Voice over narration is the art of adding a storyteller’s presence to a video or recording. Essentially, it’s a voice that plays OVER the initial video recording. Any time you hear a narrator explaining a character’s perspective – and whenever an off-screen voice tells us the plot – that’s voice over narration.
It’s a versatile narrative technique that conveys a theme and message as quickly as it adds artistic flourish to a project. And voice over narration isn’t limited to TV and film.
While documentaries and dramatic Morgan Freeman-style voice overs are some of its best-known examples, voice over narration has applications in virtually every industry. From eLearning videos to customer service telephony, voice over narration is everywhere. It’s the bridge in a visual medium that connects the objective idea of a brand or service with human thoughts and feelings. There’s a reason that anytime you’ve seen a Nike commercial with an overarching voiceover, you’ve felt a personal connection to the subject.
Why is Voiceover Narration Used?
Voice over narration is more than an effective method of storytelling – it draws viewers into an immersive experience. It builds a connection with people and gives them access to an extra level of sensory perception that they wouldn’t be privy to otherwise. It shows them more than what’s on-screen and perceivable with their own two eyes and connects with them on a deeper and more intrinsic level.
Documentary filmmakers may use it to relay information about an obscure subject – brands use it to make themselves relatable to potential clients and customers. The reasons we hear voiceover narration in the media vary as much as the topics it’s recorded for.
As well as its use in TV and film as a world-building technique, voice over narrations are equally well-used in commercial media and the business world. Sometimes, the intention is to tell a story – sometimes voiceover is used to explain intrinsic details about a product. It doesn’t matter what the purpose is – onboarding new hires or bringing our favorite books to life – voice over narration is everywhere.
Where is Voice Over Narration Used?
Believe it or not, voice narration is essential in every industry – and used in as many places as there are stories to tell or lessons to be taught. The scientific and pharmaceutical industries use it to animate research studies for grants or testing approval, and online institutions use it to bring their text to life. Documentary films use it to explain complex topics and educate viewers – commercials use it to pitch the benefits of their products or services to consumers quickly and efficiently.
What are the Other Types of Voice Over Narration?
From e-Learning videos to audiobook performances, voice over narrations cover a spectrum of vastly different areas, some of which we hear every day and never even notice. The private sector relies on numerous types of voice over narration, which the average person is often not always aware of because they have become a standard part of business models. Here are a few of them.
What are Corporate Voice Over Narrations?
Corporate voice over narrations can be either internally facing (for employees and presentations) and exhibit a well-defined international company presence, or be outward-facing and point towards consumers, customers, and potential acquisitions.
What are Voice Over Narrations for Business?
Voice over narration for business is similar to corporate narration, but slightly more defined and smaller in scale. It’s typically client-facing and identifies with the imagination of customers to build a sense of trust between them and a brand.
What are Website Voice Over Narrations?
Any time you’ve seen a crowdfunding video on Kickstarter, or interacted with a startup’s website video, it’s more than likely that you’ve heard a website narration in action. They’re a great way to show potential investors and customers what sets them apart from the competition and why what they do is so important.
What are Voice Over Narrations for Audio Guides and Tours?
From factory and museum tours to insights about a company’s or an artist’s work, narrations for audio guides and tours are one of the most popular ways to learn about a new place or thing – while you’re already there. They’re quickly becoming one of the most sought-after services in the tourism industry because they make it possible for travelers to explore a new city on their terms.
What are Product Voice Over Narrations?
As the eCommerce world becomes exceedingly commonplace, one of the most proactive ways brands have sought to maintain independence from their competitors is through product narration. It adds an extra level of depth that regular commercials, listing copy, and instructions don’t match up to.
What are App Narrations?
Whether it’s for Google Maps or a guided meditation app, voice over narration for apps is virtually as synonymous as the word hands-free. Because app narrations make it possible to access essential (and non-essential) phone services on the go, they’ve become as important as the coding itself.
Why is it Called Voice Over Narration?
The term voice over (also spelled voiceover and voice-over) refers to the editing technique of adding a recorded voice over the original video. So when we look at voice over narration, it’s the act of adding an off-screen narrative into the story (or commercial) through editing. Whereas voice over is the method of adding audio to an animated character, localization dub, or on-screen element in need of a voice actor.
What are Other Names for Voice Over Narration?
Because of how widely used voiceover narration is throughout every industry (and more than a few countries), it’s picked different names over the years. In French cinema, it’s called ‘voix hors champ’ – in Spanish-language industries, it’s called ‘narración.’ Voice over narration has more than a few names and industry terms used interchangeably.
Some of the other domestic terms used to refer to voice over narration include:
Narrative Voice Acting
Off Camera Narration
Can Anyone be a Voiceover Artist?
In theory, anyone can be a voiceover artist – in the same way, anybody can sing. Contrary to popular belief, it takes more than a strong voice and commanding presence to make it as a voice over narrator. While people might assume the prerequisites are a natural voice talent and an eagerness to work – voiceover requires years of practice. It takes coaching, professional equipment, and, most importantly, an ear for linguistic details. Even then, there’s no guarantee that you’ll make it as a professional voice over artist.
What are the Chances of Being a Successful Voice Over Actor?
Even with all the natural talent in the world, years of practice, and professional equipment at your fingertips, the odds of booking a voice over job through pay-to-play sites are more than 100 to one. That said, it’s not impossible. With enough dedication to the craft and perseverance to work your way up the industry, it’s possible to make it as a professional voice actor.