In my line of business, I work with voice overs on a daily basis and I am often reminded about things we take for granted in our industry, such as the terminology used, terms that a multimedia company or individual hiring a voice over for the first time would not necessarily realise. This article outlines some of the basic points you should be aware of before hiring voice-overs.
Terminology and explanations vary on the web, however, we have produced many audio productions with voice overs and this article includes the terminology we use.
I am not going to cover prices in too much detail, but what I will tell you is that there is a bewildering array of different rates charged by voice overs. These can depend on: –
- Industry experience
- Whether they have to hire a studio
- The scope and usage of the final audio
- The amount of editing involved
- Whether any audio production is involved
- Whether they have a full diary
The best way to think about this is to come up with a budget and then approach the voice over with the budget you have. They will soon let you know if it is too low. The other option is to get a completed script to them and request a quote.
Typically most voice-overs will deliver a dry file. This is an audio file that has been recorded and had a small amount of editing done to it. For example, it may have been cut up into several smaller files.
It is also usual for voice overs to remove any prominent pops, clicks, breaths and saliva noises. These are sounds made in normal speech, but become much more noticeable when recorded using a sensitive professional microphone. This is known as de-breathed.
The dry voice file is ready for processing with your favourite effects or can be normalised and used as it is for most productions. Normalising is an automated process in audio editing software that makes the audio file as loud as it possibly can be without distorting it.
A raw file is completely unedited; the voice over leaves in all of the breaths, pops, clicks etc. This type of file would need cleaning up in an editing program, usually by an audio producer. It can be carried out with free audio software and a little patience, although, it is a professional skill and best results are achieved with purchased audio editing software.
Fully Produced File
A fully produced file is one that has been de-breathed and has had various equalisation and audio effects / processes applied to make it clear and loud. This is basically the finished item and sounds polished and professional. At this stage, you can also include music and sound effects to make it sound really polished.
Again, you could potentially do this yourself, but it is a professional skill that takes time to perfect and develop. Editing out all of the breaths is more of a mechanical process and easier to learn, whereas audio production is a skill of judgement, being sonically aware of the overall sound of a piece, how it sits in the mix, how it sounds psychoacoustically, whether the applied effect is fatiguing the listeners ears etc. There is an art to getting a quality production… many years of learning and experience.
If you are hiring a voice-over for a professional project, I would strongly suggest getting a quote for a fully produced job rather than a raw or dry file. Always make sure you ask the voice over or voiceover company whether the quoted price is for a raw file, de-breathed dry file or fully edited and produced audio file as it can make a lot of difference to the price.
Please feel freee to leave your comments, bookmark, retweet and ShareThis.