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Tutorial: Adding a voiceover to video

 

Why to get a voiceover? Because its better with it.

Product overview videos, commercials or promotion videos are usually better when there is someone speaking to you. It just sells better.

 

If you are planning to put a voiceover to your video and you have never done it before – this tutorial may be a good starting point. We will look at ways how to get a voiceover, see UPs and DOWNs of methods, examples and look at some tricks to speed up the workflow.

If you have already done voiceovers, you can compare your workflow with mine, take the good things and also tell me what you do better in comments.

 


Table of Content

  1. Where to get a voiceover
  2. Doing the video first and voiceover second
    1. 1. Pros & Cons
    2. 2. Problems you might encounter
    3. 3. Example
  3. Doing the voiceover first and video second
    1. 1. Pros & Cons
    2. 2. Problems you might encounter
    3. 3. Example
  4. Conclusion


Where to get a voiceover?


1. You can record it yourself.

This is usually the worst thing you can do (if you are not a Hollywood superstar).


2. You can get it from Voicebunny.
  • cheaper
  • faster
  • you pay before you get the voice (but there is the “money back guarantee” if you don’t like it, and they really will pay you back, I’ve tested it, but you will most likely be happy with the voice)

More info about Voicebunny


3.You can get it from Voices.
  • you pay after you get the voice
  • you put there the script and many voice talents (actors) will record a sample for you (40-90 samples from different people)
  • more expensive
  • takes longer

More info about Voices

 


4. You can hire a friend, hot and sexy actress with beautiful voice from your neighbourhood.

This is the best option you have. However, if you don’t have hot and sexy friend actress with beautiful voice from your neighbourhood I recommend using Voicebunny.

More info about your hot acress friend



I have been using voices for long time, but I have started to use Voicebunny because it gives me more flexibility and it’s cheaper. However, what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you, so you should do your math your self.

 

So – there are two ways of putting a voiceover to your video.

  1. Do the video first and then voiceover
  2. Do the voiceover first and then the video



Do the video first and then voiceover

  • Less work
  • Faster
  • No limitations when animating
  • More expensive (at least 150% of the original price)
  • May not be perfectly synced to the video

This method is usually good when you are building your video from a template. For example the templates from videohive.net


The great thing is that you can focus more on video and make all the animations as you planned.
It gives you more space because usually it’s not possible to plan length of every animation in advance.

When you are using text in a video – usually the user should be able to read it. What I mean is – the text shouldn’t disappear too early or stay there too long time. When you animate it this way – then the voiceover should fit pretty well.


Problems you might encounter:

When the voice talent (the guy who’s recording the voice) is trying to synchronise the text with the video and the script is too short – obviously, he has to pause for a while – thats not good.

Or if the text is too long, the voice talent have to read it faster – thats not good too. If you encounter this, you have following options:

  • Request a revision – don’t modify text, just tell the voice talent to read the part slower to make it fit.
  • Request a revision – modify the text to fit the video. But this would cost you some extra cash.
  • Use what you have and put up the volume of music for the silent spot.

 

So that’s why I highly encourage everyone to test the script before you send it to to the voice talent for a voiceover. When you have your video done, read the script loudly as you would expect it from the voice talent. If you will not manage to synchronise your reading with the video – the voice talent will most likely not be able to do it too.

 

Example:

The voiceover used in the preview video for my template “Whiteboard Pack – Make Your Own Story” was done like this.


  1. I have wrote a brief script, not to exact, just to point out what will happen in each scene and what arguments I will point out
  2. I have drawn each scene on a paper and then used it as a reference when I was composing the video in After Effects
  3. When I was done I have rendered the video without sound.
  4. I have uploaded it to youtube and marked it as “unlisted” so only the ones with link can see it
  5. Then I wrote the script. I was trying to fill out the empty spaces with something what would fit the content. This is what I had:

