How to Record Voiceover Narration for Your Marketing Video

Many marketing videos employ voiceover narration, using offscreen narrators to tell viewers about the company’s products or services. If you want to use a voiceover in your video, you have two options:

  • Record your own voice. This option is appropriate if you have a trained, pleasant-sounding voice and a limited budget. Make a trial recording of your script, and let a trusted colleague or friend judge whether it sounds good for your video.

  • Hire voiceover talent. You can find talented speakers, such as professional radio announcers, online or via voiceover recording studios. Visit a site such as Voices.com or Voice123 to find a broad selection of voices.

    As with music selection, the speaker you select must match your company’s products and services. Choosing a teenage voice to sell a mutual fund product — or choosing a grandmotherly voice to market the latest popular computer game — isn’t likely to work.

    The speaker should allow you to use the recording royalty-free. Expect to pay between $100 and $1,000 for a voiceover narration, depending on the length of the script and the experience and quality level of the speaker.

Most video editing programs have a voiceover recording feature, which is useful if you’re recording your own voice directly into your computer.

In iMovie, you can access this feature from the Microphone icon in the middle of the screen. Use the voiceover control box to set parameters such as the volume level or the degree of noise reduction (which is useful to get better sound quality). The editing program plays your video while you’re recording, so you can time your narration.

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If you’re working with a professional voiceover artist, send that person the script with timing instructions. Professional speakers usually record scripts in their (home) recording studios according to your specifications. Sometimes, the first read delivered by a professional speaker doesn’t match the style you want. Include a second read in your negotiated rate, in case you need to modify the speaking style.

To record your own voiceover, invest in a mid-quality external microphone. In addition to more advanced solutions, you can buy good USB microphones well below $100 — a worthy investment because your voiceover tracks will sound much better.

Even if you work with a professional voiceover artist, record your own voice on the video as a demonstration of the timing you want. You can send the video with your narration to the voiceover artist to specify exactly what you need. Your own recording can serve as a proxy while you’re editing, and you can have a copy of the professional voiceover recording when your edit is finalized.

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