Voice Over: A Comprehensive Guide

Here at Creative Media Design in New York City, voice over is what we do best. In fact, we’ve provided some pretty big names with professional voice over talent, whether that’s for commercials, promos, or even radio, we’ve truly done it all. Having said that, we’ve covered voice over quite extensively across our website, but we’d like to really drill down into voice over with a comprehensive guide, explaining how it works, the process, what a voice over artist is, and much more. Whether you’re interested in learning about the industry to become a VO artist or are interested in our services, take a moment to learn just about everything there is to know about voice over within audio post production. First, let’s take a brief look at what the term voice over entails.

What is Voice Over?

As defined, voice over is an off-camera technique within production in which a recorded voice is placed over the production. This could be the narration over a documentary or simple vocals on a radio production. However, voice over isn’t limited to narration or anything of the sort. Quite often, the audio in, say, a scene from a movie isn’t of high quality due to loud background noises or some other uncontrolled variable. In this case, voice over is needed to replace the dialogue of a certain scene. In short, radio, television, film, and presentations can all utilize voice over—and it’s often necessary.

Though it may sound simple, voice over and how it’s used can be a bit more complicated. Imagine the aforementioned situation where a scene’s dialogue doesn’t sound perfect. Sure, it can be replaced by studio-recorded dialogue, but the actors must study the scene closely to match the speaking with the movements within the scene. Allow us to explain more on the VO process.

The Voice Over Process: How it Works

Of course, voice over isn’t only used to replace dialogue and narrate productions, though these are two common uses for such. Animation, video games, and a range of other types of productions require professional voice talent. No matter the medium, a lot of work from the voice over artist is required. They’ve got to capture the right tone, evoke a certain emotion, and create a personality for the character (within animation and video games at least). With this, you can imagine how difficult the process can be, not only for the artist, but for the audio engineers as well.

As for the process, voice over typically entails the actor, or artist, recording in a studio while reading from the script. The artist must study the script beforehand to perfect their tone, voice, and emotion to ultimately match the production—which can be a brand’s tone or a character’s personality. Timing is also a major consideration, in video or animation productions, as the voice over recording must match up with the accompanying video, whether that be commercials, documentaries, or the movements of characters. While much of the work is performed by the audio engineers, the voice over artists themselves are also an important piece.

What is a Voice Over Artist

As mentioned, voice over artists, often called voice over talent, are clearly an important part of the voice over process. Of course, the average person can’t supply a production with voice over. Voice over artists, no matter their area of expertise, are highly trained within voice acting, and quite often are also trained actors. Before anyone can become a professional and successful voice artist, they must learn proper techniques, perfect their voice, and know how to act. A professional voice over artist has the ability to read a script, consider the required voice and tone, and project exactly that. This could be, but not limited to, narration or voice acting for an animated character.

Regardless of the medium, voice over artists are very necessary within any production, and the same goes for voice over. Since you now have a better understanding of the VO process, as well as the artists and the work required of them, let’s take a look at the importance of voice over.

The Importance of Voice Over

As you can imagine, voice over isn’t only necessary in many productions, it’s also an important aspect when used. In other words, when voice over is used within a film, commercial, radio spot, or any other medium, it plays a key role in projecting a message and evoking emotion. While it may not always be necessary in a movie, commercials, documentaries, and animated productions (among others) absolutely rely on effective and quality voice recording.

Like we said before, the right voice will project a message and evoke emotion, but it can also provide a character with a certain personality and even help move a story along. No matter its use or the medium, VO is essential across a variety of productions.

Voice Over FAQ

Though we’ve covered some important aspects of voice over work, from the process to the artists themselves, there may still be room for questions. In an effort to cover all things voice over, we’ve compiled a list of frequently-asked questions and answers for such—all in regards to VO. Take a look below:

I’m interested in becoming a voice over artist. What’s the first step?

Becoming a voice over artist isn’t easy, but with the right techniques, resources, and practice, you could very well learn to do VO. The first step may be developing your voice, once you’ve considered what discipline you’d like to work in. You should definitely consider VO classes.

I’ve found my voice and I’m ready to look for work. What should I do?

Every aspiring voice actor needs a demo. If you don’t have equipment of your own, you’ll need to buy some studio time to develop an attention-grabbing demo displaying your best work.

I’m working on a production for my brand. Where do I find voice talent?

While you can look on your own, working with an agency to find and select the perfect voice is key. In this regard, you can work with CMD. We work with a broad range of VO talent to provide clients with virtually any type of voice.  

Can’t I just use my own voice or someone I know?

You could, but as we mentioned before, voice over is a key aspect of any production (when used), and you’ll need both a professional artist and recording studio to achieve perfect sound and an effective voice over.

Voice Over Resources

Whether you're seeking work as a voice over talent or you're casting such for an upcoming project, you can find some help in the pages we've provided below:

Want to Learn More? Contact CMD Today!

There’s plenty more to be asked in regards to voice over, and we could surely go on. However, if you want to become a voice actor or need more information on hiring such, you can always get it straight from the source, like us here at Creative Media Design in NYC!

If you’re interested in learning more about VO, feel free to reach out today! You can contact us here or give us a call at 212-213-9420. We’d be happy to answer any questions.