Most animated explainer videos rely on a narrator to get all of the value propositions or ideas across to the viewer. Therefore, if you’re looking to create your own video, it’s very important to get a great voice over track. If you’re a great speaker, recording your own voice is the best option. But if you’re not, everything you need to know about directing, casting and recording is below.
DIRECTING A VOICE ACTOR
First of all, the best and easiest way to direct is to cast the right actor. Spend the time to find actors that have what you like in their demo reels. I’m going to plug Voices.com and Voices123. Both these sites allow you to look through thousands of demo reels. If the actors are not local, many of them can patch you into their recording studios and allow you to hear and give direction while they record.*
You need to prepare before working with your actor. Go through your script and highlight your value propositions in different colors (or just circle them). The most important thing for your narrator to do, is to color each of the different offerings (with his/her voice), so that the listener can easily distinguish between them. You should also decide whether you want the narrator to be casual, serious or happy before talking to them. You can always make adjustments after you hear them read it. A good actor, will know how to speak with you and help you give them direction, while a poor actor will be confused by everything you say and confuse you with everything they say. So again.. cast cast cast.
PRODUCING A VOICE TRACK
The best thing for you to do is to use a service like voices.com or voice123.com. I know it sounds like I work for them (I don’t), but honestly it will make your life easy. Both of these services allow you to post a project and receive auditions. You can receive dozens of great voices reading your script in less than a day! But you need to do a few things. First, you have to let people know how cool your project actually is. It’s fun being in an animated video and you should advertise that. Make sure you mention in your job posting that you’re producing an animated ad/explainer video, and mention any other things that excite you about the project. Next, you need to post a polished script. If there are any grammatical, spelling or logical errors in your script, professionals will avoid you like the plague as they should!!! Finally, you need to offer money to get good people. There are a few willing to work for the experience and for the purpose of building a reel, but not many. $100 will get you some very talented people. Most of these actors use their own equipment and will cut the audio for you and deliver a single track that you can plug into your animation.
The next best way to get a voice is to record the actors yourself. When we record, we’re in a recording studio, but you don’t need it to be that fancy. As long as you have a good microphone, you should be able to get a great track. It helps if you cover the wall behind the microphone with a blanket. The blanket will absorb the sound that passes the microphone and not allow it to bounce to the back wall. You know, that sound you see on amateur videos when someone is talking inside an office or a room. The blanket will help get rid of that “office” audio signature.
You’ll need some kind of audio recording software. But if you spent the money to buy a microphone, it probably came with something. If not, google “free audio editor” and I’m sure you’ll find something.
EDITING YOUR VOICE TRACK
Again, if you hire professionals, they’ll do the editing for you. But if you need to do it yourself, here’s a few tips.
Go through all the takes and find the best ones. Assemble the best takes into one track. Then go through and take out unnecessary pauses and breaths. The shorter the video the better, so get rid of all the fat. You have a much better chance of converting a prospect if you tell him everything he needs to know in 60 seconds. I personally never watch one of these videos if they’re longer than 2 minutes. It’s a sales pitch! It needs to be short, informative and entertaining. Give value to your prospect, don’t torture him to death!
I’ll be posting more tips here in a couple of weeks. I hope you found something of value here. I’ll be happy to answer any questions. If you want to know a bit more about what I do at Tadapix, visit our site or check us out on YouTube.
*Editor’s Note: both Voices.com and Voices123 (in the form of VoiceBunny) are available at http://goanimate.com/business/videomarketplace.