A professional-sounding recording is everything to start pursuing voiceover work or voiceover services. A simple yet effective voiceover requires the right gear and vocal delivery. While most may not think it difficult to get started with voiceovers, to become amazing at them and to be able to receive offers for work, it takes dedication.
Voiceover services consist of narration or dialogue for a video or media. They also include dubbing foreign languages, voice acting for animated films, a radio or audio-based advertisement, video games, or YouTube videos.
Here are the simple steps to do a voiceover professionally.
1. Buy a High-Quality Microphone
To start, you need the gear. A pro-level microphone is a must. Condenser microphones are preferable to dynamic mics, as condensers pick up delicate sounds better and are more sensitive to the frequencies of the human voice. A simple USB microphone is also an excellent place to start if you’re unsure what to buy.
2. Use a Pop Filter with Your Microphone
A pop filter attaches to the front of your mic. It reduces popping noises, such as on ‘p,’ ‘b,’ and ‘c’ sounds. It also adds clarity to your voiceover. Pop filters are inexpensive, and you may already have one included with your microphone if you’ve bought a high-end condenser mic.
3. Buy an Audio Interface
An audio interface can boost input, control distortion, and guide how well you’re being recorded. An audio interface is not required if you have a USB mic. However, if you are using an XLR mic, an audio interface will be necessary to capture the sound on your computer.
4. Install Voiceover Recording Software
A voiceover does not require a lot of fancy software. Any quality recording software will do, so long as it allows you to record and edit. Most recording software will record in uncompressed WAV audio for the highest quality.
5. Set Up a Purpose-Built Recording Environment
Professional voiceover services don’t just happen anywhere. They’re done in purpose-built recording environments. This is crucial to the quality of the sound. Find somewhere with little to no noise. An attic or basement can often suit. Make a few voiceover recordings and check their sound. There must be no background noise.
6. Make Your Recording Setup Comfortable
Create a setup where it’s easy for you to sit down and record multiple takes of your voiceover. Have a comfortable chair and table. Ensure your posture is not unnecessarily bent or that you must simply compromise your position to record a voiceover. If you aren’t comfortable, this can come across in your vocal performance and negatively impact your stamina if you have a long day ahead of recording.
7. Warm Up Your Voice
A voice for a voiceover should be warmed up. You may want to look into a few vocal exercises to help open your voice before recording. Ensure you get enough sleep. Avoid any dairy products or phlegm-causing foods before doing your voiceover. Also, if you are sick or under the weather, hold off on voice recording until you’re better. To get a voiceover professionally done, no voiceover service should be done by someone sick.
8. Always Have a Script
Few voiceovers, if any, are improvised. They are meticulously planned by the party creating the media or video. Ensure you have a defined script that word-for-word indicates what is meant to be captured in a voiceover.
9. Do a Test Recording
A test recording is to make sure your equipment is working as intended. Input levels should be between -10 dB and -24 dB. No background noise. Clear-sounding audio. If anything is amiss, a test recording is your chance to correct it before you settle into the real stuff.
10. Be Expressive and Human
A voiceover is often added to media to make the visual even more impactful and to add a more natural pathway by which a viewer can connect to what they’re watching. With this in mind, be expressive. Don’t simply read the copy. Infuse it with some humanity and consider how to make it most relatable to your listener.
11. Have a Strong Personality
A strong personality in a voiceover makes the visual stand out. A strong personality does not need to mean loud and giddy, either. Look at voiceover work similar to the style you are going for. Don’t duplicate but note how others communicate personality with an inflection, their pronunciation, or pause taken between words.
12. Record Multiple Takes
Don’t just do a single take for a voiceover; call it a day. Record multiple takes. As many as you need. This will provide you with many small differences in the delivery and performance that you can choose from or edit together.
13. Edit Your Voiceover Audio
You will want to do very little to edit your voiceover audio. If you’ve done everything else right, you already more or less have a professional voiceover done. What you can do with editing are things like trimming the dead air at the beginning of the recording, normalizing audio levels through compression, using EQ to equalize your recording a bit, and editing or correcting mistakes.