Voice Overs-What it is and how to do them well

GG00Voice overs are the main stays of advertising, instruction and promotional videos, television programs and feature films.

From the classroom of Gil Garcia's Intro to Media Tech are these exercises and guidelines.

Hydration

While its important to have water handy during the recording, hydrate BEFORE your VO session. Stay awayfrom coffee and soda and any drinks that contain milkproducts. Milk gets the mucus flowing and will dampen your performance. How about a nice cup of lemon water?

Easy on the Meds

If at all possible postpone your recording until you are healthy. Medicine can leave you a bit groggy and doesaffect your voice. You need to be as clear as possible both physically and mentally.

Location, Location, Location!GG02

The space you record in is critical. Soundisolation is required as well as absorbentmaterial inside the booth. A walk-in closet in your home works well as the clothes absorbmuch of the sound reflection, or a practice booth in the band hall works too. Some students record in their cars with a jacketover their head.

Basically, get away from any noise aroundyou, even turn off the air conditioner, refrigerator and lights if possible.

The Copy
 
GGReadingGood lighting for the talent to read the copy. Print the copy in 24 pt. Arial font, double spaced. Break the copy into natural sections on separate pages so the talent won’t have to shuffle pages. Have pensand highlighters in the booth available for the talent to do markups.

Get the Copy Right
 
A great VO starts with a great script. Clean, easy to read. Numbers should be spelled out, phonetic spelling usedfor complicated names, technical terms and chemicals.  Pre-read the copy before recording to verify flow. Mark upthe script for emphasis if need be.

Breathing Excercises

* inhale and exhale
 
* say “huh, huh, huh”
 
Class contest! start counting while holding your breath


Articulation Exercises
 
*  smile and say “eeeeeee”
*  open and say “ahhhhhh”
*  close and say “oooooo”
*  fud-dud-dud-dah, ira-ira-ira-ira

Keep the tongue forward, keep the tone lively and bright.GGTongue
 
*  TEA, TICK, TAIL, NAPE,
*  THICK, TABLE, DEAL, DISH
*  PIT-PAT

Articulating The Jaw
 
*  hack, paw, tab, yard, dark
*  red leather yellow leather
*  good blood bad bloodbad blood good blood

Tone & Inflection
 
How many ways can you say the word “yes” and how many ways can you say “no”
 
*  say, “I like bill” as if your surprised that you like him.
*  now only kinda like him,
*  and then say it like you don’t like him at all

GG02ATongue Twisters
 
*  rubber baby buggy bumpers 
*  Five fresh fish specials daily

Mic it Up
 
Realistically, you can use almost any microphone for voiceover recording, but the big boys have a handful of favorites. Large-diaphragm condenser mics are popular in Hollywood. Consider borrowing or renting a nice microphone for an important recording. There are several models available for less than $100 today. $100 goes a longway with microphones.

Breath Blasts!
 
You need a pop filter to protect against breath blasts called "plosives."Usually produced from the letters P, B and T, these vocal pops brieflyGG03 overload the microphone and create distortion. Simply providing a pop filter will virtually eliminate this problem. Foam windscreens are available at your local RadioShack. You'll find the more professional hoop-type filters at Guitar Center. You can even build one from an embroidery hoop and some pantyhose. They are about 30 to 50 bucks and is well worth it.

Slate Here
 
Slating your voiceover recording will make it easier to edit. Since there are very few visual cues when editingaudio, some simple verbal reminders will make it easier for you to navigate. Have the vocal talent preface the performance with the project, date, and their name prior to recording.

Let’s try that again
 
The way you hear the copy in your head may or may not be the way the client intended. That's why it's good to record multiple versions of various phrases, using different vocal inflection. Don't get carriedaway with this idea--just concentrate on troublesome phrases, slogansand tag lines. This gives you options after the session and can save a great deal of grief if the client had something else in mind.

A second set of ears
 
Professional voiceovers involve a producer to keep things on track and insure a high-quality recording. But even they invite a second opinion.

Once you've edited the voiceover, have someone listen to theproject with an objective ear. Does the copy make sense? Does the structure guide the listener cleanly through the recording? Are there any words or phrases that are difficult to understand? Answers tothese questions will help you step back from the project, rethink your edits and tighten the performance.

GG01A tip from the master

."My philosophy is that you have to really believe what you're reading, even if you think the film's a piece of junk." "Even the worst picture is someone's favorite film, and that someone is the fan I amalways talking to." - Don LaFontaine