A lot of videos rely on voice-over to tell a story, but choosing the right voice for your video involves a few important considerations. There are many subtleties in the human voice, so it’s important to make sure the voice you choose is appropriate for the message of your video.
Luckily there are plenty of voice-actors and talent agencies who will provide demos and auditions online so that you can test out a few options before committing to a final voice-over.
Here are some of the things we think about when casting a voice-over for your video.
Things To Consider
Male or Female: Choosing your voice’s gender is a good place to start, but gender isn’t as crucial as you might guess. Audiences generally have no preference, unless the subject matter of the video is gender-specific (which is comparatively rare). Unless there’s a good reason for choosing a particular point on the gender spectrum, we recommend being open to all kinds of voices.
Formal or Casual: This will depend entirely on your script. If it’s written like a story, you’ll want your voice to sound real and genuine. If it’s technical or instructional, you’ll want your voice to have the authority of a more formal reading. Many voice actors do radio commercials, so they’re used to exaggerating their intonation. This works great for commercials, but not so much for an instructional video or a story.
Fast or Slow: Pacing is important in video, so think carefully about how fast you want your voice-actor to read the script. If you’re making an animated video, give yourself enough breathing room to keep a good visual flow. For frame of reference: 150 words per minute is a standard pace, but it’s by no means a rule.
Narrator or Character: To what degree do you need your voice talent to “act”? Sometimes all you need is a polished and professionally recorded voice, but sometimes your script will call for a character. In this case, the reading of the script is central to the video’s story, and this might necessitate a more experienced and dynamic actor, and therefore more rigorous casting process.
The main takeaway here is that your voiceover should never be treated as an afterthought. Voice may seem like a minor detail, but it has a huge (albeit sometimes unconscious) effect on the overall mood and impression of your video.