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How to Create High-Quality Voice Overs for Animated Videos

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Creating a captivating voice over for an animated video involves much more than simply reading a script aloud. The voice over (often a professional voice...

Creating a captivating voice over for an animated video involves much more than simply reading a script aloud. The voice over (often a professional voice actor) sets the tone, provides context, and adds depth to the video content. The voice acting and sound effects can transport the audience into the world of the animation, making the explainer video or animated film come to life.

How many words per minute does the voice need to be?

The ideal pace for a voice-over in an animated video is between 150 to 160 words per minute. This speed is considered optimal as it's neither too slow nor too fast for the average listener to comprehend. However, this can be adjusted depending on the context and the intended audience. For instance, a fast-paced commercial may have a quicker speech rate, while a tutorial or educational content may require a slower pace to allow for comprehension of complex information.

Purpose of Voice Overs

The purpose of the voice over in animated videos is multifold. It helps in telling the story more effectively by complementing the visuals, provides explainer content, guides the viewer through the video, and often, persuades the viewer to take a particular action. In the case of a tutorial or e-learning content, the voice over is instrumental in explaining complex ideas in a clear and understandable manner.

Identify Your Target Audience

Before diving into voice over creation, it's crucial to identify your target audience. The target audience informs the tone, style, and pace of your voice over. Are you creating an explainer video for a technical product aimed at software engineers? Or is it a fun and colorful animated video for children? Perhaps it's a subtitled Disney-style animated film for an international audience, or maybe a voice over video for a social media ad campaign. Each audience requires a different approach.

Length and Pace of the Voice Over

For a standard animated video, the voice over should ideally be between 150 and 160 words per minute. This pace is comfortable for most listeners to follow along without feeling rushed. It translates to a script of around 225-240 words for a 90-second explainer video.

As a rough guide, your animated video should be about 1-2 minutes long, hence, the voice over should follow this duration. However, the length can vary based on the video's purpose, complexity of the topic, and the audience's attention span.

Define the Goal of Your Video

The goal of your animated video will significantly influence your voiceover. Is it to educate (as with e-learning content or a tutorial), to sell (video marketing), or to entertain (video games, animated films)? Defining the video's goal early on helps customize the voice over to align with the desired outcome.

Steps to Create a Voice Over for an Animated Video

  1. Write the script: Based on your video content and the audience, start with writing a script. The language should be engaging and easy to understand.
  2. Storyboard: Create a storyboard to visualize how the script aligns with the animated video. This will also help the voice actor or voiceover artist understand the pacing and when to emphasize certain parts.
  3. Choose the right voice: Depending on the nature of the video, choose a suitable voice. You can use your own voice, hire a professional voice actor, or even use AI voices or text-to-speech (TTS) software.
  4. Record the voice over: This can be done in a home studio or a professional setting. Use high-quality audio recording equipment to ensure clear sound, minimizing any background noise.
  5. Add sound effects and background music: These elements can elevate your video by enhancing the mood and reinforcing the message. Remember, however, not to overshadow the voice over.
  6. Sync the voice over with the video: Use video editing software to align the voice over with the video content.
  7. Review and adjust: Watch the complete video to ensure everything flows well together. Make any necessary adjustments.

How long should the voice over be?

The length of the voice over should ideally match the length of your animated video. On average, animated explainer videos are about 1-2 minutes long, so the voice over would align with this duration.

To calculate the script length for the voice over, you can use the typical speaking pace of 150-160 words per minute. For instance, a 1-minute video would require about 150-160 words, and a 2-minute video would need around 300-320 words.

Remember, these are just general guidelines. Depending on the complexity of the topic, the audience's attention span, and the purpose of the video, your voice over could be shorter or longer.

Top 8 Voice Over Software/Apps

  1. Adobe Audition (Windows, macOS): Adobe Audition is a comprehensive toolset for audio production, including voice-over recording and eliminating background noise.
  2. Audacity (Windows, macOS, Linux): This free, open-source software offers a range of audio recording and editing features.
  3. GarageBand (iOS, macOS): GarageBand is a fully equipped music creation studio and also a great tool for voice-over artists.
  4. WavePad (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS): WavePad is a full-featured professional audio and music editor for beginners and learners alike.
  5. Logic Pro X (macOS): A complete professional recording studio on the Mac, it provides advanced tools for writing, editing, and mixing professional voice overs.
  6. iMovie (iOS, macOS): While primarily a video editor, iMovie also has voice-over recording features.
  7. PowerDirector (Windows, Android): A powerful video editing software that also supports voice over and audio editing.
  8. VoiceOver - Record and Do More (iOS, Android): This app is ideal for creating voice overs, adding sound effects, and even converting text to speech.

Remember, creating the perfect voice over for an animated video takes time and practice. So, whether you're a beginner starting your journey or a professional voice-over artist working on animation projects, don't be discouraged if you don't get it right the first time. Happy recording!

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.