Voice-Overs: Some Techniques/Advice (Giant Fox game characters)

Hey all!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Salvador here! Thought I'd kick off the new year with a blog post on voice-overs!

So we at Soundesque were pretty stoked when Giant Fox, Indie game company from Barcelona, Spain, wanted us to provide some voice-overs for their latest video game trailer, Rise of Titans.  (See excerpts of the trailer that I did here)

Prior to studying at the Berklee College of Music, I studied dubbing and voice-overs dubbing at ECAD.  In today's blog post, I thought it would be interesting for me to share what goes into the thought and preparation process of coming up with voices for characters.

The biggest challenge I faced was finding the right voice for each of the characters, giving them enough credibility to fit the visuals, and how to bring something two-dimensional, to life. Here are some of my tips:

1. Study the character

Once you get the pictures of the characters, pay attention to every detail the picture is offering you. The animators spend a lot of time designing these characters and creatures, making sure they look perfect.   Our job is to really study everything that the animators have provided us.  Only then will we be able to come up with an authentic voice that can bring these characters to life. While working with one of the characters (the three headed dog, as can seen above), initially, I didn’t realize that there was a human standing in the bottom left of the picture, on top of the bridge. The voice I originally came up with for that character therefore lacked 'power', because I did not see how big and immense the dog was compared to the human.  Once I realized that, my idea of the tone/sound/voice of the character that I already had in mind changed.  I ended up creating a voice that I believe reflected the real size of this character. 

So I guess my point is...Make sure you don’t miss any detail while looking and studying these characters!

2. The Right Time of the Day

 My favorite period of time to experiment with different voices is in the late-morning. All my muscles are still very relaxed (unless I had a bad dream) so I usually don'tfeel any tension in my vocal chords, which means I can really explore my vocal range.  This varies from people to people.  So, pay attention to your body and voice throughout the day and take advantage of it. Knowing when the right time to work is one of the most important things.

3. Time to be silly

 This is my favorite time, when I can allow myself to be the weirdest guy on earth. This is the time when your neighbors really think your crazy and they will not come asking for sugar. Try all your different ideas out loud, changing the tone and color, playing around with different accents, whisper, yell, do everything you want to start looking for the sound you think the character suits the most.

4. Record a demo

 Once you find the right voice for your character, take the microphone and record yourself. This is the time when you record all the ideas by being overly-exaggerated, that way you can hear contrasting versions of the same character till you decide on the one you like the most.

 6. Final listening

Once you record all the ideas, and you think they sound as best as they can, do a final recording by pulling out the best you have for each of the characters. Take a break, go for lunch or dinner and listen to it again after. This time, make sure you are looking at the character’s picture while listening to your interpretation.