Toast of London…been there! So, a few tips for getting the most out of your recording session:-
1) Send the script to your voice over artist in plenty of time before the session & ensure that all involved on both sides of the glass (real or virtual) have a rough idea of what you’re aiming for. Because we like to be prepared and you like to save precious studio time. Win-win! (In reality, we know this isn’t always possible – and that re-writes happen)
2) Record the voice over (vo) BEFORE editing the visuals if possible. Why? Allowing the voice to set the pace is far better than finding that the words are having to be crammed in to fit the pictures. That said, it isn’t always possible, I often voice projects that have already been filmed or animated – particularly projects that are being voiced in a raft of different languages. But recording the voice over first really is the most prudent way forward.
3) Guide tracks: ideally ask your vo to record it, or pace it as you’d like it to sound. Don’t rush it in all the excitement of nearing the finish line!
4) Know the feel you’re after? Have examples? Send links before the session. This will give your voice over artist an insight into what you’re thinking. Sometimes the script & the vibe you have in your head are poles apart, so this can be really helpful.
5) Using music? Have music which embodies the vibe? Send before / play it during the session. It can often communicate as much, if not more than words. Saying “Can you make it more purple?” may not result in the tone you’re after!
6) Let your vo know who the audience is, how you want them to feel & the desired outcomes. Context is key! Does the audience consist of experts, or is this product new to them? What sort of age might they be? Are we looking to inspire, motivate, empathise, inform, or something else entirely?
7) Unusual pronunciations or names? Offer guidance. It’s a no-brainer, really.
8) If you know the script is too long for the slot, edit it & save valuable time in the studio.
9) Working as a team will bring out the best in your voice over artist. If something isn’t working as you’d hoped, there may be a good reason why. If you aren’t sure what the issue is, your vo can probably help! If they feel at ease & you’re responsive, they’ll be more comfortable about making suggestions.
10) We can hear you unless the talkback is closed! When working remotely, let the vo know if you’re closing your talkback to have a discussion with the end client, engineer etc. We are human beings, not just gobs on sticks 😉
11.) “Let it flow”, as the wise Andy Porter Of Veracity Digital says…” Sometimes the best takes are done as a continuous (or almost continuous) piece and it’s important to let the vo artist get into the flow of the story. Also “Don’t overdo it” has always worked for me – professional vo artists instinctively “get it” . You might have booked a standard hour, but some of the most natural, strongest studio reads (with options) are completed in 30 minutes or less. Then a listen back for anything you might have missed first time (technical or in delivery) is enough, you know you have what you need. Taking a script apart sentence by sentence to play with intonations etc whilst spending way too much time in the studio just frustrates everyone and is a waste of time!”
12.) If it’s a long script & a lengthy session, have a short break half way through. It’s just more pleasant, productive & less tiring for everyone.
13) Have FUN!
14) Oh and a nice to have: We all like & need to show people examples of our work, so if you’re able to send your voice over artist a copy of the finished piece, they’ll be eternally grateful!