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Voice over service recommendations

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scott reynoldsVoice over service recommendations
by on Oct 18, 2014 at 6:24:16 pm

Hi all,

Firstly, apologies if this is the wrong forum - my question didn't seem to fit Field Production or Audio Professionals, so this one was the next best fit.

I'm looking for a voice over for my next video, and I'm considering using one of the Internet based services such as voices.com. In all my previous video I've always used voice talent that I knew or was recommended, but I thought I'd give one of these new services a try.

Does anyone have recommendation for services to check out? Perhaps ones to stay away from? What is the business model for these? Do the talent set their own rates and then the services take a cut or is it more fixed or mezzanine pricing? Any comments or experiences you're willing to share would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Scott


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Todd TerryRe: Voice over service recommendations
by on Oct 18, 2014 at 7:59:30 pm

I swear by Voice123.com... use them all the time. In fact I'm getting auditions for two different projects there right now.

I have cast dozens and dozens of projects there. Could not recommend more highly.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Ned MillerRe: Voice over service recommendations
by on Oct 18, 2014 at 8:46:16 pm
Last Edited By Ned Miller on Oct 18, 2014 at 8:52:45 pm

I also like Voice 123.

However...you are best to send them a paragraph and ask them to do a test recording, especially if they are female. The reason is, unless they're an old, really experienced pro, they may use software to counter sibilance, cut out breathes, etc. Sometimes they put in funky filters I don't care for. I prefer they record flat, cut out the breathes and then send me the best takes in a higher form such as wav.

I also ask them to write down their settings, microphone used, etc. In case the client needs revisions in the near future. If it's a short read I may ask them to do it a couple of ways: High Energy, Smooth, etc. since 90% of the time it's unsupervised.

In sum, my biggest issue with the non-techie types is that they don't cut out breathes on a timeline they use gating software and some use sibilance software instead of experimenting with mic placement.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Todd TerryRe: Voice over service recommendations
by on Oct 18, 2014 at 9:30:46 pm

Oh yeah I always have talent from Voice123 (or anywhere else) audition part of my real script.

I also request ONLY dry tracks, no processing or sweetening of any kind (especially compression). Lots of artists (especially old radio guys) want to compress the hell out of tracks and the waveforms look like they have had a severe crewcut.. I want zero compression.

I've also started insisting that talent do not use music beds to watermark their auditions, which some are want to do. I tell them other kinds of watermarks are fine, but never music. It colors an audition too much, and can also mask too many recording-booth sins.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Rich RubaschRe: Voice over service recommendations
by on Oct 19, 2014 at 3:36:05 am

Love Voices.com...same notes as above.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Nick GriffinRe: Voice over service recommendations
by on Oct 20, 2014 at 12:34:08 pm

I've found that many of best announcers are on BOTH Voices123.com and Voices.com so there may not be much difference. That said I have NOT done a price comparison, of which there may be none. I also agree with all of the above on compression, EQ, gates, etc. As to breathes, I don't mind them from a pro, because they know how to do it and I can use them or cut them out as needed.


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Todd TerryRe: Voice over service recommendations
by on Oct 20, 2014 at 2:41:56 pm
Last Edited By Todd Terry on Oct 20, 2014 at 3:09:25 pm

Nick is very correct, my bet is that well over half the voices on Voice123 are also on Voices.com.

I too don't want them to cut the breaths. I'll do that myself. In fact, I don't want them to monkey around with the track in ANY way. I want dry totally unprocessed raw tracks. I can always DO to the track whatever I want, but can't necessarily UNDO what they might have done. It's like getting a haircut... you can always take more off, but you can't put it back on.

Nick's also showing his age (which is similar to mine, sadly) by using the term "announcer." That's one word, when putting out casting calls, I will NEVER use. In fact, I will always note that I do NOT want an "announcer," I want a "storyteller" (one guy, Doug Turkel who is the voice of one of my banking clients, bills himself as the "UNnouncer," which is pretty clever marketing). They might cycle back around again, but at least for right now the deep booming "Voice of God" type is terribly out of vogue (which is one reason you hear so many film actors doing VO these days). I much prefer to cast lighter, more natural, "guy next door" types of voices that can really tell a story. But if you solicit for an "announcer" you'll get lots of auditions from guys who ought to step into the Wayback Machine and head right back to 1979 radio.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Nick GriffinRe: Voice over service recommendations
by on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:05:18 pm
Last Edited By Nick Griffin on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:08:14 pm

Alright, Todd. We've had this discussion before. I agree that the 'guy next door' VO is appropriate for spots, but I haven't done a TV spot in many, many years. My audiences are B-2-B and, in many cases, a room of hundreds of people attending a conference and the big voice, along with the right music works. My stuff is almost always a few to several minutes in length. Never a 10 or a 30.

My #1 go to "announcer" is also the voice for WNBC New York, KNBC LA and numerous other broadcast properties. So good enough for them... good enough for me.

[Todd Terry] "one reason you hear so many film actors doing VO these days"

Maybe. Actors have been doing VO work on spots for decades because it's very easy for them (no hair, no makeup, no blocking, no memorization) and they can concentrate on one aspect of their craft and one aspect only. When the spot is national or even a large regional buy, the money can be pretty good, too. And if renewed beyond the initial 13 weeks, the money falls from the sky for no work at all.

Richard Dreyfus was great for Honda, James Spader fantastic for Acura, Gene Hackman made Home Depot very friendly (replaced a few years back by John Doman who's more "announcerie"), and almost the entire adult cast of Modern Family are now doing VOs for national spots. You just gotta listen and it's amazing how many actors are picking up easy money doing this when their not on a film or TV set.


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Todd TerryRe: Voice over service recommendations
by on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:39:28 pm
Last Edited By Todd Terry on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:42:16 pm

[Nick Griffin] "...in many cases, a room of hundreds of people attending a conference..."

In a situation like that, I might choose a big voice to cut through the din and acoustic clutter in a room. For the vast vast majority of commercial spots, though, the Voice of God has gone the way of the dinosaur. Ever catch the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese commercials that Ted Williams tags? Ted was that homeless guy with the booming voice discovered on the streets. I understand why Kraft hired him (and great PR for them), but when you hear him on spots my ear just goes "Man, that is so wrong!"



[Nick Griffin] "it's amazing how many actors are picking up easy money doing this"

Yep... I love picking out the more obscure ones...most people will easily say "Yeah, that's Jon Hamm" (Mercedes), but when commercials come on I love yelling "That's Billy Crudup!" (MasterCard) or "John Cusack!" (Chevy). People around me don't seem to be impressed, though.

Some don't take the money, though. One of my favorite stories (I've probably told it here before) was this ad agency that was pitching a major automotive client. They put together a short private video presentation (non-broadcast, just for the suits) and wanted the right voice for it. They wanted Jack Nicholson. How much could he charge for 15 minutes of work? They inquired, his agent said "Mr. Nicholson does not do voiceover work." The disappointed ad guys gathered their thoughts, put pencil to paper, called the agent back and offered Jack one million dollars for the VO session. After an "Oh, wow," from the agent, he said he'd call right back. He did call back in a bit, and said "Mr. Nicholson does not do voiceover work." Wow.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Nick GriffinRe: Voice over service recommendations
by on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:48:45 pm

[Todd Terry] "People around me don't seem to be impressed, though"

Oh, so you've met my wife and children. Sigh.


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scott reynoldsRe: Voice over service recommendations
by on Oct 24, 2014 at 3:06:20 am

Thanks to all for your comments. Valuable tips and much appreciated.

Scott


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