Wednesday, 11 April 2018

How to select a voice for your audio production

For your next audio project you may often be considering a voice to narrate. You may be working on an explainer video showing how certain engineering products work, or a television commercial for an insurance company or even a voice for a nationwide tool brand. The voice will humanise the visual brand identity and enable your audiences to connect sooner with the brand and product. 

How do you choose the voice? We have over 2000 voices in our database so it may look and sound quite daunting. However this simple run down will explain how exactly you can select the best voice for the best price.

1.     What is the audio project? Are you working on a commercial, video production such as an explainer video or IVR work? If so then you will already know your target audience and key demographics. That means it would be wise to choose a voice that matches the targets and audiences. 

2.     Choosing a voice: Head over to our website full of professional and quick voices. Select the voice that best meets your criteria. Then just let us know and we can contact them for availability.

3.     Script to hand? The script is a useful start so that our voices can do a quick demo for you so you can hear what it could sound like.

4.     Directing date? Once the voice has been selected and agreed upon then you can direct the session either in person or by phone or skype. We have many happy clients that dial in at work, on the go and even from abroad to listen to our voices.

5.     Session style? It works well if you introduce the concept to the voice prior to the session so they can gauge where they need their voice and emotional stance to be. Then after a recorded read through a pause to see if that is the style, pace and emotion you are looking for.

We can go through this all with you before the session as well as in the session. We have been selecting, training, recording, editing and voicing for over a combined total of 135 years so we would be happy to help.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Why We Use IpDTL for Voice Over work

ISDN, Source Connect, Skype, Phone patch and IpDTL. There is a whole list of services that we use as a recording studio for our voiceover projects with clients. However the one we find ourselves use more and more on a daily basis is IpDTL.

So what exactly is it? How do you pronounce it? And how can you make it work for you?

IpDTL is an internet based communications provider that allows you to record almost perfect quality audio in various locations. As an ISDN replacement it works rather well. 

IpDTL is an acronym and stands for Internet Protocol Down The Line. It is a bit of a mouthful but as our voiceovers are a talented school they can narrate the name easily. We have often called it IpDittle – to be quick but there is something to be said articulation wise to actually saying I P D T L. If ever there were consonants and a vowel to make you work the mouth muscles, these are them!

We use ipDTL with our voices and clients as well. It makes live recording easier, clearer and cleaner. After much tweaking we find the best way to use it is to open it with Chromium as opposed to Explorer or Chrome itself. We simply send a link, people connect and voila – great connection, with little or no latency and a much more solid ISDN alternative. Just the thing when we are recording our voice over talent.

We still have ISDN but ipDTL works well for us, our voices including international voices and our clients. Simple, easy and effective and we have been using it for four over years and we find it a worthy service.

Using ipDTL is easy as pie (hopefully not a fish pie though). Simply go to the website, select your best option and away you go. For versatile voiceovers, it’s a great choice.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Hello? Can you hear me?

Another genre of Voiceover is the growing use of the human voice when dealing with a phone system. Interactive Voice Response(IVR) and On hold are used to describe technology that allows a telephony system computer to interact with the customer through the use of voice. In the past customers would have had to talk to a switchboard operator or to a reception and have their call re-directed. If the phone were engaged with another call, then they would only hear the engaged tone. As technology moved on companies wanted to ensure that they could efficiently deal with customer inquiries as well as offering a personal touch. The aim is to avoid the customer floundering and knowing where they should be going next audiowise.

With IVR the technology is able to decipher the caller’s speech or touch response and directs the call as needed. Voices are used to enable the customer to hear choices and give clear answers so that the technology can direct them as needed. The voices that are chosen reflect clarity, an engaging tone and friendliness. Products, brands and services tend to choose a voice that is reflective of their brand. It will be the first time many clients will interact with that brand so the voice is key to maintaining that brand umbrella. 

On Hold differs from IVR simply as it does what it says, the moments that the customer is on hold is an opportunity for branding and interaction. As the customer waits on the line, music and/or conversation is played for them while they wait to transferred or held in a queue. The on hold messaging can provide important information to the caller such as a change in the company’s location, opening hours, new products, latest news and more. Humour or entertaining messages can be used to keep the client on the phone. These can be very creative for sound designers and we work on these daily and write our own scripts with up to date news as well as fun news stories and weather updates. Ricky often voices these as he is an experienced newsreader – but you know that anyway.

Don’t leave your customers with a chance to miss out on the key points of your business, service or product.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Explaining the Explainer Video

A recent voice over and video trend over the past decade is the rise of the explainer video. This video is as the name suggests, explains a brand, product or service to the viewer in a short 2D animation format. The style can be as simple or as complicated as you require depending on what information and needs you want to convey. A voice which acts as the brand, product or service representative is there to connect the dots that visually appear in a verbal manner. The aim is to explain to the viewer what the brand, product or service can offer in a clear and concise way.

The video is usually embedded on the client’s website and/or youtube or other social media channel. As the rise of youtube in search functionality and SEO becomes more important we are seeing an increase in the production of these voiceover led explainer videos. Google has made it crystal clear that your company, service or brand will be favoured upon in search functions if there is a related business video and they would be in the know as they own YouTube. These days according to Google, more and more people are using youtube as a search function. It is important to note that this video usage on a clients website is different than if and when it is used on their youtube channel.

The video aims to explain and inform the brand, product or service but it is not an advert. If the explainer video explains then the advert entertains. The advert is much more a conceptual piece or visual art and the explainer video spells things out a lot more. An example would be for a smart phone. The advert would be sleek, entertaining and informative showing off the phone and its key unique selling proposition. The explainer video would a step by step guide about how to use the phone, what it does, how it works etc. Our voices haveworked in both styles so understand the difference – do you?

