Narration is a popular avenue that many voice over professionals explore. Whether it’s for a corporate video or a nature film, there are certain standards that all narrators must follow to produce high quality recordings that capture their audience’s attention. If you’re new to narrating, here’s what you should keep in mind:
● Don’t be monotone. This one kind of goes without saying, but it can be easy to fall into this if you’re reading something that’s a tad, shall we say, dull. When I say "monotone" be realistic, too much of a good thing is just plain boring. So find that sweet spot and stick within those parameters.
● Keep it conversational. Even if you’ve been given a script that’s about the molecular structure of human DNA, it’s important that you read it in a conversational tone that’s easy for your listeners to follow. If you’re stiff, or you speed through the reading, you’re going to lose your audience.
● Stand up while you’re reading. Standing allows you to breathe better from the diaphragm, which will improve your sound quality. It will also help you feel more energized. Although, I admit I record sitting on a stool; but it does keep my diaphragme somewhat stretched out.
● Don’t stand too close to the mic. Getting up close and personal with the microphone will distort the sound and leave you with a sub-par recording. Shoot for about 6 to 12 inches of space between you and the mic.
● Watch your volume. Your volume should be consistent throughout the recording. This is true for any voice over, but especially so for narration.
● Avoid the “popping p’s.” Plosives, or “popping p’s”, can seriously degrade a quality recording. Use a pop filter in front of your mic to eliminate this annoying sound.
● Get the pacing right. Take into consideration the content of the material you’re reading. What’s it about? Is it exciting? Complicated? Match your pacing to the tone of the material.
● Relax! Narration isn’t a whole lot different than other voice over work you’ve done, so just take a deep breath and relax. Read what’s on the script, do it from your heart, use the tips above, and have some fun with it!