“I hate hearing what I sound like on camera” is a comment we hear a lot from clients or “I didn’t realise my accent was that bad” is another. You’d be surprised how many people just don’t like it when they watch themselves on a video. Particularly when we are doing a video production in Birmingham, people automatically think that they are recreating a scene from Peaky Blinders or doing an Ozzy Osborne impression. Whilst there is a move towards a general acceptance of regional voices in the media these days, there sometimes is a need for a more balanced voice over to go with a corporate video because it may need a generalist appeal or it may even be used internationally. This is where a professional voice would come in.
First of all, let’s go back to the need for a voiceover in a corporate video production. It’s my personal taste that a promotional video needs a voice, it needs a narrative from a voice to keep the viewer engaged. Marketing videos that just have images and music just don’t hold my attention and it doesn’t matter how well filmed or edited they are, I always feel that there is something lacking. Like I said, it’s just my personal opinion. There are plenty of examples of amazing videos that are just that – music and images but it doesn’t do it for me. You can read about the importance of music in a corporate video production in one of our previous blogs here as well. A voice in the video can really help to tell the story though, it can be saying one thing while the pictures show something else meaning that you can get a double whammy of information across to the viewer. Conversely, it can back up or emphasise a key point if the pictures are reinforcing what is being said in the video.
There are two options for voices in a video. Key stakeholders in the video or the project can give soundbites about what is taking place. We would interview the relevant people and get their short soundbites to include in the final edit. It’s a bit like a news item on the TV when the interviewer gets the opinions of the organiser or the eye witness to give credibility to the story.
The other option is to use a professional voice over artist. This brings an air of professionalism to a video and overcomes some issues like regional accents, stuttering or stumbling over words and being able to get across exactly what needs to be said. Whichever direction you choose to pursue, there are merits for both.
When you use ‘ordinary people’ who are involved in the project, you never quite know what you are going to get. You could get a ‘good talker’ who is comfortable in front of the camera, very good at public speaking and knows their subject inside out. You could however get the opposite and it takes hours to get 30 seconds of a soundbite, it’s not their fault because it’s not actually their job but this is the gamble that you take. One thing that you do get though is authenticity, the viewer buys into what the video is trying to promote because they see that person involved is speaking about it. It makes it more believable and engaging and that is usually what the video is all about – engaging with the viewer.
Using a professional voice over artist offers different options. You are guaranteed to get the perfect soundbites, the perfect tone and no stuttering. They will work from your script so you can tell them exactly what to say and if you aren’t happy you can get them to re-record it. It will also add an air of authority to your video and, if you have the budget, you can even get a famous voice to bring greater credibility to your video project. Conversely though, it may reduce your authenticity score because it will sound a little staged rather than natural. This will often depend on the type of project, the style of video and what you are trying to convey.
There are cases when a professional voice over is definitely needed though. Take animated videos for example, if you have had something created to demonstrate your product or service then a professional voice over will certainly make all the difference to the final video edit. Using a non-professional for a project like this often cheapens the video’s effect and appearance of the animation can be diminished – believe me we’ve tried! One thing to always bear in mind is that if you are using your video on social media in particular, always include subtitles on the video. Many videos are watched with the sound turned off so if you have people speaking, your viewer can at least still see what they are saying.
Like I said earlier, much like the music in a promotional video, the use of a voice over in a video does come down to personal taste. There will be some people who don’t think it’s necessary and others who do. It’s best to take the project, the audience, the platform it will be viewed on and the content into account before you make a decision and once you have made that decision then take into account these options for what you’d like to do.
Blog writer: Adam Snelleksz is a director of CMA Video and has worked in marketing for over 20 years. He has worked in video production in Birmingham for five years with CMA Video and has been using video for marketing for nearly 10 years. He also set up the video TV channel Blues TV, the official online channel of Birmingham City Football Club. Some of the projects that Adam has used promotional videos for include the Birmingham Half Marathon, the European Gymnastics Championships and the World BMX Championships.
Our video marketing blogs have been recognised as one of the Top 50 Video Marketing Blogs on the internet. We hope you enjoy reading them and gain valuable insights into what we do here at CMA Video and show that we’re not just another Birmingham video production company but we do more from animation videos to event filming, video strategy to social media video campaigns.