Voice casting and recording is often the last stage in a television commercial prior to final mix.
When ad agencies and production companies embark on a shoot for a particular product, there are quite a few steps they go through including casting. If the budget allows, a lengthy audition process is undertaken to find a cast that has the perfect look and personality fit for the product.
Once all the elements have been identified the shoot begins, followed by a detailed post-production process. Just before the commercial goes to air, studio time is booked and a voice artist needs to be found.
Says top South African voice artist and actor Roald Woods (better known as Rob Vega): “Very often familiar and safe-option vocal choices are made to comply with time constraints and last minute deadlines. Voice choice isn’t really treated as that much of a big deal and is regarded like the cheap plastic folder into which you’d put a carefully constructed business proposal. No-one really worries about the folder the proposal comes in do they? And that’s really the point.’
The wrong voice can have a negative effect on great ad copy or stunning visuals. By the same token, a voice is important in determining the full impact of a presentation, commercial or corporate message.
Vega points out that casting a voice isn’t merely about what the voice sounds like. “It’s also about the artist’s ability to listen to the director and translate instructions into a prescribed vocal delivery. You should also consider whether the voice artist is easy to work with and punctual.
“Other issues to factor in are time constraints, on-the-fly script changes, a plethora of delivery opinions and, of course, microphone technique. There’s a lot going on in the recording booth and not everyone can do it, although there is sometimes a mistaken perception that they can.’
According to Vega a clear distinction must be made between a “voice’ and a “voice artist’. “This is the difference between what someone sounds like as opposed to what they can do with their voice. Just as not every tall man can play basketball, not every person with a good voice is a voice artist.’
When clients and friends start voicing professional media campaigns, or voice artists are dispensed with in favour of office staff for the sake of budgets, then it’s clear the importance of a voice artist isn’t properly recognised.
“Hiring a voice artist is like buying any product – you get what you pay for. It’s the same as buying a car; more money ensures a smoother ride, a faster drive and better-looking car along with a proven track record,’ concludes Vega.