    1. Nowadays, having a full time IT guy
      is very expensive.
      And…Not talking about the whole department…
      The costs go up.. and up… and up…
      …And what if you need one programmer – just occasionally… It’s even more expensive…
      Well… Have you ever tried outsourcing?
      …that is what we are here for.
      We – developers – are here for you.
      We are reliable, we deliver in time… and – we are available anytime.
      Did you know that
      57% of agencies are outsourcing developers?
      So why you should you outsource too?
      First of all, its much more effective, the process is faster and the IT costs are lower.
      And – you can finally focus on what you really need.
      With us, you have guaranteed quality and service level of the projects we deliver.
      … hmm… what can be outsourced in general?
      Basically anything…
      From Cooking… to design and development.
      So what can [accent] we do?
      Nearly anything from simple things [a little pause] to complex projects.
      And what our clients say? They are happy.
      We have successfully delivered many projects to our clients already.
      So – do you need get things done?
      Contact us.
      We are ready to start working.

  6. I went to Voicebunny website and clicked to the “search our voice pool” to browse the voice talent
  7. After I have found the voice I liked I have filled out the form, checked out the option for “sync to a video” and this is what I have put into the “Remarks” section:

    1.  [Please, sync the sentences with the video as they appear] 
      [telling a problematic fact]  Nowadays, having a full time IT guy
      is very expensive.
      [telling more escalated problem]  And…Not talking about the whole department…
      [now you are telling something that you don't like]  The costs go up.. and up… and up…
      …And what if you need one programmer – just occasionally… It’s even more expensive…
      [excited, like you are offering someone a good opportunity]  Well… Have you ever tried outsourcing?
      [excited] …that is what we are here for.
      [self confident]  We – developers – are here for you.
      [confident & persuasive]  We are reliable, we deliver in time… and – we are available anytime.
      [telling a funny fact]  Did you know that
      [accent on this sentence, like it is amazing]  57% of agencies are outsourcing developers?
      So why you should you outsource too?
      First of all,
      its much more effective  [for the sticker #1 in video] 
      the process is faster  [for the sticker #2 in video] 
      and the IT costs are lower.  [for the sticker #3 in video] 
      [telling a revealing fact]  And – you can finally focus on what you really need.
      [confident]  With us, you have guaranteed quality and service level of the projects we deliver.
      [like you are thinking]  … hmm… what can be outsourced in general?
      [telling something great]  Basically anything!… From cooking – to design and development.
      So what can  [accent]  we do?
      Nearly anything from simple things  [a little pause]  to complex projects.
      And what our clients say? They are happy.
      [confident]  We have successfully delivered many projects to our clients already.
      So – do you need get things done?
      [tell this like even my mom would like to call you]  Contact us.
      We are ready to start working.

  8. I have placed the order and made a deposit with a credit card (you can also use PayPal).
  9. The downside is that you need to give them the money as first. But it’s all right – they have the “money back guarantee” so if you will not like the voice, they will give you your money back.
  10. (I have already tested that too heheh so I can confirm that they really do)
  11. I received the firs read – in two parts were a bit too long pauses.


  12. I requested a revision (for free), noted which parts at which time the voice talent should read faster or slower and sent it. This is what I have put into the “Revision Instruction” field when I was sending it for a revision

    1. Hi. The way you recorder is just brilliant. I didn’t expect such a great voiceover.I have a little revision request.At 0:19 “That is what we are here for!”
      Could you please read this part a bit slower? Because now the pauses before and after it seem too long.At 0:34 “So why you should outsource too?”
      Could you please read this again? From some reason, it doesn’t sound natural (I’m not sure how to explain).
      At 1:12 “So… do you need to get things done?”
      Could you please read this part a bit slower? Because now the pause after it seem to be maybe a bit long.Over all, I like it very very much!
      Thank you!

  13. This is what I have received


  14. I  put it together in Adobe Audition and the voiceover was done.
  15. Here’s the final voice.


In this case the process from placing order to receiving final voice took about 8 hours – that is really cool. It’s not always like this, sometimes it might take longer.




Do the voiceover first and then the video.

