5 Tips for Great Homemade Voice Overs

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Voice OverAt some point during your video-making career, you will need to record your own voice over. It’s inevitable. With the high price associated with outsourcing your vocal talent, mixed with the unavoidable “artistic differences” between you and the talent, it may actually be a better idea to keep things in house.

Getting started is a daunting prospect, but once you get the hang of it, recording your own voice over is actually quite fun! There are many things to remember, but these tips should help get you started!

Use the Best Tools

While it is true that a good voice over with poor quality is better than a poor voice over with good quality, a high quality voice over with high quality equipment is the definitely the way to go.  Stay away from any built in microphones on your laptop, and look into purchasing a condenser microphone. We use a Blue Yeti here at Telestream, and for around $100, it pays for itself after just a couple uses.

If you do go for the condenser mic (or any microphone), it is worth investing in a pop filter as well.  When those pesky popping “p’s” come out of your mouth, they have a tendency to spike the levels in your mic, leaving you with unwanted clipping in your final recording. For around $15 dollars, a pop filter will help reduce those problematic plosives.

Voice Over
Without Pop Filter
Voice Over
With Pop Filter

 

 

 

 

Record in the Right Environment

People spend incredible amounts of money crafting the ideal recording location.  If you are fortunate enough to have a small sound studio, you are in luck.  If not, you still have a few options.  Try reading your script out loud in every room in your house to see what room may work the best.  The less echo and Voice Overextraneous noise the better.  Rooms with carpet and soft furniture will help to absorb background noise, while tiled and hardwood rooms will prove quite noisy.

If you are ready to go deep, grab a blanket, cover yourself and your mic, and have at it!  It may look goofy, but the close quarters and soft edges of the blanket provide an incredible imitation of a quality sound studio.

Write a Natural Script

When you sit down to write your script, keep in mind that you will be reading it. If it doesn’t feel comfortable to you, your viewers will be able to tell.  This is not an essay, so limiting the language to a casual tone will make the recording process easier.  Writing the way that you speak will bring a natural feel to your voice over that your audience will be able to relate to.  I bet it will require less practice as well!

Be Invisible

Your video has a message.  When the voice over becomes focus of your video, your message takes a back seat.  Have you ever watched a video and you couldn’t get past a funky voice over?  Try to make your voice “invisible.” The ideal voice over will be present, but unobtrusive.

When you have finished recording, watch your video as objectively as possible.  What do you see?  What do you hear?  For me, all I ever hear is my voice.  I get caught up in how goofy it sounds!  This is the point where I have a friend watch my video for me.  Can they “see” past my voice?  An outside opinion is crucial to get past how difficult it is to judge your own work.

Take Advantage of your Editor

I record all of my voice overs with ScreenFlow, which allows me to finely tune every track I lay down.  Without an editor each take has to be perfect, but with the ability to cut out mistakes, breathing or pauses, it makes recording a much simpler process.  Once you have finished recording, cut your audio into individual phrases, trimming as close to the beginning and end of the audio. Add a title to each clip to quickly reference them during editing.  This way you can find the exact phrase you need, edited and ready to go, making the post production process a bit smoother.

Voice Over
An edited voice over, ready to go!

 

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6 Comments

  1. I am so tired of the fan noise in my room and outdoor noises as well. I am not lucky enough to get a sound proof room, but these editing options and filters always helpful for me to record a clear and crisp video. Using Blue Yeti with Pop Filter. There was a bit change in voice, but i hope the suggested tip in this post will help me to overcome it.

    Thanks guys. your screenflow app rocks (Y) and i am happy to recommend it to anyone.

    Robin.

  2. i don’t think the Blue Yeti is always -the- Choice. i use a t.bone sc440 usb for my “voiceovers” (mainly commenting Video Game footage) the Downsides are that it’s got a lot of Noise (easy to remove in ScreenFlow), and it needs a seperate stand. but it’s overall cheaper than a Yeti or a Seiren. Keep up ScreenFlow and maybe add a bit of AfterEffects-ish features. i hope ScreenFlow at one point to be better than AfterEffects or Premiere 😉

    • We hope so too! We are constantly trying to make it better.

      As for the Blue Yeti Mic, we use it here and we can’t recommend it higher. We also know it is only one of many in the sea of affordable microphones. Glad you found something that works for you!

  3. Nice information!

    We just published a free web app to calculate the duration of a voice over script. If you need to estimate the duration of a narration, ebook, speech, or other monologue, you can use this tool: http://wordstimer.com/

    Other than measuring, it also allows you to collaborate by sharing a link and comments. It’s like Google Docs, but it allows you to measure how long the script would take when it’s voiced.

  4. Has anybody successfully used the SoundSoap plugin filters? I can of course export the audio and post-process the audio (or even pull it back in afterwards), but I would prefer to use it within the ScreenFlow app (seamless).

  5. I had the same thought when SoundSoap 4 came out a few months ago and contacted the developer. SoundSoap plugins don’t work with Screenflow but you don’t need them. Purchase the standalone version. It’s great. It has a de-clipper to prevent distortion, an enhancer to add a little ‘zing’ to the de-noised clip AND a bulk processor. Just create your settings once, then drag your entire audio folder to this app.

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