Working in the voice over field, you will hear many industry terms, and the more familiar with them you are, the better off you’ll be. Here is a primer of voice over synonyms and other important terms to know to keep you on the top of your voice over game.
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What Exactly is Voice Over
Voice-over is dialogue, usually narration, that comes from an unseen, offscreen voice, character, or narrator. It is an example of non-diegetic sound, which can be heard by the audience but not by the film characters themselves.
That is according to The Columbia Film Language Glossary. This informative definition lets us see how voice over works. When a film, show, even a live stage play, or radio spot has a voice over, it is coming from an unseen character. Sometimes the voice over is a narrator who guides the audience through a documentary. Sometimes it’s an unknown character in a TV show. There are plenty of roles a voice over can take.
Voice over also can also show up in educational videos, corporate instructional videos, podcasts, radio advertising, announcements, and animation. The opportunities with voice over are virtually endless, and it is an excellent production tool.
The technique of voice over serves a lot of different purposes within the production. For instance, it can offer a look into the mind of a character if the character is doing a voice over. It can add information as a narrator in a documentary or share relevant background information in a movie. Of course, in animation, voice over makes the character come alive with speech and personality. Educational voice overs provide instruction and expertise in sharing information and ideas. Radio commercial voice overs share information on products and services to listeners. As you can see, voice overs are not just limited to one field or another.
Voice Over Synonyms
If you are interested in finding voice overs for your work, you should be familiar with voice over synonyms. You often will hear interchangeable or more specific terms, and it’s important to know what each of the voice over synonyms means. We already know what voice over means, so let’s take a look at some of the voice over synonyms.
Similar to voice over, this voice over synonym is a little more specific. Voice acting is a little more geared to the “acting” side of voice over. You’ll hear this term more often when you are working on a fictional piece, and one of the most common roles for voice acting is playing a character.
When playing a character, the voice actor takes on characteristics and tendencies of the character. Whether it’s an audio book, an animated spot, or a movie or show, the voice actor does much of the work a regular actor will do. They must express emotion and make the character come alive with believability. It is much different then say, reading a public service announcement.
Think about Tom Hanks playing Woody in Toy Story or Kristen Bell as Anna in Frozen. These actors apply their screen talents to their voice talents for successful productions. They help the animated characters come alive through the use of their talent and acting skills.
This is another one of the voice over synonyms that you may often hear. Voice over narration is a very popular technique that producers use in films and TV. Some great examples are The Sand Lot and How I Met Your Mother. According to Premium Beat, voice narration can quickly move a film along and get to the plot points quicker. It can also add depth to the character who is narrating. Another benefit of voice over narration is that it can explain back stories quickly. The use of narration is a smart way to amp up a film or show, add new dimension, and save time for other important visual aspects.
Another great difference between voice over and narration is shared by this Bunny Studio article:
The voice-over is a production technique using an off-screen voice that is not part of the narrative as opposed to an actual character with dialogue. A narration tends to be the use of spoken commentary of the entire story to the audience. Either one of the lead characters or a disconnected third-person voice will provide this.
Dubbing sometimes is used as a voice over synonym, but the two are really quite different. Whereas voice over is a noticeable technique used to enhance a piece, dubbing is not supposed to be noticeable. You’ll see dubbing most in foreign films, but also to redo or update the sound of older pieces. According to CareersinFilm.com, Whether it’s relaying dialogue in a native tongue or replacing unusable on-set sound, good dubbing is “invisible” to the ear listening to it.
Dubbing certainly is a voice over skill, yet, it is a unique style of voice over. The dubbing artist needs to have expertise in not only voice skills, but also in timing. For a dubbed film to be successful, the dubbing actor must use his or her vocal talent to mimic the original film actor’s timing. Their lines must stay in sync with the character. No one wants to see unmatched lip movement and action to the words they hear.
This article from our Bunny Studio describes dubbing. Dubbing is much more precise as it maintains the tonal, emotive, and technical richness of the original soundtrack. This is one more difference this article points out, dubbing is more creative and adaptable to new audiences, while voice-over is more loyal to the source content.
If you are looking for a voice artist, you can see how these subtle differences in voice over synonyms can be quite defining. You’ll want to seek out the voice artist who falls into the category of your project.
Other Important Terminology in This Field
If you are thinking of hiring some voice talent, it’s not only important that you are familiar with voice over synonyms, but also other industry terminology. You may hear words your comfortable with, but you also may encounter some unknowns. Here is a guide with help from Backstage.com to help you be best prepared.
Conversational: This is a tone that personifies everyday speech. It is non-announcery. Think everyday conversation.
Director: The person in charge of the project, and he or she will oversee everyone else. Often the same person will have multiple roles. For instance, the director could also be the writer and the producer.
Looping: The recording or re-recording of dialogue (on or off-camera) for a previously filmed scene.
Post-production: The final step in film or video creation. This is often when the voice overs are added to the project.
Producer: The producer is the one with the vision. He or she has come up with this project and hires the other people involved. The producer will probably hire the voice actor, and then the director will step into place. Like the director, the producer can have more than one role.
Session: The time spent recording with the voice actor. Often, voice actors are paid by the session so it is the time they report to the time that the recording time ends. Sometimes the session lengths are set ahead, sometimes they end when the director calls a wrap.
Smile: Literally smiling as you perform the script. Speaking with an actual smile usually triggers a warm, friendly tone of voice.
Tempo: The ebb and flow and rate of speech. This can heavily convey mood in a production. The director will advise the voice actor on what tempo to use.
Hiring the Best Voice Over Talent
When it comes to hiring voice talent, whether it is for a voice over, voice acting, dubbing, or even something else, you want to get the right person. Maybe you are looking to hire a sports announcer for the sports videos you produce or a narrator for your new documentary. These are probably going to be very different voices and the talent will need different expertise. It’s up to you to choose and hire the right one.
The first thing to do is to envision your end product. As you do this, ask yourself, what kind of voice is doing the work? Is it a narration, an announcer, a voice actor, a voice over…Many other questions come with this. Do you want a female voice? A male? Young, old, funny, serious, warm, authoritative? You do have a lot to think about when hiring your voice talent.
Luckily, you can seek out an agency to help you hire your voice talent. Some people know exactly where to go and find perfect voice talents. Others want some help in doing this. You can turn to freelancers or agencies, like Bunny Studio, and you’ll have the help you need in finding the right voice. This is a great way to allow yourself the time on the project for the things you excel at, and let the experts help you find the voice talent.
The Big Takeaway on Voice Over Synonyms
Sure, you could tell someone you want to hire someone for a voice over. And you could probably find some great talent that is a great fit. However, when you can explain upfront exactly what you are looking for, you have a better chance of finding the right talent in a shorter amount of time. Whether you are looking for someone to actually voice over your project, or dub it, or you want a voice actor, the more precise you can be, the better off you are. It’s also important to understand the terms from the other person’s end to make sure you are both on the same page. The more knowledge you have going in, the better off you’ll be. Now go get that perfect voice!