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Industry Videos: Why don't they understand the importance of VO audio?

Discussion in 'SAMPLE Talk' started by imagegod, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. imagegod

    imagegod Senior Member

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    Call this an ongoing annoyance...but why don't sample developers appreciate the sound quality of their own voice overs?

    I seriously don't understand this...are these developers deaf to their own (non-library) audio shortcomings?

    Without being too harsh, (and to be clear, this is in no way a criticism of Light and Sound's library, which is on sale and seems to be an unbelievable value), but if you're curious about the awfulness that is 'vocal fry', have a listen:



    I'm disabled so I'm particularly sensitive, but still, it's a video about audio quality...where's the self-awareness?

    Like I said, just an annoyance...carry on!
     
  2. Land of Missing Parts

    Land of Missing Parts Flibbertyjibbit

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    I don't think vocal fry is a shortcoming or weakness in audio quality. I guess some people don't care for it as a matter of taste, but I quite like it.

    EDIT: I don't care for it as much in pop music though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
    Alex Niedt likes this.
  3. Jimmy Hellfire

    Jimmy Hellfire Senior Member

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    It's like chalk on the blackboard. I can't even help it, but hearing people "vocal fry" makes me actively aggressive. I can't listen to them. It's a terrible habit.
     
  4. kurtvanzo

    kurtvanzo Capt. Zorro

    I've heard many walkthrough videos where the VO is too loud (compared to the sample playback) or too low or just too noisey (noisey studio or workspace) and I've often wondered myself what they are thinking.

    But this example you've given is pretty darn good by comparison, so I not sure I agree with you on the video example- there are a lot LOT worst (I'll try to look for one).

    By contrast a walkthrough that has TOO slick a VO can be annoying too. When it sounds like the guy is reading copy or has a gameshow polished feel it can distract from the information being provided.
     
  5. N.Caffrey

    N.Caffrey Senior Member

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    Don't like orchestral tools trailer voice they have used recently
     
  6. Land of Missing Parts

    Land of Missing Parts Flibbertyjibbit

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    +1
     
  7. Alex Niedt

    Alex Niedt Senior Member

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    This has nothing to do with sound quality whatsoever. If we're talking sound quality, we can discuss how he could have eliminated more of the room in his recording. The matter of his vocal delivery is merely a personal preference.
     
    gregh, MartinH. and MaxOctane like this.
  8. kavinsky

    kavinsky misty orchard in the middle of Czechoslovakia

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    I don't hear anything annoying in his voice
    Sound quality is perfectly fine aswell.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    imagegod

    imagegod Senior Member

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    Wow, I thought the sound was obvious...guess not.
    Carry on!
     
  10. MatFluor

    MatFluor Senior Member

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    I hear it - in the beginning it's very apparent, he seems to talk so soft that the voice is *just* over the breaking threshold. the gnarling in the voice can be distracting.

    I try to do my best with my VO if I do some :)
     
  11. Light and Sound

    Light and Sound Developer

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    Believe it or not, this is actually me "projecting". I tend to be a very quiet person and mumble a lot - people get used to it after a while but I have to force myself to actively project, and you can sort of hear how my voice naturally starts going back to it's default state.

    Something I'm continuously working on though, and it is something we care about - it's just that I'm not really a very good speaker to camera, in a classroom setting it's a bit easier but projecting to a microphone takes more practise than I've given :P
     
    gregh, N.Caffrey, EgM and 3 others like this.
  12. MatFluor

    MatFluor Senior Member

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    Yeah, I'm a "public" guy since I can remember (school play lead roles, then of course my small metal band career so to speak), but my voice control drastically improved when I laid down the guitar and focused on being a vocalist for another band, and taking professional vocal lessons. Especially Rock/Metal focused ones - you really learn to project VERY loudly without hurting your voice and remain glass clear.

