Once the script has been finalised and approved, it’s time to record the vocal track.
Get it right.
The voice or vocal will determine the timing of everything else in the video. If it’s too fast, the viewer will struggle to understand and retain what is being said; too slow, and you risk dragging down the momentum of the video, particularly if there is a lot of action. You will probably be synchronising other elements to the voice, such as text, so make sure the voice is right first to save having to sync things all over again with a rerecorded voice track.
Recording a voice-over is a lot like singing. The rhythm and tune you use when you speak can emphasise phrases and keep the listener’s interest. Undulate, maintain a consistent flow and make it sound natural. If you are explaining new terminology, make sure you annunciate and slow down a little for the unfamiliar phrases or terms.
If you are using a lot of technical language that the intended audience is likely to understand then you have to make it sound like the vocabulary is natural to you. You may not necessarily be the target audience. If you stumble over words or sound like you are a robot reading out text, you will lose the credibility that the video is trying to establish. Make it sound like you know what you’re talking about!
I wrote some tips earlier, which you can read on the post ‘7 Tips for Recording a Voice Track…‘
Get Set Up
Most vocal microphones will work well, but a large or medium diaphragm condenser would be ideal. Set it up so that it is only a few centimetres (less than 10) from your mouth, and put a pop-shield in front of it. To prevent reflections (bounced sound waves) from reaching the mic, place a reflection filter behind the mic. Any thick fabric would do a similar job, but a purpose built filter would be best.
The key here is to make sure the voice is recorded as accurately as possible so you have little (or nothing) to do afterwards. The less tweaking and editing you have to do, the more time you will save.
Record a few takes of the script, varying annunciation and expressions. Think about how the viewer might be watching the video. Is it a funeral home, shopping channel or theme park? Each will require a different level of energy and emphasis.
If you can record the entire track all the way through, with fewer stops, it will save time in editing and make the track sound more even. Editing in (punching in) phrases later can be tricky as you have to match the voice perfectly.
The only EQ adjustment I routinely do on voice tracks is using a high pass filter at about 80Hz. This makes the voice sound clearer and less boomy by taking out some of the bass. It will also prevent a soundtrack from making it sound muddy due to clashing lower frequencies.
That’s it. You should now have a .wav file that can be dropped into your video editor, ready for graphics, text and a soundtrack.
COMING SOON: How to prepare graphics for an explainer video.
If you need video to explain processes, describe what you do or just reach your customers better, drop me a line and we can talk about some ideas.