Tag Archives: narration

Preparing for a Voice Recording

Whether you are recording a short outgoing message for your company’s phone system or preparing to do a voice over for a video script, consider the following tips for a smoother reading.

  1. Write a full script.  Outlines won’t cut it here.  They leave too many blanks to fill in during the recording when efforts should be put into diction, tone and pace.  Take some pressure off yourself and write out what you want to say verbatim, even for short outgoing phone messages.  This important first step assures you will not leave out any important information.
  2. Proof your script for narration.  Your first instinct will be to write your script like you would write an email or article.  This will not always translate into something that is readable in a narration.  Sentences may be too long and word combinations may be too cumbersome to narrate effectively.  Reading your script out loud will allow you to identify areas that require some additional editing.
  3. Read through the script for tone and pace.  Before recording your script you want to be sure the content is read with the appropriate tone and pace for the content.  This may be consistent throughout the script or change in different places.  It may be helpful to read the script to a handful of trusted people who represent your target audience. There may be some tweaks in an actual recording session but you want to have these details ironed out for the most part before you are ready to record.
  4. Break your script into readable units.  Short phone messages will be pretty easy to get through in one read.  If a mistake is made, just re-read the script as a new recording.  Longer scripts should not be read in one take.  Instead, break the script into short readable units that you can get through in one take.  Then take a break before heading onto the next unit.  If a mistake is made, then re-read that unit until it sounds the way you want.  Your editor can easily blend the units together to read as if no breaks were taken.
  5. A few final thoughts for the day of the recording.  Avoid food and drink that will clog up your vocals.  Dairy, peanut butter, thick sauces and other items create a coating in your throat that can muddy your sound and make it uneven.  Drink hot fluids and water to clear your throat.  Suck on a hard candy to keep your mouth and throat moist before the recording.  Bring a lot of water with you to the recording and make sure to sip it in between takes.  Vocal lubrication is key to a clear, even sound.

Copyright © 2012 Digital Design Digest

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Filed under Project Planning, Video Production

Creative Cuts for the Camera Shy

What do you do when your project has great content and talented people who can walk the audience through that content smoothly, but do not want to be seen on camera? You get creative!

The biggest draw to information rich productions is the information and not the person delivering the information. If your information is coming from content experts who cannot overcome their camera shyness to give their best performance there are other creative alternatives that can be put in place. Assuming the client has the budget to accommodate more editing time, what you end up with is a better product in the end for having taken the extra step.

1. Write a script around the concept of your main narrations occurring as a voice over. The script is written and recorded separately from other media elements in the project. Reading it in a controlled environment off camera takes away the pressure of feeling one has to “perform” for the camera. The voice over can be read by someone the client designates or by a professional voice over artist. Hopefully what you have in the end is a confident delivery of the content that keeps the audience focused on all the right things, which are the client and their message.

2. Use close-up shots. Close-up shots are great for capturing meaningful activity to support the narration without identifying a person on camera. Consider the video footage presented on news programs. There are close-up shots of money being counted, feet walking on sidewalks, hands stirring coffee and so on. Look at the script for the verbal section of your video and then write down all the possible close-up shots that could be acquired to provide visual interest to the message.

3. Find or hire someone who was born to be in front of the camera! The client is often the best person to develop the content but you may both conclude they are not the best to deliver the content. If budget is an issue the first step is to see if anyone else in the company is interested in going on camera. This person needs to be comfortable in front of the camera but also rehearsed enough in the subject matter to provide a confident delivery. If there is no such person available on-site, hire a professional if there is room in the budget.

4. Use slides and graphics for the more academic narratives. Even if you are working with someone who enjoys being in front of the camera it is a good idea to break up the video portion of the project with slides and graphics. It provides visual variety to keep the viewer engaged to the message. PowerPoint slides can easily be converted for use in video presentations. Use bullet points to provide a visual of concepts being discussed. Use photos where appropriate to further illustrate the message.

Copyright © 2012 Digital Design Digest


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Filed under Video Production