TOP 10 Reasons why you shouldn’t record your own Voice Over
“It’s just talking right? I mean it’s my own business or product so I should be the voice! It really can’t be that difficult and this way I can save money too.”
Business forums worldwide are littered with comments such as these. Fellow business owners spout advice on what USB microphone to buy and how they recorded everything themselves at no cost. So why should you do things differently and find actual professional voice actors for your voice over project?
Let’s say that someone has a new piece of software they’ve spent years developing and they want to create a few videos that require a voiceover to be recorded:
An explainer video – perhaps 3 or 4 minutes long and giving an overview of just how brilliant and game-changing the software is
A short advert – 15 seconds to run across social media, perhaps with a bit of advertising budget behind it to get the word out about the launch
5 ‘how-tos’ – video guides for YouTube on how to implement, use and get the best out of the software – these in turn act as adverts for the product. I always look at tutorials before deciding upon software tools as these short tutorials give an insight into the real user experience.
So the software developer now has 7 voiceovers to record.
OPTION 1 – record it themselves, perhaps with a microphone bought off Amazon the day before. Yeah sure, that microphone will make all the difference!
OPTION 2 – engage a professional voice actor. You’d hope that this would mean a far superior experience and end-product in every way. Well, before I get onto how it’s rarely as straightforward as ‘book a voiceover artist’ – let’s take a look at 10 reasons why OPTION 1 might be a terrible idea.
There are many reasons to use professional voice actors
REASON 1 – there’s a reason they are ‘artists’
Voice acting is an art and something that takes years to become highly skilled at. This is because it is so much more than simply talking. You could argue that it takes a degree of innate talent but most of the skills can be learnt if the voice actor is dedicated and willing to put in the necessary years of practice. Beyond talking, these days a voiceover artist wears many hats including (and we’ll get to this) being a sound engineer and producer. Voice actors are expert voice communicators. They have submitted hundreds of auditions and honed their craft. They have undergone training in the many aspects of the business of voiceover.
REASON 2 – image
Think about your competitors for a moment. Or maybe it’s easier to consider the software developer mentioned above. Is it likely that their competitors record all voiceover in-house for things like product launches, adverts, explainer videos, telephone messaging etc? Probably not. They will out-source this to a pro. If instead of booking an experienced voice actor, you record everything yourself, you run the risk of it looking like you are trying to cut corners.
By doing this you are undermining your brand. Content including all videos using voice talent should be something you can be proud of. Even if you are a small or relatively unknown brand you need to kick into aspirational mode. To move your business to the next level, this does not come from recording onto your phone with a duvet over your head.
REASON 3 – objective view
If you voice the project yourself it’s very difficult to detach and consider it from the view of an audience or potential customer. Working with a pro voice actor can be a wonderfully creative collaboration and help you to not get ‘stuck in your own head’.
They can bring something fresh and new and certainly ways of delivering the text that you have never thought of. That’s one of the jobs of an experienced voice actor.
REASON 4 – equipment
Voice actors have invested heavily in pro-grade recording equipment and high-quality microphones so you don’t have to. I have personally spent tens of thousands on equipment in a career spanning over 20 years. Although tech has become cheaper, professional voice artists still need to invest a large proportion of their income on equipment that puts them ahead in terms of recording quality. Experienced voice actors know this and come to cherish their gear, making it ready for your voice over project at no additional cost in terms of studio hire.
REASON 5 – the space
Professional voice talent do not record simply at a desk in a spare room or under duvets and blankets. They create an acoustically treated space – one that deals with cutting down on both unwanted reverberation (echo) and external noise (traffic, computer fan, dog barking, lawnmowers etc). If you are still set on recording your own voice over, that mic off Amazon will likely be so sensitive that it will pick up everything and the end-product will be highly distracting for the listener.
These days most freelance voice actors lay claim to having a professional home studio. I say ‘lay claim’ because there is a chasm of difference from one studio’s output to another. All of our voice actors profiles include pro-grade studios. They wouldn’t get on the platform without them!
REASON 6 – software editing and processing
Of course you can learn how to manipulate audio on the free or low-cost software out there today. Do you really have the time for this? Wouldn’t that time be better spent on the other endless aspects and tasks within your business? Professional voice actors know how to edit, the ins and outs of audio production and how to make the voice punch through – especially useful if you decide to use music to accompany your project.
