Voice-overs are quite literally the voice of your brand. They are the host for perhaps the most important type of brand communication you’ll ever do: video. That’s why it’s absolutely critical to match the ‘voice’ to your brand identity, for the sake of your overall marketing success.
This brings us to the critical question: what skills should you be looking for when selecting the definitive voice for your brand in social media videos, commercials, telephone hold messages, audiobooks, and voicemail?
Are you overthinking the criteria, and are you confused about choosing ‘the voice’ for your brand’s persona? Instead of getting lost in the overwhelm of possibilities, just read this blog and you’ll be better prepared to make the right choice.
What does a voice-over artist do?
A voice-over artist is a voice actor who records the narration for a video. This could be a single narrator or a dialogue. A voice-over artist also records for a range of business materials like audio messages, voicemails, telephone hold messages, commercials, announcements, podcasts and more.
They usually read a script, and bring the words to life with their own particular style. This is why voice-over is called an art.
Studio 52 is the busiest voice-over service provider in the UAE, and when we’re selecting a voice-over artist for your video we always voice test several artists to find the one best suited to your brand persona. The talent is vetted on their voice modulation skills, timbre, intonation, voice control and modulation.
Once we have narrowed down the search to a few shortlisted options, we record dummy voiceovers for approval from the client. Only once you approve ‘the voice’ do we get the talent into the recording studio for the final audio recording.
The recording, rendered into an audio format, is then edited to the visuals to create a brand video or social media video for your business.
Here is a list of the essential qualities for a voice-over artist to be able to deliver a great audio recording:
You’ll want to select a voice-over artist who is on top of their game. Look for a track record in taking custom requirements and transforming them into accurate and brilliant voiceovers. Seek out someone who accepts and responds to feedback and always completes tasks on time.
Video is an expensive business and you can’t afford to waste valuable editing and post-production time waiting for your voice-over artist to show up for an audio recording, or to put in a substandard performance that needs costly correction.
At Studio 52 we look for consistency. When we find a seasoned and talented voice-over star, we add them to our list of ‘go-to’ voice-over artists. It’s this list that helps make us the foremost voice over service provider in UAE. To make this list, the artist should be consistent with their availability and vocal quality over several projects.
Anyone can choose a career as a voice-over artist, but only a handful succeed. This career path doesn’t require a formal degree; instead, natural skills are enhanced and perfected on the job.
This means learning to hold the mic correctly to kill the sibilance, taking the right breaks for breath control, plus the perfect intonation, enunciation, and voice modulation.
Sadly, just having a great voice does not a voice-over artist make! If you pick an inexperienced voice-over artist, you’ll have to do a lot of editing of the recorded narration in the audio studio, wasting both time and money.
3. Vocal quality
These are very specific qualities of the voice that help you assess whether the talent is a good match for your audio requirements:
- Range of vocals — Range relates to a voice-over artist’s ability to change the pitch of their voice. They should be able to carry a low note and a higher note equally, and with ease. This is a good way to ensure that the artist is able to inject emotional range into the voice-over. A powerful range means you have voice-overs that are engaging and memorable.
- Versatility — A great way to assess versatility is to ask for a portfolio of recorded voice-overs. This usually gives you a fair idea of whether the voice-over artist will be able to perform to your standards. This will also give you an idea of whether they will be able to vary their tone of delivery, for example whether they can deliver both serious and funny voice-overs equally well.
- Clarity — The voice should be clear. Each word should be clearly articulated with no mumbling, extra sibilance, or sharp breath exhalation sounds.
- Rhythm or cadence — Cadence is the ability to read a complete sentence without long pauses, and without using fillers like “uhm”, “aaaah” and “uuuh”.
4. Correct accent
If you want an American accent, you need to pick a voice-over artist who can deliver this accent credibly. They don’t need to be an American voice actor, but they do need to have that accent in their portfolio of available options.
5. Proper pronunciation
The voice-over artist should be able to pronounce all words perfectly. A recording with even a single mispronounced word has to be re-done, wasting time and resources. If your script is likely to have difficult or unfamiliar words, get your potential artist to confirm and demonstrate that they can deliver the correct pronunciation of that word before you begin recording.
Never shy away from asking for audio resumes, audio portfolios and demo voice samples from prospective voice-over artists.
You can also ask the talent to attend a mini audition. Give them a script peppered with tough words, which requires a specific accent and a certain cadence and expression. Only choose the voice-over artist once you have evaluated the mini recording, saving post-production mayhem.
At Studio 52 we feel that the artist fee is more than worth it when finding the perfect UAE voice-over artist for our clients, because we realise that quality comes with an appropriate price tag.
A good voice-over artist also cuts down on recording and post-production costs. Fewer voice errors in the recording means the sound engineer doesn’t have to spend time correcting hisses and sibilance, which also means your video gets completed before the deadline.
For frictionless audio and voice-over recording, get in touch with us at the link below.