Explainer video maybe animation driven but this is different from animation videos/work as per below. Voices used are generally engaging, professional and confident yet friendly. An offshoot to this are the myriad of corporate or B2B videos that are also popular. These are similar to explainer videos except they are range from being more informative and about the company. They often show a brand, product and service but are not likely to be a “how to” video which most explainer videos are. We excel in this type of genre as all our voices are very experienced in corporate narration. Examples include videos shown at conferences, in company presentations, from one client to another. You may have seen these in dentists/spas/hairdressers where you see videos showing off the technical product. They are not adverts (see first entry) as they are for a specific business to attract. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

How Voiceovers Work

A few weeks ago we enjoyed the snowy weather and while it has caused a fair bit of chaos we found it a great opportunity to stop and take stock. After a very busy January and February with clients booking our wonderful voices from everything from commercials to video projects and also a huge IVR job, March is when we can take a moment, a beat, a pause, a breathe.

What has been going on at Big Fish HQ this year? So far, our school of voices have been very busy narrating all sorts of projects and our sound engineers editing the audio, working as a team to ensure the clients get the very best productions.  Now as we have a moment to bob along the seabed of audio, many clients ask us how does voiceover work…work? They want to know what they need to do to book our voices and also how it works. Simply, all you need to do is call us and we can sort out your voiceover needs. With over 2000 voices on our books, we have a vast selection of chatty characters to fit the bill. Need a Pope, tradesman, authentic, conversational, premium, quality, versatile voice? We have them all and more. You call, we book, record and send you the final audio. Simples. And you can also listen into your session as well.

This year our voices worked solidly and diligently on varied voiceover projects and we have been impressed with them all. Five things that continually impress our clients and us about our voices;

  1. Consistency; Our voiceovers are consistently on it, whether it be the scrip they have to read to the training to keep their voices in tip top condition. They are serious professionals who work hard for our clients every time.
  2. Taking direction;  Our clients give notes to voices in every session and our voices not only talk for a living but listen, take note and then talk some more.
  3. Flexibility; audio projects and scripts can change depending on what needs the client has. With our flexible voices, these video production or commercial projects are narrated in double quick time.
  4. Delivering more; clients ask our voices to change tone, pace, pitch, delivery and every time our voices come back with choices that the client loves even more.
  5. Fun; we love our voices and we love working with them, friendly, fun and fish loving voice over talent who can have a laugh and a cup of tea with after their sessions.
Whatever your voiceover audio needs, just give us a call, drop us a line, reel us in and we’ll all deliver.

Monday, 19 February 2018

In Time with Voiceovers

We live in a busy world with time pressures and deadlines all around us. If you are a video producer or any other creative then time is a luxury.

Do you sometimes feel that you may need someone to help you with finding a voice over artist?
That is where we come in. Our clients say the following things to us;

1.    So many voices – how do I choose when I have so little time?
We make it easy for you to select a voice tailored to your audience and production. If you are after consistently great voices that understand and deliver then drop us a line.

2.    The production needs to be delivered asap & we still don’t have a voice – help!
We are your Voice Godmother and we know voices that are available instantly and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Do you need to record a voice today? Not an issue - we have the solution. We have at least 2 voices (male and female) primed to record daily. 

3.    The process takes ages with so much  back and forth – what can I do?
Simples – just let us know and we can take care of it. We have in house voices that are around and many of our voices are recording daily so we know they are available.

4.    We need scripts in 4/5/6/7 + languages – can you do that?
Yes because not only do we have voices but we also have teams of translators who can properly translate text into and from various languages.

5.    Anything else?
We are a friendly fun team who have a slight obsession with fish. But you probably already knew that.

Call,email, social media message us or even send us a message in a bottle and we can take care of your voice over needs.

Friday, 15 December 2017

It's a wrap!

Another year has flashed by and many voices and voiceover projects have come through our doors here at Big Fish Media HQ. We have laughed, cried and cheered throughout many sessions. We take a look back at some of 2017’s most interesting and illuminating voiceover moments.  

1.    A perfect 30 seconds! – This accolade belongs to a number of fine wonderful conversational voices who nail it every time. To be able to reach the pinnacle in voiceover is to be able to speed up or slow down and make it sound effortless and within time and did I mention conversational?! All our voices hit their time marks and do so easily and consistently.

2.    “Just taking the fish for a walk” – our jolly voiceover companion at all times is our dear friend Fishy Wishy who not only looks down at us while we work and provides us with a daily tongue twister but likes to pop out and about every so often for some fine voiceover photos – or should that be fin photos?

3.    “Can you just jiggle that cable?” – A phrase our studio engineers have become well versed in. Our wonderful sound engineers are skilled in the wonderful art of audio with impeccable hearing to sound out any mouth sounds, breaths and even an odd squeak. However should anything go down with the desk, the ISDN, the Ipdtl or skype they are pretty handy in the electronic department and nothing a good jiggle can’t sort out. The voiceover aquarium is indebted to them.

4.    Voice Adders? – When talking to one of our video production clients we were interrupted by someone who asked if we provided voice adders. Well our voices can shed their characters like a snake sheds their skin but this was perhaps a little too far. However as our wonderful voiceover talent are vocal chameleons who years of training including acting and voice training them maybe we should be Big Adder Media.

5.    Going wild? – For a lot of our video productions we always ask wild or to picture. Syncing or voicing to picture to an already final video or animation means a lot more work as everything needs to be checked and re-checked and then checked again to make sure it fits. Voicing wild means that the voice can speak at whatever pace the client wants and then the video is cut to fit them. With our wonderful wild voices you know that it will fit.
This year the Big Fish Media aquarium of voices provided clients with voices. Many thanks to all our wonderful voices and clients – see you all in the New Year!