Voice over quality

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by davesvideo, May 8, 2009.

  1. davesvideo

    davesvideo Guest

    I'm making a tourism video which is pretty much done except for
    narration. The voice I have used before is a rich baritone, but, I
    think it has a bit of a somber tone. Is there any feeling as to what
    tonal quality is good for evoking a welcome feeling? Is there a male
    vs female distinction? Any thoughts on picking a narrator.
     
    davesvideo, May 8, 2009
    #1
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  2. davesvideo

    Steve King Guest

    | I'm making a tourism video which is pretty much done except for
    | narration. The voice I have used before is a rich baritone, but, I
    | think it has a bit of a somber tone. Is there any feeling as to what
    | tonal quality is good for evoking a welcome feeling? Is there a male
    | vs female distinction? Any thoughts on picking a narrator.

    As a long time narrator and a not-so-long-a-time producer of corporate and
    documentary video, I don't think 'tonal quality' is what you should be
    focused on. With my producing hat on, I look for a narrator that can tell
    my story, can connect with the audience. I want to believe that he or she
    is talking to me, that he or she is really engaged in the story. If I get
    the sense that he or she is doing a nice 'read' of my script, that's
    probably not who I would choose. I want a narrator who is able to turn my
    script into his or her voiced stream of thought, a storyteller who gives me
    the sense that he or she can sense how the audience is responding to the
    narrative, who makes the audience part of the experience. The voice can be
    pitched low or higher, gruff or smooth, younger or older. To a certain
    extent the copy suggests which of these to choose, but not necessarily.
    Going against the grain is sometimes the more interesting choice. I guess
    what I'm saying is that there is no formula. You go with what moves you.

    Steve King
     
    Steve King, May 8, 2009
    #2
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  3. It's always a pleasure to read such a sensible and informative post.
    Thanks!
    --DR
     
    David Ruether, May 8, 2009
    #3
  4. davesvideo

    VideoDave2 Guest

    Thanks Steve, your advice seems right on. But, I guess it is going to
    be a matter of you get what you pay for and this is a close to zero
    budget project. Although, I don't have a very good speaking voice, my
    reading seems to be closer to your "engaged in the story", than the
    the other option I can probably afford. I think, I'll put together a
    few minutes with my voice vs the baritone and get a few opinions.

    Thanks again.

    Dave
     
    VideoDave2, May 8, 2009
    #4
  5. davesvideo

    Ty Ford Guest

    I once voiced a doc about an Irish music festival in Mill Town Malbay that
    went to PBS. I think it still airs around St. Patrick's Day.

    The producer directed me, I gave her what she wanted. When i saw the piece I
    was pissed. She had me talking in full voice and I should have been in half
    voice or less; almost as pulled back as the guys who do golf play by play.

    As a result, my voice was way to big and it took away from the scene.

    Dave, if you want me to audition for you I will but only if I get you on the
    phone or skype (tyford) and I'll only charge you scale + 12%.

    Regards,

    Ty Ford

    --Audio Equipment Reviews Audio Production Services
    Acting and Voiceover Demos http://www.tyford.com
    Guitar player?:
     
    Ty Ford, May 8, 2009
    #5
  6. If "tourism video" means something to promote the home town (etc.)
    then perhaps a local "celebrity" such as a radio or TV personality or
    politician, someone with an organic connection to the town/area.
    Someone who has been there, done that can come off as more
    credible than a studio actor. Especially if it is set up (even if just
    with one scene) with the narrator doing an on-screen stand-up intro,
    etc. to establish their "credentials" as someone who can guide viewers
    through the area.

    OTOH, if it is a doco about a foreign locale, I like using someone
    who speaks the target language (English?) well, but has an audible
    accent from the foreign land. Especially when it comes to pronouncing
    foreign names properly (etc.) A "foreign accent" usually carries
    something of a "cachet" or novelty.
     
    Richard Crowley, May 8, 2009
    #6
  7. davesvideo

    Steve King Guest

    <<<Thanks Steve, your advice seems right on. But, I guess it is going to
    be a matter of you get what you pay for and this is a close to zero
    budget project. Although, I don't have a very good speaking voice, my
    reading seems to be closer to your "engaged in the story", than the
    the other option I can probably afford. I think, I'll put together a
    few minutes with my voice vs the baritone and get a few opinions.

    Thanks again.

    Dave>>>

    Most voices sound more pleasing, when speaking softly. Only the richest
    most resonant voices sound good speaking loudly. Of course, one could make
    the case that Billy Mays has been very successful with his naturally higher
    pitched voice, and goodness gracious he is loud. However, video narration
    is different from an infomercial harangue. Also, many non-professionals
    speak slowly in an attempt to be more precise, I suppose. By keeping the
    pace up, one can speak softly, speak more one-to-one, yet still convey
    energy and enthusiasm. If the video is pretty, pauses in the narration
    supported by music is good. Why did you budget your project without
    allowing for a professional narrator? That human being engaging and
    directing the attention of the mind and emotions of the viewer is at least
    50% of the impact of the video IMO. Of course, I would think that wouldn't
    I?;-) But, it is true. And the cost is usually a small fraction of the
    acquisition and editing costs of production.

    Steve King

    Steve King
     
    Steve King, May 8, 2009
    #7
  8. davesvideo

    VideoDave2 Guest

    I know that trick, and even my voice doesn't sound too bad when spoken
    softly. As I said, it is a near zero budget project and it is mostly
    my civic gift to a small town, but I hope to at least recover my
    expenses and as my wife has said, I may even realize a 10 cent per
    hour profit from the effort. My budget for the non-professional
    narrator was a bottles of $48 scotch. In the end, I may end using my
    own voice, at this point at leas,t I know my subject matter very well
    and yes, lots of pauses carried by the mainly classical music.

    Dave
     
    VideoDave2, May 8, 2009
    #8
  9. davesvideo

    Steve King Guest

    <<<I know that trick, and even my voice doesn't sound too bad when spoken
    softly. As I said, it is a near zero budget project and it is mostly
    my civic gift to a small town, but I hope to at least recover my
    expenses and as my wife has said, I may even realize a 10 cent per
    hour profit from the effort. My budget for the non-professional
    narrator was a bottles of $48 scotch. In the end, I may end using my
    own voice, at this point at leas,t I know my subject matter very well
    and yes, lots of pauses carried by the mainly classical music.

    Dave>>>

    Crowley's suggestions are good ones particularly about using local
    personalities. I might modify what he said, though. Pick a few topics in
    your script. Formulate a question or two for locals designed to elicit the
    information you've scripted, i.e., instead of narrating about local fishing
    and hunting, go record audio of a local fisherman and a hunter offering
    their advice for tourists with that interest. Edit judiciously and weave
    those comments into your story. Same for the arts. Get a quote or two from
    gallery owners and the director of the community theater group. Someone
    else to talk about restaurants. The county forester or extension agent to
    talk about sight seeing. Narrate a name credit for each insertion, "John
    Jones's been fishing inTioga County for forty years," or some such. You may
    only end up with only a minute or so of quotes in a six or seven minute
    program, but you will be amazed at how those quotes jazz up the story.
    Obviously, a few seconds of each on camera would be nice, but at this stage
    of the game audio only may be easier to do.

    Steve King
     
    Steve King, May 8, 2009
    #9
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