The Definitive Voiceover Guide 2020

Need a voiceover?

Today you’re going to learn EXACTLY what I do when I need a
voiceover. In fact, I’ve been using either one of these methods
successfully for the past 10 years on HUNDREDS of video projects.

It works for anything you need:

  • YouTube videos
  • Commercial explainer videos for clients
  • Personal passion projects
  • School projects, etc.

A lot of people have been asking me about this and seem to be
having trouble getting a voiceover for their video projects.

But no worries, it’s actually EXTREMELY easy! I promise!

CHAPTER 1

How to record a voiceover yourself

This one might actually scare people off, but trust me, it’s really fun to do once you get the hang of it.

Of course, you first have to consider WHY you want to record the VO yourself and if it makes sense for the video or for your brand. Do people expect to hear f rom you? Are you the face of the brand? If you’re making a video for a client, it’s probably a good idea to skip this step and hire someone externally.

Regardless, if you do decide to record a voiceover yourself, all you need is the following:

  • A quiet, controlled environment in which to record
  • A high-quality microphone (will show you some options)
  • Some basic post-production

Let’s get to them one by one.

Quiet environment

I can’t stress this one enough – you need to have a quiet environment in which to record. People usually forget how important sound is in a video, so they tend to neglect this aspect and record in weird places such as a coffee shop (arghhh!)

You want to record in a silent room, without any other people around. Preferably, without any other people in others rooms too (if you can). No car noises from the outside, no fridge sounds in the background, no people yelling or chatting outside.

If you have a great microphone, believe me, it will pick up even the “hum” sound of your fridge or the AC that’s on in the other room. Again, you want to have it AS CLEAN AS POSSIBLE.

A good microphone

For the love of God, please don’t use the in-built laptop microphone to record your voiceover!

It’s good for Skype calls or anything like that, but that’s about it.

For this step, you will need an external microphone.

However, to have audio that sounds professional to 99% of people, you don’t actually need a professional studio microphone that costs four figures.

In fact, you can get amazing ones for around $100 or less.

Here’s the one that I use: Blue Yeti Microphone

Blue Yeti Black
(it looks so good!)

Here’s the one that I use: Blue Yeti Microphone

And I absolutely love it! Literally, everyone that I know who has any sort of online business or YouTube channel uses the Blue Yeti microphone. If you ask me, it’s the best USB microphone out there! It’s ± $100 and will be well worth the investment.

Other honorable mentions at ±$50 point mark

  • Yeti Snowball
  • Audio Technica

There are literally a ton of new ones popping up every day, so it’s impossible to list them all, but you can’t go wrong with either one of the above!

Blue Yeti Pop Filter

I also recommend using a pop filter, to block our weird breathing sounds or P’s that sound kinda awkward and unprofessional. Yes, it’s that weird thing you’ve probably seen before and always wondered what the hell it is.

If you’d like to see this step in video format, you can do so here:

I’m literally blown away with how great this software is. Of course, it’s not Adobe Audition, BUT – it does absolutely everything you need!

Record and edit your voiceover

Introducing Audacity – it’s free, it’s open-source and it’s absolutely
amazing!

So first things first, when you record the voiceover, you want to make
sure the input is selected to the microphone you use (in my case, the
Blue Yeti). Otherwise, it will use the computer/laptop’s microphone which
we all know is kinda crappy!

Select microphone input to the one you want to use

Audacity
(Open-source)

Audacity Mic Input

After that, the magic happens, you click the big red button to start recording!

After that, the magic happens, you click the big red button to start recording!

Give it a go. Maybe a couple, actually. You will have to do a few takes until you get it right. NOBODY ever gets it right the first time. Even if you think you did, do it again!

Don’t be afraid to take pauses in between sentences, if you need to take a breath, grab a glass of water real quick, etc. You can easily select and delete those pauses later.

Remove Background Noise

Now the real fun begins!

A little bit of post production to really make the voiceover sound better!

The way this works is fairly simple. Works in 2-steps, actually.

A. Generate a noise profile

To do this, you have to select a part of the voiceover that is completely silent, preferably at least 1-second long. This is like “clean noise” and it will instruct Audacity to figure out all the noise in it and use that profile to remove it later f rom the entire VO.

PRO TIP: always leave a few seconds empty at the beginning or at the end
of the recording to use to generate a noise profile

B. Apply Noise Profile

After that, you go on the top menu to Effect -> Noise Reduction

Audacity Get Noise Profile

Leave everything as it is by default and click Get Noise Profile.

Then go again to Effect -> Noise Reduction, and this time on the bottom half at step 2, just click Ok to Apply Noise Reduction on the entire voiceover

Audacity Apply Noise Reduction

CHAPTER 2

Planning Before Hiring

If you don’t want to record the voiceover yourself, that’s understandable.

Plenty of options out there!

And when I say plenty, I mean hundreds, even thousands.

Who do you choose?

And why?

The problem when you have too many options is that you don’t know what to choose.

And with a voiceover, and usually, everything about your brand, you want to think it through before hand.

You don’t just want to jump in and select anyone.

There are a few things to consider.

