Do you have a question about our voice-over recording services?
Check out our frequently asked questions to see if you can find the answer…
If it speaks – we can record it!
Our agency can record all types of voice-over, for all types of project including: documentary, e-Learning and training, corporate, advertising, telephone messaging and IVR, computer games and broadcast.
There are five different ways of recording voice-over for video projects:
– wild voice-over narration – not recorded to picture and with no timing constraints
– time-synced voice-over narration – recorded to picture
– UN Style voice-over – recorded to picture
– phrase-sync dubbing – the phrase is in sync with the mouth movements, but not exact
– lip-sync dubbing – the most difficult process where the mouth movements are exactly synced to the audio.
The method you choose is a matter of budget, taste, and the audience’s preferences.
A WILD recording is where the script is read aloud by the voice artist at a natural pace. If the voice-over is being recorded WILD, there is no way to know its length, so any visuals within the video, animation or presentation will have to be edited to fit the timings of the voice-over. This could be very difficult and time-consuming if the editor does not understand the language involved. In this case some preparatory work may be required to the scripts, to make it clear where transitions in the visuals take place.
Recording to strict time constraints (STC), is when the voice-over is recorded to picture, to ensure it synchronises to the the original audio of the video. This ensures that what is being said, matches the correct section of the video picture. Recording to STC takes about twice as long as a WILD recording, because the voice artist will have to retake sections to get the audio timed correctly to the video pictures.
The original speaker can still be heard in the background so that the audience is aware that the translated voice-over is acting as an interpretation of what is being said.
A UN Style voice-over, is a perfect fit for films with a serious subject matter, and it’s often used in documentaries and in news broadcast, where interviews are conducted on camera, in a language the target audience does not understand.
The actors’ voices are replaced (dubbed) with those of foreign actors. Lip-sync dubbing is commonly used in video games, animations, and films, as well as corporate dramas and e-learning video.
Lip syncing requires extensive preparatory work to adapt the scripts to fit with the actor’s lip movements. Producing a lip-sync recording is a very time consuming process, it can easily take six times longer than standard voice-over to produce. And the quality of the final result is sometimes questionable, you never really get a perfect lip-sync.
Western cinema goers generally prefer subtitles or closed captions instead of lip-sync dubbing, but lip-syncing is preferred by many other cultures, particularly if the literacy of the audience is low.
Phrase-sync dubbing is similar to lip-sync, but the new voice-over is not matched to lip movements, it’s simply matched phrase by phrase, so it is not as costly to produce as lip-sync.
This is primarily dependent on the availability of the selected voice artist. We have two recording studios so we can schedule projects at short notice. Usually we can turn-around urgent projects in just 24 hours. Most projects will require two to three days to schedule, record and post produce.
We can deliver the audio as a raw, unedited Pro-Tools session file, or we can clean, edit, name and deliver the audio in any format and resolution you require.
We can also re-integrate the audio back into the video, and encode the final video in any video file format and resolution you require.
To learn more about how we clean and edit our voice-over recordings, and why it makes for better sounding voice files please click here
For time-synced voice-over, we’ll need you to supply the script and the video files. The video should be supplied to us as a compressed QuickTime .mov file, ideally under 100Mb, as this is the only file format compatible with our Pro-Tools recording software. We can convert the video into a .mov file here, if you cannot supply it in this format.
Yes, we only ever work with voices native to the country or region required.
Most of our English speaking voice artists are based in the UK, and we record them at our Reading studios.
For foreign voice-overs we have a variety of solutions. We have an extensive network of native speakers who work in the UK and record at our studios. We also have a network of partner studios abroad, and voice talent based in-country, with their own professional recording facilities. This diversity allows us to offer our customers a greater variety of voices and languages, and the ability to find a solution to the tightest of budget restrictions.
Yes, we welcome clients to our studio, where you can direct the recording in person. You can also direct the session over the phone or using Skype if preferred.
Firstly, we trust our voice talent; they are all professionals and rarely make mistakes. Our sound engineers listen very carefully during the recording process and spot errors made as they happen, and then retake those sections. At the end of the session the performance is listed back again, to check for any errors missed during the recording phase.
When we’re producing a foreign language recording, naturally the sound engineer is unlikely to speak the language in question. So we have a ‘listening back’ phase, where the engineer and the voice artist review the recording, and retake for any errors. Optionally, we can supply native linguistic directors, to assist with directing the voice talent or to check back the quality of the audio, before we deliver it back to you.
Usage fees (also sometimes called “buy-out” fees) are an additional fee payable to a voice artist for the use of their voice in TV, Radio, Website, in-flight or Cinema broadcast; Museums, Events, Exhibitions & in-stores; or video game, DVD, Film or a sell-through product. Every union has their own guidelines on usage rates. Typically we recommend allowing 100% of the voice artist recording fee for usage in your budget, but this is a guideline only and the actual cost is often dependent on the voice talent selected, and exact details of the usage. For more information about usage fees, take a look at this blog post.
ISDN stands for Integrated services digital network. It is a set of communications standards used to broadcast voice data over telephone lines. ISDN has been used for many years to produce high quality audio recordings between studios. It requires the installation of specialised equipment and decoders, and the calls costs to far flung countries can be expensive.
Source Connect similarly allows studios to connect across the world, and produce professional audio recordings, but Source Connect uses a broadband internet connection instead. This means there are no call charges.
Assuming you already have a microphone and a PC, you will just need the Source Connect software.
We first have to review the scripts and the video (if applicable), to determine the recording and post production time required to produce the voice-over project.
We can typically record:
2,000 – 2,500 words of narration (15-20 minutes of audio) WILD (no time constraints)
1,000 – 1,500 words of narration (10-12 minutes of audio) to STC (strict time constraints)
… In a ONE hour recording session. For other types of voice over the word-count maybe less e.g. commercials or lip-sync recordings can take longer.
Costs for the production are dependent on the voice artist selected, and the level of service required. Rates are typically as follows:
RECORDING COSTS (Includes the Voice, Studio & Engineer)
1 hour recording: £210 – £310 GBP
3 hour recording: £630 – £730 GBP
6 hour recording (one day): £860 – £960 GBP
ISDN recording: + £20 per hr (not including call charges)
POST PRODUCTION COSTS
Clean, and edit the audio: £60 GBP per 10 minutes of finished audio or per 40 files.
THIS short video explains what work is involved in cleaning and editing audio to a professional standard.
Mix recorded audio with background music and integrate to video: £60 GBP per 20 minutes of video
Encoding video: £30 GBP per video file
Delivery by FTP: Free of charge
ISDN call charges if applicable.
Optional Linguistic Director £75 GBP per hour (£400 GBP per day)
Usage fees if applicable. As a guide allow, 100% of the artist’s recording fee (negotiable with artist).
N.B. If you have a lip-sync project, please contact us to discuss before we can give guidance on cost. And remember, if you need guidance on price for any voice-over project we’re just a quick phone call or email away!