated. It will project to your callers that the way you communicate with them is on point for your brand and that they deserve the highest level of service possible.
There is no getting away from the fact that the sound quality of a professional voice recording is dramatically better than an in house recorded message. Professionally mixed and mastered phone system recordings are optimized for the specifications of business phone systems and this also means no garbled voices, background noises, reverb, or cut off messages. If the voice in the phone message is not engaging and recorded correctly your client would switch off and hang up.
A voice over artist worth their salt would have been trained and would have experience of performing and reading scripts. They would bring an air of professionalism to the message and therefore to your business. They would have a high quality recording space or studio, acoustically treated and free from background noise. They would have quality equipment to record with using a professional microphone and DAW so that the voice would sound resonant and clear and they would also know how to add music to your recording to keep your listeners engaged further. They would also be happy to help you help you write your phone message for you and would be competent in delivering your message in a variety of different ways to match your branding and business type. They would be able to sound serious, business-like or up-beat and relaxed, matching the tone of the voice to the type company. The culmination of which would result in having a voice message that would be able to make your clients feel looked after and comfortable thus building a sense of trust between the listener which would be beneficial in increasing repeat buyers and boosting sales.
And it's not that expensive to hire good voice artist. Please contact me here or listen to my on hold message here. It's more affordable than you think.
This article was written by Sarah Jackson and DL Merlin.