  • You can have the voice exactly as you wanted
  • Preview everything with voice while you’re doing it
  • Limitations to animating (you need to fit the video into the voice)
  • More work
  • Time consuming
  • You must thing in advance a lot when you are writing the script

 

This method is better if you need to have a perfect voice and exact timing. For example a TV spot, a commercial or when you are building a new product overview video from the scratch. When you have the voice first, you are adjusting all the animations to it. This way you can have more natural simultaneous flow of audio & video.

 


Problems you might encounter:

Sometimes might happen that you will not be able to fit the animation you have planned into the video because the voice (the script) is too short. This happens to me pretty often.

If you have to make the animation shorter – it’s not a big deal.

But when the guy is talking too long (the script is too long) during one scene and you have to make animation longer – that might be a big problem. This can be very dangerous – so think twice when you are writing the script. You need to plan what you will be animating during every sentence of the script.

Nearly every time I tell the client to write a script which should be long 2 minutes when is read – he writes something waaaaaaaaaay too long. Then we have to make cuts and cuts and cuts… So really important thing is to TEST THE SCRIPT. This is really something you shouldn’t underestimate because you might end up missing your deadline and crying under the table. Just take s stopwatch and read it out loud – in a way you would expect the voice talent to read it when recording. Then you will see if its good or if you have to make cuts.

 

Example:

  1. I had a client who wanted a short product overview video. Length should be something about 1min 30sec.
  2. I have told him to write a script and I have instructed him to be VERY brief.
  3. He gave me a script that was waaay too long. It took me 4 minutes to read it.
  4. I have told him to shorten it and also I told him to stopwatch himself while reading it.
  5. Then it was better, we had one more session and the script was fine.
  6. I have used the Voices to get the voiceover.
  7. Then I have created a “Job” on the site and put there the script and placed order.

    1. TIP: Authors at Voices usually use audio watermarks for the samples. And sometimes they don’t keep the original sample without the watermark – when you write them that you picked them they record it again. Usually you like exactly what you have heard in the sample. And when the voice talent reproduces it – it usually is not the same. So I recommend to write a note that they should keep the sample voiceover without the watermark (they usually don’t).
  8. In 24 hours I have received something around 70 samples from different voice talents (actors).
  9. I have narrowed the selection to the best 3 and showed them to the client with my suggestion for the best.
  10. We picked the voiceover we liked the most.
  11. Then I have placed the deposit (send the money to voices) and wrote to the actor that I want his voice.
  12. You can write him for example that you want 3 takes. If you will still not like some part, you can ask him to read just the parts you want corrected. But keep on mind that there is some budget and you shouldn’t ask too much.
  13. So, I have the final voiceover, I have “released the payment” and downloaded it.
  14. Then I prepared it in Adobe Audition (sometimes you need to erase pauses or exchange some parts).
  15. I have placer named markers all over the audio file – so I can visually see where each sentence starts inside After Effects layer. You can place the markers also in After Effects, but it’s more effective in Audition. (If you want a tutorial on this – let me know in comments)
  16. I opened After Effects, imported all the assets I have prepared in Photoshop and also the voiceover.
  17. I have put the voiceover to the Main Composition where and I have started composing.

 

I can tell you that syncing video to voiceover is much more time-consuming than just ordering a voiceover to be synced to the video. But sometimes you just don’t have the choice.



Conclusion 

So as you can see – there are upsides and downsides on both ways of getting the voiceover. Sometimes you can choose the way you prefer, sometimes you don’t have this option. The most important thing to think more about the script in advance.

I hope this tutorial helped you to get started with voiceovers. And if there is something what I can do better – please let me know in the comments. I’m always happy when I can speed up my workflow :)

I will try to put here more tips & tricks in near future like working with markers in Audition & After Effects or trimming & preparing the voice in Audition for After Effects.

 

 

  • http://tommynation.com/ Tommy Stephansen

    Nice tutorial, thanks for sharing it. Also Voicebunny seems interesting.

  • Osman Khalil

    Nice tutorial, thanks

  • Bruce

    Great tutorial. Do you have a link to the person you used for the Voice Over?