Have you seen those voice-overs for sports where the voice actor uses a tone that does not communicate the intensity of the game? Or maybe you’ve seen one where the actor’s voice is slower than the video? It’s very disappointing either way.
Voice acting for sports is probably one of the hardest genres you can attempt as a voice actor. Yes, you may be talented, but it’s a challenging field.
As a sports commentator, it’s hard to match the emotion and energy on the field and also clearly communicate what is going on. The good news is that voice acting for sports can be as easy as any other voice acting. It only requires practice, passion, concentration and as always a good script.
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Common Problems With Sports Voice Over
As a sports voice actor you may have excellent equipment, good directors and even better voice over software, but still produce poor quality results.
Wrong Tone (and Timing)
Most voice overs do not synchronize the tone of the actor with that of the character.
Usually, the characters involved in sports are very enthusiastic, energetic and moving very fast. This may and almost always translates into the voice-over seeming somewhat forced. The actor gets so caught up trying to keep up with the action that they forget to do a good job.
Remember that sports are very emotional.
The audience loves and identifies with sports characters. Most of the audience worship these players as role models, meaning they have an imprint of the player’s character at the back of their heads.
The solution to tone in sports voice-overs is to use a very high pitched and cheerful kind of tone.
Always observe the state of the game and reflect it in your voice. The player may be a little fatigued after a game, or very excited before a game or even a little calm in an interview, show it.
When it comes to timing, poor rhythm reflects a weak script.
To avoid the time problem, take the time to edit your script adding time stamps on your descriptions such that you won’t lose the sense of timing and end up confusing your audience. You should also be aware of your pace which you can even calculate.
Pronunciation can make your voice over for sports look very amateur, which in turn draws your audience away. Players come from many backgrounds and nationalities. This means that they may have tough names to pronounce. Remember your audience is very passionate about sports and they, therefore, know their players well.
Sports voice over is suitable for actors who know one or two things about the game.
This happens when the voice actor says something they were not meant to and ends up stammering. It kills the expectations of the audience, which is not on your agenda. In a fast-moving environment, a sports actor cannot afford to run off-course.
What can you do to avoid contradicting yourself or mispronouncing words in your voice over?
The solution to pronouncing words correctly is practice. As a voice actor, ensure you go through your script and pick out the names or words that you are likely to mispronounce, which you should then research properly and practice until you can pronounce them like a pro. This can be best done just before the recording.
You don’t want your sports voice-over to appear amateur.
The solution to such is to use very high-quality microphones that can have pop filters and shock mounts added to them. Also, ensure that you use good voice over software for editing.
Some sports voice-overs tend to get ruined when the sound of the voice actor suddenly becomes hoarse or changes. Such is caused by vocal fatigue where an actor starts so well but is worn out towards the end the voice over. The audience may have become accustomed to your voice and may even have been having fun listening to you, which means the sudden change in voice also causes a sudden loss of interest in your audience.
How to solve vocal fatigue in your sports voice over:
- The first way to combat vocal fatigue is practice.
Sports players are very enthusiastic, energetic and passionate in their careers, and it’s all because they practice. Ensure you have had enough practice before going to record your voice over. This makes it more comfortable while recording.
- The second way is always to assume a good sitting posture while doing the recording.
A good sitting posture ensures proper breathing and prevents both physical and vocal fatigue. Consistency in breathing minimizes the chances of your voice changing in the middle of a read.
- The third and last way is to ensure the health of your vocal cords.
You can do this by keeping yourself hydrated even during the recording, avoiding caffeinated and eating healthy, including a lot of fruits and vegetables.
Other Tips to Improve your Sports Voice-over
Other than being good just before recording or during a recording, there are some qualities that, as an actor, you can work on even in the long term to improve your career.
Be a team player.
It is almost certain that as a voice actor, you will work with other people at one point or the other. This means that to succeed, you will have to learn to work with other professionals, be it editors or even directors. Being generous can go a long way in helping you achieve this.
Being a team player simply means learning how to take direction.
A collaborative habit will make your work as a sports voice actor stimulating as well as enjoyable. Even if you are not familiar with the sports industry, you only need to be willing to learn. It may seem like a small detail, but if you don’t take the gig seriously, this will reflect in your voice.
If you are sure you want to specialize in sport’s voice-overs, it is imperative that you create a connection with that particular sport. Observe and listen to other sports voice-overs and borrow their techniques.
Some times the script is just not adequate.
This means that as a voice actor, you may have to improvise. This is nothing new in sports voice-overs where the game keeps changing. Improvisation, when done poorly, can bring about contradictions and repetitions, turning away your audience.
So how can you improvise without compromising the quality of the voice-over?
Use a lot of humor
Voice overs for sports that are funny tend to have a larger audience than those that do not.
Unfortunately, coming up with a funny voice over for sports is not as easy as taking a walk in the park. It requires a lot of research and detailed research at that.
You can use highly embarrassing moments in sports and add your own element of surprise to make it unique.
Lastly, as a voice-over actor, inculcate in yourself an element of concentration. Teach yourself to focus on the scene and script while doing your recording to produce better results.
In conclusion, the voice acting of sports can become better, exciting, exciting and humorous. As a voice actor, especially in the sports industry, you need to work on yourself both in the short term and long term, both physically and intrinsically, and also use the best equipment and editing software.