Getting a natural/conversational read in voiceover
The voiceover industry is in demand for natural sounding reads, as opposed to the once greatly desired “Announcer Voice”. This is due to the fact that people will engage, and connect more with someone who’s having a conversation with them, more-so than someone telling them what to do. When reading from a script, it can be hard to get a natural read, for a number of reasons. That’s what this blog post aims to resolve.
When recording a voiceover, most use headphones to monitor their recording, and their performance. However, hearing your own voice being played back to you will encourage you to over emphasise, which is the opposite result to what we wish to achieve. In order to combat this, try practicing without using headphones. This will ensure you aren’t getting fed back your own vocals, and you will start noticing a more natural read.
The next tip, is to get closer to the microphone, and read quietly and slowly. This will ensure that your read is more personal and can also lead to warmer vocals. Think from the clients side, they want it to sound like a neighbour leaning over the fence, telling you about some product. Neighbours do not over exaggerate or overact when telling their neighbour Jim about the latest toothpaste.
Clients want it quiet, personal, and above all else natural, which generally relies on speed, volume, and accents. I don’t mean accents as you’d imagine, I’m talking music accents. For example, are you going to go up in pitch at the end of the sentence? Which sounds the most conversational? Each of these are very valid questions, that you need to consider when performing. Try marking your script, for directions to help ensure the read is more natural.
Finally, while I have yet to try this method, some swear by it. Having a picture of someone in front of you should lead to a more conversational read, for obvious reasons. Whilst in a booth all alone, it’s hard to emulate genuine conversation. With a visual prompt however, it becomes much easier to imitate a real conversation.
Thank you for reading the post, I hope it helped some people out. I am by no means an expert, but I’m learning through making mistakes (a lot of them) and ensuring you don’t have to go through them too!