Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Let's Get Physical!"

Some of us remember the old Olivia Newton John song, "Physical," from way back when. It was a song full of sexual tension and play. Here's the chorus line.

"Let's get physical, physical, I wanna get physical, let's get into physical. Let me hear your body talk, your body talk, let me hear your body talk" 

Why am I posting this on a voice over blog? Folks are often surprised to see all the physical movements that voice over artists use in the booth. Established Hollywood actors often find voice over quite challenging. That makes sense. Think about it. If you're on camera, you have both sound (your voice) and visual (body movement) coming into play. With voice over, visual is not a factor. So, there's that additional requirement of needing to convey the emotion through words alone. Not always an easy task.

Beginning voice over artists are often told by their coaches to go ahead and get physical. (Not the kind Olivia sang about but you get the idea.) Move those hands! Make those facial expressions as you voice! In other words, don't just stand at the microphone!  It all comes through in the recording. So it should come as no surprise to see expert voice over talents gesturing a lot in the recording booth. 

Here's an experiment. Grab some copy for an auto dealership ( or write a paragraph or two) where the direction is "High energy-over the top" with the delivery. You've no doubt heard these hard sell spots on your TV. (Yep, the loud, annoying ones). Now, put both your hands in your pocket and try voicing with that high energy direction in mind. I'm sure you'll find that the hands in your pocket will clamp you down considerably. It's much more productive to get those hands moving as you read. It's the same reason why many VO artists record standing up. Sitting down can cramp your style. Studies have shown there is a direct correlation between your vocal chords and body movement.

When I was in high school, I used to get teased for talking with my hands. When I entered the voice over world, I realized that talking with your hands can make you money. Not a bad trade.

So, go ahead, get physical when you voice that copy! 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A great audio pronunciation guide

For those of us who voice scripts for a living, there's a very handy website to bookmark. It's called Forvo.
All the words in the world. Pronounced
You'll find audio pronunciations of words from all over the world. Lately I've been voicing some Japanese to English corporate video scripts and this site has been helpful.

Check it out here .

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Levelator

A useful little application I sometimes use here in my studio is called The Levelator. You can drag and drop a WAV or AIFF file into it and it will "equal out" the overall volume of a file like magic. This is especially useful if you were to have multiple voices  at different volume levels.

I sometimes will use this when I'm speaking very softly at the microphone but want the volume of my recording to be elevated. The best way to see what it can do for you is to try it out. You can download it here. There's also a more detailed explanation as to what it does.