Most importantly, you want the voiceover to be relevant and relatable to your target audience.

1) Gender

This can get a little tricky. You have to think about your target audience here.

Is it mostly made of men? Women? Is it equally mixed?

If you sell makeup products that an audience of 100% females, it’s not a good idea to get a man to record the voiceover.

Are you talking to a demographic of middle aged men interested in improving their golf swing? Pretty obvious answer again.

However – when it’s a mixed demographic, there’s no wrong or right answer. You’ll have to go with your intuition here. Or simply, just your taste.

2) Age

Again, pretty important.

Making a real-estate investment video that will be seen by 45+ years old high net worth individuals?

Maybe don’t use someone who sounds like he’s in his early 20s.

Making a video for a social media app predominantely used by teenages? Same, don’t use somebody in his or her senior years.

It’s pretty simple really.

3) Style

This one is still connected to your target audience, but also has something to do with the purpose of your video.

Are you selling something?

Are you educating people?

You can tell the voiceover artist to interpret the text in so many ways.

A few words you can use to describe the style: professional, warm, corporate, casual, friendly, upbeat, energetic, enthusiastic, etc.

Don’t rush on this.

CHAPTER 3

Voiceover on a Budget ($25 or less)

Hiring someone externally to record the voiceover for you is a great way to make sure you get a high quality voiceover without any hassle.

Just send your script, some instructions and you’re done!

In this section we’ll look at doing it on a very low budget of around $25 or less.

If you’ve been online for a while, you probably already know what I’m about to suggest. I’m talking about a freelancer marketplace called Fiverr.

Long story short, when it first launched around ten years ago, all services on it cost just… $5! As you can imagine, that’s not a lot of money, so things evolved and prices increased.

Fiverr Logo

However, you can still get some very affordable high quality services on it sometimes. That’s especially true for voiceovers.

So let’s get started

First, you need to sign up and register your new account.

Fiverr Homepage

Then it’s time to browse the talent pool of Fiverr and find some voiceover services. Go to the top navigation menu where it says Music & Audio and click on Voice over

Fiverr Voiceover

Now, you want, you will check out a few options, but ideally, you want to refine your search even more by using filters.

Fiverr Filters

Here, you can select language, gender, age and a lot of other things. But also, most importantly, you can also enter your budget. Keep in mind though the usually the price you see displayed is for 100 or 150 words, so you’ll have to do the math.

Check out a few options, listen to a few demos, see what’s available.

Personally, because I’ve done this hundreds of times and have a ton of experience with voiceover artists, I like to give a chance to new artists as well.

But in your case, if you’re just starting out, the safest thing to do is to get someone with a gazillion reviews.

As you can see below, finding people with more than 1,000 reviews on the platform is not unusual. It’s very hard to go wrong with that!

Fiverr 1K

Once you’re on his profile, you can enter how many words you have on the right, so it calculates the exact price. Once you’re done, just go ahead and order the “gig” (Fiverr terminology).

Fiverr Order

After that, it’s all pretty simple.

Say hi, describe your project real quick, attach the script and send any specific instructions you have.

24-48h later, you get the voiceover sent to your inbox.

It’s as simple as that!

Be nice and leave a review after that, it really helps the artists.

CHAPTER 4

Professional VO with 50+ auditions ($100+)

Now, in this step we’ll discuss the crème de la crème of voiceovers.

This is what we use for all of our clients and sometimes even for own projects.

This is when you want the most professional service possible, have a higher budget and also want options.

Due to the higher budget, we can now get auditions as well.

Let’s get to it!

Same as Fiverr, we will be using a 3rd party provided for this. But this, we’ll use a platform that deals exclusively with voiceovers, which tends to attract the best talent in the world.

You won’t be surprised to find artists on this platform that have worked with some of the biggest brands in the world.

Introducing… Voices.com!

Voices Home Page

Get a free account and on the top right corner, click Post a Job

Voice Post Job

You will have to fill in a form with all the details about your voiceover.

Voices Job Details

Be as specific as possible, because it really helps the voiceover artist and it gives him or her a lot of context to work with.

Once you’re done and you post the job, it’s time to wait for people to send in auditions. In my experience, give it at least 2-3 business days to start seeing a good number of people sending auditions. I rarely ever get less than 50 auditions for projects I post here.

The good thing about Voices.com, is that they read a sample of your script. So you don’t just hear their general demo, you actually hear them reading the words from your project.

Voices Auditions

How cool is that?

Keep in mind, those auditions are usually recorded in a rush. The actual final quality of the recording, both in terms of creative and technical, will likely improve once you select the winner and hire him/her.

A very useful features of Voices.com, when you work on client projects, is that you can select a few good options and make a shortlist that you can send to your client to check.

Voices Shortlist

Not only that, you can also pass it along to your colleagues, partners, friends and get them to vote on their favorite options and choose your voiceover artist like that.

Now It’s Your Turn

So that’s it for my guide to voiceovers in 2020.

Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:

Which strategy from this guide are you going to try first?

Are you going to record more voiceovers yourself?

Or hire professionals to do it?

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

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