Everyone has heard a voiceover at one time or another. From the voice of Mickey Mouse, to the voice that sells you shampoo or insurance on the radio, voiceovers provide an effective way to evoke emotion or get important information across to an audience. In fact, without voiceover, media wouldn’t have the same impact and the entertainment industry would be at a great loss. The importance of voiceover can be seen every day in a variety of techniques.
What is Voiceover?
Voiceover is a production technique where a voice that is not part of the production is used to speak a particular part. Voiceovers are common in radio, television, film and even theatre. Often, voice actors are hired specifically to perform voiceovers and have no other role in the production.
One of the more popular uses for voiceover is to give a voice or a personality to an animated character. Think about Shrek or any other popular Disney Movie. Each character is actually someone behind the scenes with a microphone making the voice come alive. As animated movies are growing in popularity, well known celebrities are looking for voiceover roles, hoping to add a bit of variety to their acting portfolio.
Another popular use for voiceover is providing narration to a movie. This type of voiceover is so common in movies, you probably don’t even realize it’s happening. Generally, the narrator in a movie has intimate details about the characters on the screen and provides insight for the audience as to their thoughts or emotions. In this sense, voiceover is a critical part of many movies and is necessary for keeping the audience informed. Blockbuster hit movies like Fight Club and Shawshank Redemption use voiceover to provide context.
News Reporting and Non-Fiction Television
Often voiceover is used to report the news. In fact, most television news broadcasts use voiceover as much as live anchors to report news that was taped earlier or segments that were edited beforehand. Other non fiction television that relies on voiceover includes media like the History Channel or the Discovery Channel. Particularly where the focus is educational, voiceover provides a guide for viewers to understand what they are seeing. In addition, game shows have been using voiceover for decades to announce contestants and prizes. Almost everyone is familiar with the popular voiceover from the 1970’s who exclaimed “come on down, you’re the next contestant on the Price is Right!”.
Advertising is another very common use for voiceover. In fact, radio is completely voiceover and actors are never seen. In fact, voiceover is so useful for radio advertisement that certain product manufacturers have signed long term contracts with voiceover actors to “brand” their products. When consumers hear the same, familiar voice representing a product, it builds instant trust and credibility. Even on television, where actors can be seen, it is more likely that a product is featured with voiceover and without an actor. Besides, a strong voiceover highlights the sale instead of the actor seen with the product.
Voiceover is an important part of our movie and television experience. In many cases, voiceover represents more than just information, but has become part of a product, building trust and credibility with consumers.