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The Voice of Experience

VO recording sessions are easy once the right pieces are in place.

At Mechanism Digital, we do a lot of voiceovers for corporate communications videos. These could be explainers, medical videos, promotions for conferences, or corporate-sponsored research. These videos are typically just a couple of minutes long and are driven by voiceover as well as text on screen.

Some of the questions for clients and agencies to consider at the outset include:

  • Should we use a male or a female voice?  
  • Would a foreign accent help this stand out?
  • Would it be a voice of authority or a more nurturing voice?
  • Is there much jargon? Does the video require talent who can pronounce complex medical terms like borborygmi
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After getting a feel for the kind of video the stakeholders want to produce, we access the roster of voiceover talent with whom we have an established relationship. We’ve built these relationships over the course of 25 years. It’s also helpful to have a relationship with some recording studios that represent talent. Certain people are very comfortable reading Latin and Greek medical terminology, which makes the recording session go faster. It’s usually a bad idea to go with standard radio voiceover announcers because they might stumble on words like duodenum (which, to be fair, probably has too many pronunciations).

The next step is introducing some voices to the stakeholders by way of demo samples — which are basically a collection of audio samples from various voiceover artists. Usually these come directly from the websites of the voiceover artists. At this point, some agencies will confer with their client, while others are empowered to make decisions. Mechanism Digital can work either way because our work flow prevents backtracking.  

Executing the client’s creative vision is relatively hassle-free, thanks to advancements in technology making it possible for voiceover artists to record high-quality clips at home. All it takes is a small space, like a closet, with a microphone and a lot of padding. This transition was taking place even before the pandemic, so the kinks are mostly worked out of it.  

To conduct an audio recording remotely, the audio engineer will establish a special high-quality direct connection using Source Connect or ipDTL and provide access to a client “bridge.” It’s very important that the client attend the session via a phone patch in order to make sure certain words are pronounced correctly, including the name of medical conditions, the product’s name, or the overall sentiment of the narrator’s voice.

Once all the interested parties are gathered for the recording session, the real work begins. In my next post I’ll talk about how we “keep the beat” during production and the persuasiveness of a great voice.

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