    If you do a lot of voice over work, podcasts or offer such services, I would suggest getting a handful of vocal/singing lessons to get the basics down. My voice is reasonable for that meanwhile - to the point that I think about offering VO services in my native language for such videos. But I need time to deploy such a plan xD
     
  13. Saxer

    Saxer Senior Member

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    I like the way this L&S video sounds... it's like someone just talking. I like this much more than typical oversized trailer voices or TV anchormen speaking with an extended pitch amplitude as if aunts are talking to little children. When there's a TV game- or talk show with moderators talking like daily soap actors I switch off immediately. Ok, actually I switch off every game- or talk show. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
  14. Land of Missing Parts

    Land of Missing Parts Flibbertyjibbit

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    I like raspy sounds, husky voices, hoarse smoker's voices, feeling like someone is dragging their feet in the gravel a bit. What's not to love?
     
    gregh likes this.
  15. wst3

    wst3 my office these days

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    While it is true that personal preferences (tastes) play a role, there are a lot of objectively bad voice overs, especially (it seems) for library and plugin demos. And actually, you'll find some really good examples of really bad audio in the commercial AV market as well. Scary!

    The things that make me click off:
    • talking to fast or mumbling
    • talking too quietly - first, take voice lessons if necessary, second, learn to mix. This is not rocket science, and it is a real deal breaker for me. If you can't mix your demo why should I trust your products?
    • clipping or other artifacts that suggest either sub-par gear or poor technique
    • room tone - if your room sounds bad you need to mitigate it, or find a better room
    • slang, this may demonstrate that I am an old fart, but any video that starts out with "hey homeys" or something similar had better be about a stellar product or I'm clicking off.
    These are all things that anyone ought to be able to minimize with a little training and a little practice. If you don't make the effort to put your best foot forward you are going to lose sales.
     
  16. DSmolken

    DSmolken Senior Member

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    Having been on the other side, I can say it's hard to get a good one. I did get a really good (as far as I can tell, not understanding the language) voiceover for the Japanese version of the Marie Ork walkthrough, because the girl who did the graphics for her update also does a podcast so she's used to talking, but I don't know anybody who can really do that in English.



    I went to the trouble of getting a girl who was born in Canada, so technically a native English speaker, and does voiceovers in English for side income, to do the Swirly Drums voiceover for me. But she does sound like she's reading copy, partly because she does understand music (being a singer) but doesn't really understand the technicalities of playing drums with brushes enough to convincingly emphasize the right bits. So I think I'm gonna do things myself in the future, and at least I think I'm getting better at not sounding like an angry military instructor, which happens when I try to talk really clearly. Here's the draft version of the Swirly Drums walkthrough which I did myself:

     
  17. Jimmy Hellfire

    Jimmy Hellfire Senior Member

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    I have no idea what she's saying, but she's incredibly pleasant to listen to!
     
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  18. wst3

    wst3 my office these days

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    to be fair...

    I think we need to make a distinction between truly outstanding voice-overs, and voice-overs that are good.

    Outstanding voice-over artists may not be quite as rare as hen's teeth, but they are not on every street corner either.

    What makes a great voice-over artist?
    1. They know how to control their voice - you won't hear breath sounds, or lips smacking, or any of the other distractions.
    2. They enunciate every syllable - you won't have to struggle to understand them
    3. They can read copy and make it sound convincing the first time. They may not know what every word means, but they will make you think they do.
    4. They take direction. Nuff said.
    Do you need a great voice-over artist for a product demo? I don't think so, but I suppose it could be a benefit. A benefit that will cost you dearly if you don't have dirt on them<G>!

    In my (less than) humble opinion you need something less than the list above, and it isn't all that difficult to learn, so I maintain that there is no reason to skimp.
    1. You need someone that can speak clearly, and pronounce all the words correctly.
    2. You need someone that knows not to take huge breaths between words, or smack their lips, or grind their teeth, or belch (ok, that last one is an exaggeration.)
    3. You need someone that understands what you are selling.
    4. (optional) It would not hurt to have someone that is passionate about your product. Absent that they ought to be able to pretend.
    The good news is that it is very easy to work with remote talent these days. I'd wager that there are dozens of folks right here in our own little back yard that can cover the second list.

    There are almost certainly a few that can cover the first list, but again you will pay more for their time and talent.
     
  19. DSmolken

    DSmolken Senior Member

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    Bernard Duc likes this.
  20. ka00

    ka00 Senior Member

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    The worst volume mismatch I’ve ever heard between VO and samples was the Metropolis Ark 3 walkthrough video, and I have to assume it was a misguided marketing decision to make the sample library sound insanely loud by setting the VO to a very quiet level by comparison. Honestly, it’s just plain annoying.
     

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