This audio production, one which most non-pro voice overs simply will not be able to achieve, can massively enhance your brand, support your message and the effect your videos have upon the audience. Like the ‘speaking’ part of voiceover, production technique takes years to achieve a professional level.
REASON 7 – mic technique
A world-class voice actor has worked to master the essential techniques used to make a recording sound decent and pleasant to listen to. For example those pesky plosive sounds (Ps and Bs) can make an otherwise ok recording sound simply awful.
Pros know exactly how to position their mic and how to avoid these issues at source. They have developed their ears to hear the difference between great sounding voice overs and amateur ones.
REASON 8 – experience level
Professional voice talent know what to do with the text, no matter what style of script and whether it is for an explainer video or video game. They can bring it to life and help to make it sound really exciting and engaging – typically they have years of experience to help you achieve exactly what your script needs. This means they know how to deliver the best performance possible for your project because they’ve done it hundreds if not thousands of times before!
If you choose the right voice artist for your project they can also help with minor adjustments to the text as they know and understand the differences between the written and spoken word. It’s what they do all day!
REASON 9 – flexibility and acting skill
Professional voice actors can flex their voices to meet your needs and ultimately the needs of your audience. They listen. They know their voice. They are experts at taking direction and working towards the ‘perfect take’ – finding the right tone and pace of delivery. All voices on Voiceover Profiles® are proven experts at taking direction and being flexible. They have excellent acting skills so when you are looking to find the perfect voice actor why not search our full voiceover directory?
REASON 10 – Money Money Money
All of the reasons above and more help to explain and justify why pro voiceovers charge what they do for their service. If your primary aim is to save on the cost of a voiceover artist, I would urge you to rethink this. A pro voice can improve your conversion-rate to paying customers and if you don’t believe then this you can only try it for yourself! Finally, why skimp? In the same way that the other elements of your branding (website, logo, packaging etc) are important considerations, choosing the voice talent can help to create a certain image and raise your standing in your industry.
Instead of ‘should I hire a voice actor?‘ the question should be ‘what budget can I put aside to hire a voice actor?‘. Engaging professional voice actors should never be an afterthought. Hire the voice artist to act as part of your team.
Does this make you think again about the downsides to recording your own voiceovers? Hopefully it helps to reinforce the difference between professional voice overs and DIY.
CAN YOU THINK OF ANY OTHER REASONS TO HIRE PROFESSIONAL VOICE ACTORS?
USING PROFESSIONAL VOICE ACTORS IN YOUR PROJECTS
Rather than just a video with the words annotated on the screen or an article, voice overs can prove to be a great way to add professional polish and personality to your videos. They can also help with understanding and be far more engaging than text alone as they appeal to different learning preferences and can enhance retention of information. But how do you know which voice over professional is the best fit for your projects? And where do you go to find voice actors who can really deliver the finesse talked of above? How can you be sure they will be able to meet your tight deadlines and complete the job to the highest standard?
There are voice actors and there are voice actors…..quite literally anyone can call themselves a professional voice actor without the training, equipment or experience. Most voiceover directories or Pay to Play (P2P) sites listing voices would accept my 80-year old mother as long as she is willing to pay the $500 dollars to join. All voices on Voiceover Profiles® do not pay one penny to join. They get listed on talent and skill alone.
WARNING! Not all voiceovers are professional voice actors. Skill levels between VOs can range massively. The right voice can make or break a project. When hiring voice talent, you want to search and find the perfect voice with top-drawer audio!
Use Voiceover Profiles® today to find qualified professional voice actors
In the recent application window just 10 made it through the 3-stage process (application, audition and interview) out of 900 applicants! The benchmark I set is very very high. Although booking a voiceover artist can help to enhance your project (in the ways above and more) read on to find out why Booking a Voiceover Artist is a Risky Business! – Voiceover Profiles
We have some of the best voice actors available. View our qualified voice actors profiles and then contact directly to discuss your project. Check our frequently asked questions for more info on how the platform works.
Thanks for reading.
Guy Michaels – let’s connect on LinkedIn
(I’m always looking for professional voice actors to join our platform. If this is you and you think you can meet the sky-high standards then register interest here.)